Not only does winter bring its share of ice and snow, but it also leads to a significant increase in hand and wrist injuries due to slips, falls, and snowfall accidents.
“Wrist fractures are extremely common in the winter months,” says James Wilcoxon, MD, a plastic surgeon at Nebraska Medicine who specializes in hand and wrist injuries. “In fact, studies show that it is the most common fracture in adults anywhere in the body.”
Heavy, wet snowfalls also tend to cause injuries to the fingers and hands. “Usually what happens is that heavy snow will clog the blades,” explains Dr. Wilcoxon. “People can then use their hands to unscrew the blades, forgetting that the snow blower is still working. Once loosened, the blades start spinning again, creating lacerations.” fractures and even the loss of fingertips or fingers.”
To prevent snowjet injuries, always turn off the blower and open the clutch before attempting to remove ice from the blades, advises Dr. Wilcoxon. Many blowers now come with a small shovel for loosening the blades. If not available, use a stick or broom handle. But still, remember to turn off the blower first. You can also spray the blades and chute with a lubricant to help prevent clogging.
When do you go to the ER?
Anytime you have a hand or wrist injury that is accompanied by severe pain or disfigurement, Dr. Wilcoxon advises, you should go to the emergency room or immediate care clinic. If it’s a serious injury or fracture, Nebraska Medicine’s emergency departments have hand and wrist surgeons on call who can come and see you during your visit. If the injury does not appear emergency, they can treat the injury and schedule a follow-up visit with a hand and wrist specialist.
“I always recommend a follow-up with a hand and wrist specialist the next day or the same week, if possible,” says Dr. Wilcoxon. “Getting the correct function of the hands and wrists is very important for everyday tasks. The fingers, hands and wrists involve a very complex anatomy. As professionals, we are familiar with this anatomy. We will carefully assess your injuries and determine if you need surgery to ensure maximum function and best outcome. If not If your injury is properly treated, you could end up with deformity and loss of range of motion in the fingers, hands, and wrists, as well as other potential long-term problems.
“For example, damaged nerves that are not properly repaired can lead to a loss of sensation in the fingers or hand, leading to other problems. Torn tendons that are not treated properly will not heal and can become a chronic problem. If not treated “Fractures if treated appropriately can heal in the wrong position, which can cause pain as well as reduce range of motion and function. In severe cases, this can lead to carpal tunnel.”
Depending on the extent of your injury, recovery can take anywhere from four weeks to a year or longer, says Dr. Wilcoxon. Fractures usually take four to six weeks to heal; The tendons take eight to 12 weeks to complete; Damaged nerves grow slower and can take up to a year or longer to heal.
What to do immediately after a snowblower injury
If you have an ice blower injury to your hands or fingers, gently wrap your hand in a towel or T-shirt and apply gentle pressure.
“Don’t make a wrist and hand tourniquet,” advises Dr. Wilcoxon. “This area generally clots fairly quickly on its own. Applying a tourniquet may impede the ability to perform surgery, if needed, due to altered blood flow. A tourniquet may be needed in surgery but can only be used on the same area.” for up to two hours.”
If you lose fingers or toetips, put these parts in an airtight plastic bag, put them on ice, and bring them to the emergency department.
A wrist fracture may be a sign of osteoporosis
And Dr. Wilcoxon points out that wrist fractures during the winter are very common among the elderly, especially women. “A wrist fracture is often the first warning sign that you may have osteoporosis (thinning of the bones),” he says. “If nothing is done, the next fall could result in a hip fracture, which could be life-threatening.”
If you’ve suffered a wrist fracture or are over 60, talk to your doctor about having a DEXA scan to measure your bone density, recommends Dr. Wilcoxon. “DEXA screening is recommended at age 65, but you may want to get it sooner, depending on your risk factors. If you are determined to have osteoporosis, you can start treatment to help slow or stop further bone loss and even strengthen existing bone.”
The bottom line is that injuries to the fingers, wrist, and hands must be treated seriously. We rely on the use of our hands, fingers, and wrist every day, so we want them to recover properly, so that they maintain the greatest function and mobility.”
Do you have a hand or wrist injury?
do not be late. Call 800-922-0000 to schedule an appointment with a hand and wrist specialist for the best results.