Protecting your wrist: How one wrong fall can cause a major injury

During the Super Bowl we saw a gruesome injury occur to Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane. For those who missed it, the graphic injury was the result of an interception in the end zone where he ran the ball out and was tackled by Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Something that happens in the blink of an eye can turn your body into a complete 180 when not prepared for it. As Jeremy Lane was running the interception back hoping for a Seahawks touchdown, he was hit by a sweeping tackle that took his feet out from under him causing him to react by putting his hand out to break his fall. When his feet left the ground his body was still in an acceleration. The only reaction he had was to put his arm out and use it to lessen the impact and hopefully break the fall. The amount of pressure his wrist and arm could have handled was no match for his body, and he came crashing down putting every bit of body weight and acceleration on that one arm. It all happened so fast that his body did not have enough time to react to what was going on. Watching in slow-motion will show a graphic frame as to how his wrist bent in an awkward way, breaking immediately. Jeremy Lane was examined and sidelined after the injury and did not return.

Our hand is made up of 27 bones that allow us to move our fingers freely, giving us an incredible range of motion. The wrist is made up of 8 small bones plus 2 long bones located in the forearm. With so many bones within the hand and wrist, the cause of injury can sometimes be inevitable. An injury can be classified into two main categories; acute and chronic. The difference between these two are very minimal as both affect the individual. Acute is caused by a traumatic injury that is the result of a high level of contact. For athletes, traumatic injuries can be sprains, joint dislocations, and broken bones. Whereas a chronic injury can be the result of constant overuse of the muscle that eventually breaks. Overuse of the hand and wrist can lead to nerve damage, tendon inflammation, and stress fractures (notice the word stress; over time the constant tension can cause the bones to wear down.)

In 2009, 10.3 percent of all U.S. injuries were because of the hand and wrist. That is a staggering 4.7 million injuries that has happened to such an important piece of the body. A study in 2011 showed that hand and wrist injuries are second on the list (behind back) to days away from work. 140,460 employees in the U.S. lost workdays due to this injury. Although these are not directly related to sports injuries; anyone can be a victim of hand and wrist issues. Whether over time or sudden pain, the excessive use of our hands have make us vulnerable to these issues that affect many on a day-to-day basis.

Prevention: Taking the proper precaution can limit the risk of injury by wearing gloves, wrist guards, and utilizing one of the simplest forms of rehab, stretching. When something doesn’t feel right, we tend to wait a few minutes, wait for it to go away, then continue what we were doing. By not acting on this unnatural affect to the body will only make matters worse and could cause severe pain, numbness, and swelling.

Here are a list of common hand and wrist injuries:

  • Jammed Finger
  • Wrist Bone Fracture
  • Tendonitis
  • Finger Dislocation
  • Stress Fracture

Treatment: Taking care of the injury all depends on the severity, location of injury, and how long the area has been affected. If you or someone you know has these issues and has been avoiding them for some time, then please contact us and schedule your consultation. Not all injuries can be prevented (Jeremy Lane), but following the proper procedure in doing whatever it takes to improve your body can go a long way.

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