Tendon or Nerve Damage
We’ve all done it: a slip of the knife while you’re cutting onions is all it takes. In most cases, when you’ve cut yourself, a good washing and a bandage will be all you need. However, the hands are a different story. Because of the structure of the hand, it’s actually relatively easy to injure the nerves and tendons just below the surface. These injuries aren’t always easy to detect, but they can lead to pain and complications further down the road. In other words, it’s possible to weaken the tendons to the point where they can rupture during a normal activity, causing excessive pain and requiring surgery to correct.
This damage can be caused by a wide variety of activities, such as the following:
- CleaningWork-related injuries
- Food preparation
- Hunting or fishing related injuries
- Mishandling of any sharp object
Dr. Polsen, and his staff at Clear Lake Hand Center near Houston, TX, can help you determine whether your hand has been injured. If you have recently cut yourself or have experienced hand trauma, contact Dr. Polsen’s staff right away to see if there is damage that needs to be repaired.
Many times someone has a “simple” laceration involving the hand and they don’t realize that they’ve partially cut one of the tendons responsible for moving the finger. This is often because the patient, in their evaluation, may seem to have normal range of motion. However, the tendons in the fingers are directly under the skin, and often with a laceration thru the skin one may have partially cut their tendon. Often, it is necessary to explore these lacerations and repair these partial tendon cuts to prevent further more serious damage. If a partial tendon cut were left unrepaired, when one returns to normal vigorous activity or lifting, the tendon could rupture necessitating a more complicated surgery possibly with a less favorable outcome.
Symptoms of tendon or nerve damage may include:
- Loss of feeling
- Pain when moving the hand
- Loss of mobility
- Stiffness in the joint
- There may be no symptoms at all
When one causes significant damage to the tendons and the hands or fingers, they may require a second surgery known as a tenolysis. This surgery is performed to increase the range of motion of damaged fingers. During the healing process, and relative inactive use of damaged fingers, one can develop scar tissue or adhesions between the tendons and the skin or bones. These adhesions are scar tissue that can cause limited range of motion of the fingers. A tenolysis can be performed often through the same old scars and provide dramatic improvement in the range of motion. Unlike the original surgery for the main trauma, on the first post op day the patients usually have dramatic improvement in their range of motion.
Nerve Damage in the Hands
Nerve damage in the hands in most often experienced as either acute pain in the hand or as a loss of sensation. This can also translate to a loss in motor control. As with the tendons, the nerves of the hand are often very close to the surface of the skin, so even minor cuts can create lasting damage.
How is Nerve Damage or Tendon Damage Repaired?
There are several ways in which this damage may be repaired. More severe nerve or tendon damage will require surgery. Sometimes this will even require a tendon graft of one kind or another. However, in less severe cases—in those cases caught early enough—encouraging the body’s own healing processes can be enough. Immobilizing the affected area so as to allow healing is usually the primary means of treating less severe tendon and nerve damage.
Take Care of Your Hands
When minor tendon or nerve damage turns into major damage, it can have a significantly negative impact on the way you live your life. If you’re wondering what to do if you’ve cut your hand, the answer is pretty straightforward: get your hand looked at by a surgeon who has a great deal of experience treating hand issues. After all, the hands are a remarkably unique and complex piece of the human body, and yet we are all significantly reliant on what they can do.
In other words, it’s definitely in your interest to schedule an appointment with Dr. Polsen and have your hand examined if you should ever cut it. Even shallow cuts and lacerations should be examined to rule out further damage.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Polsen at his Houston area Clear Lake hand clinic, contact us today!