Crush Injuries to the Hand | Orthopaedics | Loyola Medicine

Crush Injuries to the Hand

Overview and Facts about Crush Injuries to the Hand

Crush injuries to the hand are serious and may be life threatening. Diagnosis can be complicated by the fact that some crush injuries leave few external signs, and internal damage may take several days to develop. If you have sustained a crush injury to your hand, it is important that you seek medical advice as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage.

Signs and Symptoms of Crush Injuries to the Hand

Crush injuries to the hand can cause the following symptoms:

  • Bruising
  • Lacerations
  • Dislocated bones
  • Fractures
  • Object fragments or dirt embedded in bones or tissue
  • Tendon damage
  • Nerve damage

If the tendons are damaged, you may be unable to bend your hand or extend your fingers. If you have sustained nerve damage, you may experience either temporary or permanent tingling, numbness or paralysis in your hand and/or fingers.

Causes and Risk Factors of Crush Injuries to the Hand

This type of injury occurs when your hands are subjected to sudden and forceful pressure, causing extreme stretching, shearing and compression of your hand and fingers. For example, a high-impact accident, such as a car wreck, getting your hand caught in a machine with a press or roller mechanism, or a very heavy object falling onto your hand, can all cause crush injuries.

Tests and Diagnosis of Crush Injuries to the Hand

To determine the seriousness of your crush injury, your doctor will inspect your injuries, conduct a sensory nerve examination to see if you have any loss of feeling, check the circulation of your blood supply, and examine your muscles and tendons for movement and strength. Your doctor will also order an X-ray to check for dislocated joints and broken bones.

Treatment and Care for Crush Injuries to the Hand

Treatment for crush injuries to the hand will depend on the nature and severity of the injury. If you have broken bones or damaged tendons, you may need surgery to repair them. You may also have to wear a splint or cast to allow your injuries to heal, although you will still be able to start a physical therapy program. The aim of physical therapy is to keep the surrounding bones and muscles strong and mobile while your injury is healing. Your doctor may also recommend laser or ultrasound therapy to accelerate tissue healing.