Hand Fracture and Aftercare Instructions

In our hand are 5 bones which connect the wrist to the thumbs and fingers. These are the metacarpal bones and they are located between the phalanges and carpus bones. When one of these bones breaks, it is classified as a hand fracture and a splint or cast is often required to be worn whilst the bones heal on their own. For serious cases, surgery may be required to surgically reconnect and mend them using cement. In this article, we will be looking at the causes of fracture as well as the aftercare instructions for them.

Although our bones have good compressive strength, it has poor tensile strength. When sufficient force is applied, the bone can fracture and when this occurs, it is accompanied by pain, swelling and the inability to utilise it. A cast or splint will usually be placed in order to immobilise the hand as well as to prevent any unwanted stresses while it heals. In order to make the pain more bearable, your doctor will prescribe pain relief medication to be taken orally. Since this medication requires some time before it works, you should take it before the previous one wears off in order to prevent feeling any unwanted pain. In cases where inflammation is present, antibiotics will need to be consumed in order to treat the infection caused by bacteria. Always make sure that medication is taken on time to prevent any gaps in the recovery process.

When you are at home, you can apply an ice pack to the fractured portion of your hand. Icing helps to decrease inflammation and the pain associated with it. It also constricts the blood vessels and help to speed up the delivery of essential nutrients required for healing. It also reduces tissue damages to the sensitive parts. However, always remember to remove your cast or splint prior to the application of ice as the cast and splint cannot get wet. In order to regain finger movement in the shortest time, you should try to work out your fingers. A hand grip is great for building up hand strength and muscle and you can use it anywhere.

Hand fractures will usually require between 4 to 6 weeks for it to fully heal, but it will take an even longer time for you to regain full strength. In order to reduce this timeframe, you should make use of any possible time to gain those muscles.

Symptoms of Arthritis

The signs and symptoms of arthritis are misleading. They are similar to normal injuries and people tend to ignore them, thinking that it will go away on its own after some time. However, it is important to identify the symptoms early and start treatment fast. Once arthritis gets serious, it can cause a severe impact on how you lead your life. Stiffness accompanied with swelling and pains in the joints are onset symptoms of arthritis. This is especially amplified after long durations of inactivity such as waking up in the morning. What are other symptoms of arthritis? Let’s talk about them below.

Joint Pain

Arthritis causes abnormal amounts of water and fluid to build up, causing swelling of joints. The excess fluids will interrupt the balance in the soft tissues, causing the immune system to attack it and cause pain and tenderness.

Inflammation

The immune system of a patient suffering from arthritis is in a confused state and it will mistakenly attack the healthy tissues, causing chronic pain and inflammation. Not only will the tissue alone be affected, the surrounding healthy tissues will all fall prey to attacks as well.

Stiffness

Stiffness occurs due to a 3 part process that happens during arthritis. Firstly, the joint lining gets inflamed due to the reasons mentioned above. This will cause the joints to have limited ability to function properly. Secondly, growth of cells and cell division causes the Synovial membrane to thicken. The inflamed cells will also secrete enzymes that aids in the digestion of bones and soft tissues such as the cartilage.

Loss in range of motion

Arthritis suffers will lose their full range of motion. The ability to move and fully utilise a joint is severely depleted. Therefore, exercises that help to regain range of motion should be performed frequently.

Numbness

Numbness indicates the involvement of nerves and this can lead to more serious implications. Some patients who experience numbness do not know that they are suffering from arthritis. In serious cases, even turning the head can cause severe pain and amplify the symptoms. Nerve irritation will cause the body to become weak and in-depth diagnostic is required.

Identifying the symptoms of arthritis early can help to prevent joint damage and treatment can be administered quicker. Arthritis can be passed down from generations so if your family has a history of arthritis, you will need to perform health checks regularly.

4 Misconceptions About Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) is commonly administered to patients suffering from lower back or leg pain. Lower back pain is due to the inflammation of spinal nerves, causing pain and discomfort to patients as the nerve passage is narrower compared to healthy patients. Corticosteroids are extremely strong pain relief medication that is injected directly into the area of concern, providing immediate relief. However, most patients undergo the procedure with the mentality that they will be “cured” from their lower back pain. This is a misconception of it and in fact, there are many more misconceptions out there about ESI.

ESI is extremely safe

Well, this is a misconception although it is true to a certain extent. Many people think that steroid injections are much safer than oral consumption of steroids. However, this really depends on the medication that is prescribed as the toxicity differs. While oral consumption of medication may cause irritation to the stomach and with the fact that it “travels” a longer distance down, there is a higher risk of allergy. However, ESI are injected directly into the affected area and when something bad occurs, it happens immediately without providing you much reaction time.

Repeated treatments are required for visible results

Many doctors tell their patients that a minimum of 3 ESI is required before they are effective. However, this is the average value comprising data from hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. In fact, the exact amount of dosage required by each patient is never the same due to the differing genetics of each of us. Some patients get immediate relief after just a single injection while some may need a lot more to see results.

Multiple invasive sites are required

Most of us would have visited the hospital for one reason or another and a high percentage of us have had multiple needles injected into us. ESI are totally different from your usual invasive treatments. Only a single needle is required to be injected as ESI is done under the guidance of an X-Ray machine, providing the doctor with the exact spot to inject.

Immediate pain relief is obtained

While you may get immediate pain relief from the compressing of spinal nerves, you may suffer temporary pain in the form of bruises and tenderness due to the injection. Although the technique is conducted under the guide of an x-ray machine, human error is bound to happen. Bruising and swelling will go away on its own in just a couple of days.

Epidural Steroid Injections have been performed for a long time and it has a track record of being rather safe and successful. Since the procedure is an outpatient one, patients do not need to spend a night in the hospital, making it much more flexible and economical for them.

5 Applications of Shockwave Therapy

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy or more commonly known as Shockwave therapy is a non invasive medical treatment that sends acoustic waves to injured parts of the body with the intent to reduce pain and promote healing. The shockwaves used for Shockwave therapy is similar to those used to break down kidney stone, but it is only at one tenth of the intensity, rendering it rather safe for the body. There are many uses of shockwave therapy and it can be widely applied to treat different injuries. Let’s take a look at some of the common applications of Shockwave Therapy.

Decrease pain

Shockwave therapy promotes hyperaemia which is actually the increase in blood flow to a targeted part of the body. Hyperaemia is the basis of shockwave therapy and the increase in blood flow provides extra energy and loosens up the muscles and path interactions between the actin and myosin. This will reduce muscle tension and decrease pain.

Dispersion of substance P

Substance P is a neuropeptide in the body and it functions as a transmitter and modulator for nerve communication. The main purpose of substance P is to modulate inflammation. Shockwave therapy can efficiently disperse substance P and increase the secretion of histamine. Dispersion of substance P also helps to reduce pain in the affected area and reduce the risk of developing oedema or fluid retention.

Increases collagen production

Collagen is the main protein that is found in the connective tissues throughout the body. It works together with elastin to provide structure and flexibility to the skin. Collagen is also the pre-requisite for any repair mechanism in the body that is due to a damaged ligament structure. Shockwave therapy will help to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of the tissues and this is something that you can never achieve just by taking collagen supplements.

Increases metabolism

Shockwave therapy removes nociceptive metabolites and helps to increase oxygen levels in the body and increasing the energy source. It also helps to reduce histamine which is acidic and increases the metabolism rate in the body.

Plantar fasciitis

Shockwave therapy will over stimulate nerves that are responsible for the transmission of pain to the brain, reducing pain immediately. It will also trigger the healing mechanism of the body and increases the formation of blood vessels in the affected area, speeding up the recovery process.

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment method that can be used for treating soft tissue injuries. Since it is non-invasive, there is minimal downtime and a hospital stay is not required. However, shockwave therapy may be painful for some but it is otherwise tolerable.

Why Does Cold Weather Causes Pain in Our Joints?

Do you have an elder at home who seems to be very accurate with her prediction on when the rain will come? They always tell you that once they experience pain in the joint, it will rain soon after. Medically wise, it is still an unsolved mystery about the exact relation between painful joints with cold weather. For a long time, cold and rainy weather has been linked to joint problems and arthritis and these affect areas such as the elbow, wrist, shoulders and knees.

Most people with arthritis or joint problems will suffer pain when the weather changes for the worse. It is largely due to the change in atmospheric pressure. Located in our joints are a lot of sensory nerves which are extremely sensitive to any changes to pressure. Cold weather will cause the linings at the joints to constrict, causing pain and discomfort to patients. Cold weather also restricts the circulation blood flow through the body. As a result, it can cause further inflammation in the joints. Another simple explanation is that during cold and wet weather conditions, movements are severely limited. Most of us will not feel like moving around and want to simply waste our time at home. This lack of movement can cause our body to stiffen up and cause pain in the joints. The natural body mechanism also contributes to joint pain during cold weather. The natural defence mechanism of our body is to divert all the blood from the rest of our body to protect the core of it at the centre of the body. As such, it will divert away and restrict flow to blood to places further from the heart such as the fingers and legs. Due to a reduced blood blow to these extremities, it can cause a lot of problems for people especially those suffering from arthritis.

There is however no strong evidence between cold weather and joint pain although people do experience an increase in joint pain during cold weather. You can try to deal with it with some simple methods. Try to always keep your body covered in thick and warm clothes whenever the weather changes. This will help to proper the flow of blood through your body and reduce joint inflammation. A cup of hot tea or coffee can always help to bring warmth to the rest of your body, relieving some of the symptoms.