Hand injuries can be caused by falls, car accidents, sports injuries, or even just through repetitive use. These injuries can manifest in joint damage, bone fractures, sprains, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Whatever it is, the affliction will present itself immediately, and you’ll need to get medical attention right away.
With that said, you need to make sure that any supportive device that the doctor provides is kept on at all times; this is crucial to your fast recovery!
To guide you in this process, here are some questions that are commonly asked about supportive devices and what you need to know to care for your hands:
Do I have to wear my sling or brace all the time?
You will need to keep your sling or brace on all the time, with the only exception being when you have to bathe. You need to keep it on as you sleep and as you go about your daily routine.
The simple reasoning is that your bones do not heal in the same way as your skin. After a bone fracture, your body lays down a callus that starts working on the damaged bone. This is naturally renewed on a weekly basis, as your body breaks down the initial callus and replaces it with a stronger one every time. It’s a process that can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks—or even more—depending on the intensity of your injury.
What happens if I take it off?
If you do not use your supportive device, then it’s possible that you may move your arm too much. This prevents the ability of your bones and soft tissue structures to heal and re-align themselves properly! In the worst-case scenario, your bones could separate again. This will need follow-up surgery before it leads to complications, such as numbness, bone shortening, or long-term pain.
Why do I have to care for my stitches?
Dissolvable or removable stitches will be used to close your skin in one or multiple layers. Since these stitches are a direct line from the outside of your body to the inside, keeping them clean is paramount so that you avoid any nasty infections.
Avoid soaking the stitched area in a bath or pool water because the moisture could cause the stitches to break down prematurely. In addition, only put creams or ointments on your stitches when the doctor advises you to do so.
Why didn’t the doctor include all my joints in my brace?
Doctors and therapists only immobilize joints when it is absolutely necessary. If you need one for your wrist after wrist surgery, then they will leave your fingers, elbow, and shoulder out of the brace. That way, you can continue using these joints normally!
This helps prevent discomfort and stiffness in the joints that are not involved, which can lead to pain and weakness in the long term. Regular movements are also a form of hand therapy that activates your lymphatic system, which helps manage the swelling.
Precautions help facilitate the healing process. Each person heals at a different pace—and if you have recently gotten into an accident, you will need to be monitored closely to avoid any complications while you are recovering. On your part, we strongly recommend following any advice from the healthcare professional in charge of you as well so that you can return to your regular daily routine with all your limbs intact.
The North Florida Hand and Wrist Center has a team of professional hand specialists and wrist doctors who are committed to providing the best care possible for patients in Jacksonville. If you have any problems with your hands or are starting to feel signs and symptoms that something is wrong, don’t hesitate—schedule an appointment with us immediately!