After you leave the hospital or doctor's office, you can make your healing process as successful as possible by following this advice.
- Read any instructions given to you by the hospital and ask questions about those that you do not understand. Several studies have shown that instructional material is often not read or incompletely understood.
- If you are placed in a splint, do not remove it until you are told to do so.
- Take the pain medicine as recommended. Often, a hand injury will throb all night, keeping you awake.
- Keep the hand elevated as much as possible. This will reduce pain and decrease swelling.
- Keep your follow-up appointments and take all medicines as directed.
The vast majority of injuries can be prevented.
- To prevent hand injuries on the job:
- Look for hand hazards before an accident can happen.
- Don't use your hands to wipe away debris in a machine, use a brush that is designed for that purpose.
- Check your equipment and machinery before you start and after you finish. Be sure that it is in good operating condition.
- Before you repair or clean machinery, be sure that the power is disconnected and follow all safety procedures.
- Do not wear gloves, jewelry, or loose clothing when working near a machine with moving parts.
- Wear the correct protective equipment-gloves, guards, forearm cuffs-for the work you are doing.
- Be sure your gloves fit properly and are meant for the work you are doing.
- Use appropriate safety equipment while playing sports to prevent or limit the extent of fractures.
- Hand and wrist guards are appropriate when playing certain sports (rollerblading, lacrosse, hockey).
- Sports that involve a ball (football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball) are more likely to cause hand injuries. Take special care when playing these games.
- Practice household safety measures, especially with small children, to decrease the chances of all injuries, including those to the hands.
- Get timely medical evaluation and treatment to prevent the long-term disability of a hand injury.
- Avoid using your hands to punch, hit, or pound any objects in anger. Many injuries to the hands are self-inflicted in this manner.