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Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries

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Home Treatment

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Home treatment for a minor hand or wrist injury

Home treatment may help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.

  • Remove all rings, bracelets, or any other jewelry that goes around a finger or wrist. It will be harder to remove the jewelry later if swelling increases.
  • Use rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for pain and swelling.
  • Do not use your injured hand or wrist for the first 24 hours after an injury, if possible. An elastic bandage can help decrease swelling. The wrap will also remind you to rest the injured hand or wrist. A wrist splint can help support an injured wrist. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use a splint or bandage for more than 48 to 72 hours.
  • Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Do not massage the injured area if it causes pain.
  • For the first 48 hours after an injury, avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, or alcoholic beverages.
  • After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat and begin gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between heat and cold treatments.
  • Treat blisters.

Cast and splint care

If a cast or splint is applied, be sure to keep it dry and to try to move your extremity as normally as possible to help maintain muscle strength and tone. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for your cast or splint.

Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking slows healing, because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your pain:

Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 11, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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