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Repetitive stress or strain can lead to significant injuries

Your hands are essential to your work. You type frequently, and you're always using your hands as you work. Unfortunately, the repetitive motions that you do in your day-to-day life can cause dysfunction and lead to injuries in your hands.

You have over 25 bones in each hand. There is a complex arrangement of muscles, tendons, nerves and bones that must work together properly to avoid injury. With so many things to be done with your hands, it's not a matter of if you'll suffer an injury but when.

What are the most common repetitive stress injuries to the hands?

Common repetitive stress injuries include tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. While these aren't life-threatening injuries, they are painful and can be hard to overcome.

How quickly do you need to seek treatment if you notice dysfunction or pain in your hands?

If you have noticed trouble with your hands, it's time to seek medical attention. The earlier you address the problems you're seeing, the more likely it is that you'll be able to treat the issues. Even minor pain can be a significant sign of overuse and strain, so listen to your body and seek medical help to reduce pain, inflammation and the risk of further injury.

Who is at risk of hand injuries?

Almost anyone can be at risk of hand injuries. Those who work on computers regularly throughout the day may be at an increased risk of tendonitis, for example, while someone who uses power tools that vibrate in construction may be at risk of carpal tunnel or bursitis.

Some people are at a higher risk of hand or wrist injuries than others. Women, particularly those with small frames, for example, may be more likely to develop conditions such as carpal tunnel. Their small wrists limit the room available for swelling, so they may notice pain and dysfunction in the hands first.

How are repetitive stress or repetitive strain injuries treated?

To start with, rest, splints, ice and elevation are used to help reduce inflammation and to allow the body the chance to heal. Some people may benefit from steroid injections, while others may benefit from occupational therapy and training to work in a more ergonomic fashion.

What should you do if you hurt your hands at work?

If you hurt your hands at work, the good news is that you may be covered by workers' compensation insurance. You should ask your employer about making a claim. If they can't help you or you are denied benefits, you may want to speak with your attorney.

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