News and Updates

Abby Sewell

Wrist Fractures in the Older Person

July 5, 2016
Fractures of the wrist are a common injury especially fractures of the distal end of the radius. The radius is the larger of the two bones in the forearm and is in fact the most commonly broken bone in the arm. Dinner fork deformity (arrow showing fracture with displacement) Once women reach middle age they are increasingly more likely to break their wrists than men. The rate of fractures climbs dramatically as women age. (See Figure 1) Three times as many...
Filed under Healing \ Injury \ Recovery

Why Do Old Injuries Ache in the Cold?

July 5, 2016
Ever noticed how an old injury aches in the wintery weather? The idea that certain aches and pains correspond with, and can even predict the weather is widespread, and has been around since at least the days of ancient Greece. Hippocrates was the first to note the phenomenon, in about 400 B.C. Unfortunately over the past 2,400 years, researchers have not come up with a solid evidence-based explanation as to why this happens. The current accepted explanation for bad-weather-related aches is...
Filed under Injury

Osteoarthritis

July 5, 2016
Physical activity maintains the structural and functional integrity of the joint tissues. Without physical activity of sufficient intensity, duration, frequency and variety, joints weaken and stiffen, and hand function deteriorates. In the well-functioning joint, the loading and unloading of joint tissues through movement stimulates an on-going process of tissue breakdown and repair that maintains or enhances tissue integrity and joint function. Excessive force is absorbed and the joint is protected from damage by the articular cartilage and other soft tissues....
Filed under Recovery

Kaiapoi Hand Clinic Expands!

July 5, 2016
Yes, it has finally happened! After a constant increase in demand from patients the clinic has doubled the room size and added an additional therapist. Clinic director Scott Thomson says “the number of post surgical patients seeking treatment and rehabilitation closer to where they live and work has encouraged us to expand the service in Kaiapoi.” Patients who have had hand surgery will often choose to undertake their rehabilitation at the Kaiapoi Hand Clinic saving the need to travel into...
Filed under General

Imaging for Diagnosis of Bony Injury in the Wrist

July 5, 2016
Pain in the wrist is a diagnostic challenge for hand therapists, surgeons and radiologists alike because of the small and complex anatomical structures involved. There are 29 bones that together make up the supporting framework of the hand and wrist. Advances in imaging modalities (e.g. xrays, CT scanners and MR Imaging) have aided specialists in the diagnosis of fractures. Current research has focussed on the sensitivity and specificity of the results obtained by these investigations. Sensitivity measures the proportion of actual...
Filed under Injury

Fingertip Injuries

July 5, 2016
Injuries to the fingertips are common. They can occur when a fingertip slams in a car door, is damaged while chopping vegetables or injured when clearing debris from a lawnmower. In the paediatric population fingertip injuries account for two thirds of all hand injuries with the most common mechanism of injury being a crush between a door and its frame. In contrast, the adult population predominantly suffer lacerations to fingertips followed by crush injuries. The most commonly involved digits are the...
Filed under Injury

Metacarpal Shaft Fracture Case Study

July 5, 2016
A 19 year old engineering student was seen at the Emergency Department with right hand pain following an accident while “sea-biscuiting” (in which a person holds onto an inflatable ring which is towed behind a motor boat). Spiral fractures of his 2nd, 3rd and 4th metacarpal bones were identified on x-ray and the patient was placed in a plaster cast and referred for hand therapy. The plaster cast was replaced by a thermoplastic splint after ten days. The hand and forearm...
Filed under Case Study

Why Do a Child's Bones Heal Faster Than an Adults?

July 5, 2016
In any human bone, there are two competing cycles: breakdown and regeneration. Specialised cells called osteoclasts absorb worn-out bone cells, removing them constantly from the bone. Simultaneously, other cells called osteoblasts take calcium from the blood and redistribute it upon the bone. This process occurs throughout life. Until about the age of 20, bones are focused primarily on one thing - growing. Even after maximum height is achieved, bones continue laying down new bone cells in an effort to get...
Filed under Healing

Scarring

July 5, 2016
Scarring is a natural part of the healing process, but the amount of scar tissue that develops is dependent on the severity and location of the injury. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to laying down thicker scar tissue. Thick, raised scars (called hypertrophic or keloid scars) can restrict movement and appear unsightly. Other problems created by scarring include: pain, hypersensitivity and adhesions (when the scar tethers to the underlying soft tissue structures deep to the wound reducing normal range of...
Filed under Healing

Thumb extensor tendon (EPL) rupture

July 5, 2016
What is the EPL tendon? The long extensor tendon to the thumb is called the Extensor Pollicis Longus (EPL). This tendon straightens the end joint of the thumb (thumbs up or hitch hikers sign – see Figure 1) and also helps pull the thumb in towards the index finger. Why does it rupture? This tendon is vulnerable to rupture in the tunnel at the wrist. There are two situations that are associated with rupture. The first is after a fracture of...
Filed under Injury
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