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What is a nerve injury in the hand?

Nerves transmit messages in the form of electrical impulses between the body and the brain. There are two different types of nerve, motor nerves and sensory nerves.

The nerves are not very strong and, therefore, they can be damaged or torn by stretching, pressure, or a cutting injury. If a nerve is damaged it may stop working and no longer carry messages to and from the brain. This can cause the muscles supplied by the nerve to stop working or a loss of sensation in the part of the body supplied by the nerve. It is possible to have a nerve injury in the hand.

Soft tissue massage to the palmar fasciaAbove: Soft tissue massage to the palmar fascia

What are the symptoms of a nerve injury in the hand?

There are different symptoms associated with a nerve injury in the hand. Some of those symptoms may include:

What should I do if I have a nerve injury in my hand?

If you suspect that you have a nerve injury in your hand you should attend your nearest accident and emergency department as soon as possible.

What shouldn’t I do if I have a nerve injury in my hand?

If you suspect that you have a nerve injury in your hand you should not ignore the problem in the hope that it will get better on its own. You may need surgery or specialist treatment.

Treatment for a nerve injury in the hand.

If the injury cut both the nerve and the insulation surrounding it, the insulation needs to be carefully repaired to allow the nerve to grow back on its own. The nerve fibres in the hand are very small and, therefore, the operation is a very delicate procedure. The repaired insulation very fragile so a splint is often worn for the first few weeks until the repair site has strengthened up.

Once the insulating tissue is repaired, in most cases it will take three to four weeks for the nerve to regenerate across the site of the injury. During this time, it is common to have a "pins and needles" sensation in the hand. This is a good sign of healing.

Physiotherapy for a nerve injury in the hand.

It can take months for a nerve to recover after surgery. During this time physiotherapy is very important. The physiotherapists at will liaise closely with your hand surgeon following your surgery.

Following a nerve repair in the hand, or indeed following a nerve injury in which a repair was not warranted physiotherapy can help you optimise your recovery. Treatment following a nerve in the hand can include:

Can a nerve injury in the hand have any long-term effects?

In some cases, full recovery is not possible. This can be due to many factors, such as the type of injury, the location of the damage and the age of the individual.

To arrange a physiotherapy appointment call on 0330 088 7800 or book online today.

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