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There are common sports injuries in the hand and upper extremity that may need a hand surgeon's evaluation. Below are a few common types of injuries that I see in clinic: 

1. Jammed finger - This is one of the most commonly seen injuries and one that is often missed. It represents a spectrum of injuries that can range from a sprain to a fracture dislocation of a joint that may require surgical intervention. If not properly diagnosed and treated, a patient can end up with long term dysfunction of the hand. Most of the time, buddy taping alone is enough for a "jammed" finger, but when fractures are involved, additional treatments may be required. 

2. Skier's thumb - This is common in those who get a blow to the ulnar aspect of their thumb (inside of the thumb) and hyperextend or stretch their thumb in a manner that it's not supposed to be stretched. It happens frequently in baseball as well. Although more common in adults, children and adolescents can also present with similar injuries. Depending on the severity, some injuries may require surgical intervention. Most of the time, a cast or brace will be enough. 

3. Fractures - Fractures can happen anywhere in the hand and upper extremity. The severity of the fracture will determine the treatment. Usually the ages of 14 years for girls and 16 years for boys is when their growth plates will fuse. Until then, children's bones can remodel, which allows their fractures to be treated differently than similar injuries in adults. Age, location, severity, and type of fracture will determine the type of treatment. 

4. Tendonitis - Results from overuse, and can happen almost anywhere. Typically, rest, stretching, and slow progression back into the sporting activity will be the mainstay of treatment. 

5. Little league elbow - this injury in adults is commonly referred to as a UCL tear and will require a "Tommy John" surgery. However, in kids, because the growth plates are open, treatments are usually different and more conservative in nature. A throwing program can be started after the pain stops. Occasionally, surgical intervention is necessary. 

6. Little league shoulder - another common injury seen in baseball players. The treatment will typically include stretching and a throwing program, which includes monitored number of pitches. As kids are playing a single sport year-round, these type of overuse injuries are becoming more frequent. it is important for the parents and the coaches to recognize when a player is at risk, and seek medical attention when the player complaints of pain. 

It's important for kids to stay active as it is good for their overall health, mental health, social skills, and leadership skills. But it's also important to make sure that children's pain and aches are not ignored. If your children has any unusual symptoms that do not seem to be improving, make an appointment at www.randyluomd.com 

Randy Luo

  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association