03 Jun Hand Therapy Week – sports guard a winner
Sports guard a win for Ultimate Frisbee player to attend National Championship
In recognition of Hand Therapy Week, we are sharing stories about the importance of hand therapy and the involvement of hand therapists in injury management and recovery.
Hands are our life, so when someone has a problem with their hand, an injury or a condition, it is important to get the correct information and diagnosis, to then know how to treat it.
Timothy, a 39-year-old Ultimate Frisbee player from Richmond, was in training for the National Championships when he landed awkwardly after a leap across the field. With his hand still wrapped in a fist around the frisbee, Timothy sustained a significant 5th metacarpal fracture, leaving next weeks competition in doubt.
Timothy sought medical attention quickly after the game and the fracture was confirmed with an x-ray. Timothy then presented to Melbourne Hand Rehab where he saw Occupational Therapist and practitioner in hand therapy, Paige Blackman.
Timothy’s primary concern was being able to play in the Ultimate Frisbee National Championships next weekend. Following assessment and education about the risk factors associated with playing one week after sustaining a fracture, Timothy decided he would still like to join his team for the nationals. Timothy was made two orthoses in his first session, one was for full time wear and immobilised his little finger, ring finger and wrist movement. The other splint was a sports guard and immobilised his little finger and ring finger but allowed for wrist movement, this was only to be worn during sport and enabled Timothy to play in the Championship.
The week following Timothy’s Frisbee championship he had new x-rays taken to see if there was any change in his fracture and he had another appointment with his hand therapist Paige Blackman. Timothy’s fracture had become slightly more displaced and Paige sent him for a surgical review. Timothy was quick to undergo surgery and have a k-wire inserted to stabilise the fracture.
Following Timothy’s surgery his orthosis was remoulded to allow for his additional swelling and space around the k-wire insertion point. Timothy was continuously monitored to check for any signs of infection and ensure his orthosis was providing him protection. Timothy’s k-wire was removed after 4 weeks.
Timothy is now engaging in ongoing hand therapy to regain function of his hand through a tailored exercise program based on his individual circumstances and movement.
Timothy’s experience demonstrates the importance of consulting a specialised practitioner in hand therapy as soon as an injury occurs.
Unlike general physiotherapists and occupational therapists, qualified hand therapists have specialised training on treating finger, hand, wrist elbow and shoulder conditions. Hand therapists are trained in making customised splints and braces to support an injured area after an accident, illness or operation.
If you are experiencing thumb, hand or wrist pain, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.
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