Nerve injury in the hand and wrist
What is a nerve injury in the hand and wrist?
Nerves originate from the spinal cord and have a variety of functions. They supply the muscles and conduct sensory impulses.
If a nerve in a finger is injured, the patient may lose sensation to the digit. If the nerve is injured in the arm, the muscles may waste and the hand may become weak.
What are the symptoms of a nerve injury in the hand and wrist?
If finger nerve is damaged, there may be a loss of sensation in a finger
If arm nerve is damaged, there may be muscle waste and weakness in wrist
Loss of sensation can also occur in the hand
Partial nerve injury can cause pain, stiffness, swelling and skin changes, know as chronic regional pain syndrome. This syndrome can occur without nerve injury and also after trivial trauma.
How is a nerve injury in the hand and wrist diagnosed?
Clinical examination can give some clues as to which nerves are damaged and where. Radiographs will show broken bones that may have caused the injury. An MRI/ultrasound and nerve test may be used to look to localise and grade damage to the nerve.
How is a nerve injury in the hand and wrist treated?
Mild nerve injuries can repair on their own over time.
More severe injuries may require referral to a specialist centre for nerve repair.