Injury and Infection of the Hand – Part 1
One of the most dramatic physical signs of a hand injury or infection is swelling of the hand. This swelling can limit motion, cause pain, and delay healing. Diffuse swelling can also mask presence of an underlying abscess.
To counter the effects of tissue swelling, most hand surgeons recommend keeping the injured hand elevated at all times, with the hand higher than the level of the heart for best effect. Most experts also do not recommend the use of an arm sling as this may lead to shoulder stiffness that is difficult to treat and correct.
A better strategy is to prop the arm and hand on blankets or pillows placed to the patient’s side. As the swelling subsides any evident abscess collection should then be treated with incision and drainage.
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