Understanding Hand Health and Repetitive Stress Injury

Understanding Hand Health and Repetitive Stress Injury


It’s easy to take your hands for granted. That is, until something goes wrong. When your hands aren’t functioning the way they should, it can affect everything you do—from the mundane to the significant—and that can have a huge impact on your life. Luckily, you can regain both function and form with hand surgery at West Michigan Plastic Surgery.

You Use Your Hands More Than You Think

Most everyone works with their hands. Even though you might not consider your line of work to be hand-related, you probably couldn’t do it effectively without them. From technicians to typists, mechanics to musicians, fully functioning fingers, hands, and wrists are vital to your success and survival.

Your Hands On Repeat

Most of these jobs and activities require the repetitive actions of your hands, and making the same movement over and over, day after day, can lead to the development of debilitating injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the most common hand issue that people face. This chronic condition affects hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers every year. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, aching, burning, and pain in the hands, wrists, and fingers. Sometimes this pain can even travel through the arm and into the shoulder and neck. If left unchecked, the muscles can start to weaken, causing the inability to grip objects or oppose the thumb and fingers with any force.

Give Your Hands a Break

If your day consists of hours of repetitive hand motions, it’s important that you give yourself a break. Taking a few minutes to rest your hands, fingers, and wrists every so often can go a long way in keeping them healthy and nimble so you can continue doing what you love. Just like hitting the gym or the running trail, you should stretch out your hands beforehand and give them a good warm-up before taking on those repetitive tasks.

What If You Need Surgery?

If you feel like you’re starting to experience the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome or another stress-related injury, it’s wise to get a professional opinion right away from a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Holley. Microsurgery of the hand is a subspecialty of plastic surgery, requiring additional training and experience in order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This ensures the expertise in the surgical, medical, and rehabilitative care of patients with diseases, injuries, and disorders affecting the hand, wrist, and forearm. Although there are treatments available that don’t involve going under the knife, like immobilization, rest, and pain-relief medications, if your condition is more severe, a surgical procedure may be the only option to relieve debilitating symptoms. If that’s the case, Dr. Holley may recommend carpal tunnel release to alleviate the pressure on the median nerve, restoring function and easing pain to the affected hand.

How Do You Care for Your Hands After Surgery?

If you do end up needing surgery, it’s very important that you closely nurture your recovery. Taking the utmost care of your hands after a surgical procedure will give you the greatest chance to regain function and the ability to use them the way you want to. Rest is important afterward, but so is keeping your hands and fingers moving with the prescribed exercises and calisthenics. Dr. Holley will provide you with specific care instructions following the operation, and sticking to your rehab program will ensure the best outcome.

Hand Surgery at West Michigan Plastic Surgery

Dr. Holley understands that your hands are crucial to your career and overall well-being. He is a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon with years of surgical experience serving the Portage, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek areas. To learn more about this or any of the other procedures offered at West Michigan Plastic Surgery, schedule your initial consultation today.

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