19 Jan Interesting Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Don’t use your hand as a hammer! Hypothena Hammer Syndrome
Our hands perform many important roles when we’re at work, but one of them is not a hammer. While it’s rare, we have seen cases where people have used their hands to hammer an object into place such as a piece of wood or a metal bar. Using the base of your hand in this way can lead to serious problems.
At the base of your hand, you’ve got two important arteries, one on the inside called the Ulnar Artery that supplies blood to the hand, and one the outside called the Radial Artery that completes the blood supply to the hand When someone subjects these arteries to a blunt force, such as hammering something into place, it brings the Ulnar Artery close to the skin, causing a potential long-term injury such as a small aneurysm. These aneurysms can then go on to form clots which travel into the fingers, resulting in the possible loss of the finger. This is called Hypothena Hammer Syndrome.
Regardless of where you work, it’s important to use the correct tools to get the job done. And it’s certainly no different here. Use a hammer and not your hand.
Hand Vibration Syndrome (pictured)
A common exposure in many work environments is vibration caused by heavy machinery use. When operating trucks, diggers or dozers people need to remember to wear protective equipment on their hands to minimize vibration damage. Long-term use of heavy machinery without such protection can result in ‘Hand Vibration Syndrome’.
Hand Vibration Syndrome is caused by damage to the nerves, vessels and muscles in the finger due to vibration exposure. Symptoms range from tingling and numbness, cold fingers, tendonitis and arthritis.
Although this condition is rare, it’s a good reminder why it’s important to wear protective hand-equipment while at work.
Dr Toby Cohen
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