7 Common Hand and Wrist Injuries Caused by Maryland Car Crashes

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on April 20, 2023 and updated on May 17, 2023.

man's arm wrapped up in a castWrist pain after a car accident could indicate a serious injury. The cost of medical care could be expensive. After receiving treatment, victims should consider contacting an experienced lawyer to discuss legal options. The other driver may be liable for the cost of your medical care and other damages.

The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl offers a free initial consultation and legal representation from our firm does not include any upfront fees. Our Maryland car accident lawyers have been helping auto accident victims for decades. We have secured justice and compensation for many victims, through insurance settlements and courtroom decisions.

Have questions following a crash? Call us today: 410-244-7005.

1. Hand and Wrist Fractures

If you hit your wrist on something during the crash you could break, or fracture, your wrist. For example, you could break the carpal bone, which connects your wrist and your hand.

One of the most common types of wrist fractures is called a scaphoid fracture. This injury is so common because the scaphoid bone is the smallest bone in your wrist. This bone has the highest risk of breaking if your wrist suffers blunt force trauma or your wrist gets bent awkwardly.

Crash victims could also suffer a distal radius fracture, which is a break in the large bone in your forearm.

In a catastrophic crash, you could suffer an open fracture. This means the bone has broken through the skin. If this happens there is a high risk of an infection.

2. Broken Fingers

The bones that make up your fingers are delicate. That means there is a high risk of a break or fracture if your fingers suffer significant trauma. The medical term for a broken finger is a broken phalanx.

A break or fracture in one or more of the bones in your hand could accompany a crush injury. This could happen if your hand gets pinned under something during the collision.

3. Dislocations

The bones in your hands or wrists could become dislocated during the collision. When the bones in a joint become totally separated, it is called luxation. If the bones are only partially separated it is called subluxation.

Dislocation can cause you to lose function in the joint. If the injury is not treated quickly, you could be at risk for permanent damage.

4. Wrist Sprains

The ligaments in your wrist could become stretched or torn during the collision. This is often the result of the wrist getting bent at an unnatural angle. Wrist sprains are classified by grade, from one to three, with three being the most severe.

  • Grade One Sprains – The ligaments stretch but do not tear. You may feel stiffness and swelling in your wrist but there will not be any loss of function or strength.
  • Grade Two Sprains – This occurs when the ligaments are partially torn. You may experience limited functioning in your hand or wrist.
  • Grade Three Sprains – This is the most severe type of sprain. The injured ligament is completely torn. The injury can be so bad small pieces of bone are pulled away with the ligament. This is known as an avulsion fracture. While grade one and two sprains may heal on their own, grade three sprains require medical intervention. This is likely to include surgery.

5. Inflamed Ligaments

The carpal tunnel is the part of your wrist where the nerves, bones and ligaments meet. When the carpal tunnel becomes inflamed or scar tissue develops, pressure may be applied to the median nerve. This may cause carpal tunnel syndrome. The ligaments in your hands could become inflamed because of a sprain.

6. Tendonitis

Your tendons connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons are often damaged when a bone breaks. For example, tendons could become inflamed, limiting mobility in your wrists or hands.

7. Surface Wounds

Your hands and wrists could suffer a variety of surface wounds during the crash, such as:

  • Bruises/contusions, which are caused by broken capillaries
  • Abrasions, which are scrapes of the top layer of skin
  • Lacerations are deep cuts into the skin that likely require stitches
  • Puncture wounds are deep wounds that are caused by another object piercing the skin

It is important to note lacerations can be severe and there are cases where lacerations lead to the amputation of limbs. Puncture wounds can also be dangerous because there is a risk of a serious infection.

Symptoms of Hand/Wrist Injuries

If you experience any of the following symptoms after a car accident, you may have suffered a hand or wrist injury:

  • Severe pain
  • Loss of function
  • Limited range of motion
  • Loss of strength
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers or hands
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Loss of ability to form a fist
  • Burning sensation in the hand or wrist
  • Less grip strength
  • Soreness at the site of the injury
  • Not being able to move or straighten your fingers or wrist
  • Hands, fingers or wrist feeling warm

It is important to note the pain and other symptoms could get worse in the hours and days after the collision. You might not think the injury is that bad only to wake up the next day with severe pain and limited mobility.

That is why you should get to the emergency room after the crash so your injuries can be diagnosed and treated.

What Causes Wrist Pain After a Maryland Car Accident?

One of the main causes of wrist pain and wrist injuries after a car accident is tightly gripping the steering wheel before and during the collision. It is only natural to tense up when you are anticipating a collision.

Unfortunately, gripping the steering wheel like this causes the energy from the collision to transfer into your hands and wrists at impact. This can result in serious injuries.

A crash can also subject many body parts to blunt-force trauma. Your hands could hit the steering wheel, dashboard, window, gear shift or airbag. This can cause bones to break and tendons to sprain.

Sometimes your wrist gets bent at an awkward angle during impact. It could get bent forward, backward or even sideways. This can damage tendons and ligaments and cause bones to break.

Anatomy of the Hand

Each one of your hands has 27 bones in it, including:

  • 14 bones (distal, middle and proximal phalanges) in the fingers
  • 5 metacarpals connect your fingers to the rest of your hand
  • Eight carpal bones (hamate, pisiform, capitate, trapezoid, trapezium, scaphoid, triquetrum, lunate) connect your hand to your wrist

Each of your hands has a total of 27 joints held together by ligaments. You also have muscles and tendons in your hands that provide mobility and strength.

Each hand has three nerves that allow your hands and fingers to move.

Anatomy of the Wrist

The radius and ulna join with your carpal bones to form the wrist. The wrist has three joints (radiocarpal, ulnocarpal, distal radioulnar). These joints are supported by ligaments.

The base of the wrist contains the carpal tunnel where the ligaments, bones and nerves meet. This tunnel contains the median nerve.

Treating a Car Accident Wrist Injury

Doctors may need to do an X-ray and/or MRI to accurately diagnose your hand or wrist injury. They may also assess your range of motion, along with examining surface wounds and the pain level you report.

Sometimes treatment is not that complicated. For example, you may need to rest the area for a minimum of three days. Hot compression can help with inflamed nerves. Meanwhile, ice could help reduce inflammation in your soft tissues.

Doctors may also recommend the use of over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling. Doctors may also recommend wearing a brace or splint to immobilize the area and allow it to heal.

If bones were broken, you may need a cast. If the break is severe, you may need surgery to repair the damage. This may involve implanting plates or screws to ensure the bones come back together as they should.

Call The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl to Discuss Your Car Crash Injury

Unsure if you need an attorney after a car accident?

There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer, particularly one who has significant experience with vehicle accident cases. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have taken on insurance companies and recovering compensation for crash victims for decades.

When you hire our firm, you can rely on us to manage each step of the legal process on your behalf. This allows you to focus on medical treatment.

Give us a call to learn more about our services: 410-244-7005.