Summary: Why are the hands so prone to injury compared to the rest of the body? Well, there are some unique features and qualities about your hands that make them particularly vulnerable. There are so many mechanisms that are needed to make the hands work–and they aren’t particularly well protected by the thin skin around your hands. Sometimes, that can add up to an injury prone combination.
Why Are the Hands so Prone to Injury?
It doesn’t feel like it takes much to injure your hands. Some shallow lacerations will probably do it, or even something as simple as repetitive motion. The simple, easy things often feel like they can sufficiently injure your hands. And that doesn’t seem all that fair–after all, your hands are pretty important, why can’t they be a little more robust?
First and foremost, we should note that perceptions do not always match reality. Just because it feels as though your hands are a little more prone to injury than the rest of your body doesn’t mean they actually are. (That’s not to say they aren’t either–just that it sort of depends on how you frame the question.)
However, your hands aren’t really the toughest part of your body either. There are some reasons for that, of course, and some reasons why your hands might feel a little more prone to injury than other areas of your body. We should mention, as we’re talking about this, that you should always consult with your doctor about any hand pain you’re having. This article is not intended to replace medical advice–it is, in fact, intended for entertainment purposes only. So why are hands so prone to injury? Let’s take a look at a couple of possible reasons.
You Use Your Hands. A Lot.
One of the primary reasons that the hands tend to be a site of injuries is because we tend to use them all the time. When you stop to think about it, there’s not a moment of a day that goes by where you aren’t using your hands in some way. Whether you’re working, driving to work, driving home, cooking dinner, or relaxing by playing Candy Crush on your phone.
About the only time of day where your hands aren’t getting a workout is when you’re sleeping. So it’s no shock that your hands can develop all kinds of chronic use-based symptoms and syndromes. From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to Cubital Tunnel Syndrome to De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, there are all kinds of ailments that are either caused by or exacerbated by repetitive motion.
Performing regular hand exercises or hand stretches can prevent many of these issues from developing (or, in some cases, from getting worse).
There’s a Lot of Stuff Happening Inside Your Hands
Another reason your hands tend to be prone to injury is because, well, there’s a lot to injure. Your hands work as well as they do because there are a significant number of mechanisms crammed into a very small space, including:
Now, that doesn’t make the hands all that different from anywhere else on your body. What makes the hands different, though, is how tightly all of those mechanisms are packed together. So when the hand undergoes a trauma, there’s not much padding in the way and some of those core components can very easily become injured.
Those injuries and traumas can compound one another–again, in part, due to the close proximity of all those internal mechanisms.
Your Hands Have Thin Skin
The final piece of the puzzle here is somewhat unique to your hands. Generally speaking, hands to have pretty thin stick, especially compared to the rest of your body. That makes a lot of sense for your hands. Thin skin means that your hands can be more sensitive to all of the things that they’re, you know, touching.
But this also means that your hands have far less in the way of protection. Everything from blasts of hot or cold to even the thinnest of lacerations can cause damage to your hands. And because the skin of your hands is so thin, that damage can often affect the internal mechanisms of your hand as well (lacerations, for example, are a common cause of nerve damage).
That’s why it’s often recommended that patients seek treatment even for relatively minor cuts to the finger.
Getting the Right Treatment
Because the hands are somewhat unique (and, let’s face it, because doctors tend to specialize quite a bit), it’s often a good idea to see a hand doctor or a hand surgeon when it comes to treating injuries of the hand.
Hand surgeons have specialization that can help you get a handle on whatever hand ailments are giving you trouble. Why are the hands so prone to injury? Well, there are plenty of reasons. The important thing is keeping them as safe as possible and treating them when injuries occur.
About the Author: Nick Engebretson has been working with plastic and cosmetic surgeons for over twenty years. For this particular article, he consulted with the offices of Houston hand surgeon Dr. Charles Polsen.