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Star midfielder Daniel Kerr says he’s willing to risk permanent damage to his injured finger if it means helping the Eagles reach and win another Grand Final. West Coast’s bid for a third straight grand final, and back-to-back premierships, was dealt a shattering blow last week when Kerr had to undergo surgery on a ruptured tendon in the ring finger of his left hand.

Superfooty AFL, 29 August 2007

Sports-related injuries account for up to 15% of all hand injuries seen in accident and emergency departments.1 Some hand injuries are potentially serious and require immobilisation, precise splinting and/or surgery. Finger injuries are often neglected by athletes in the expectation that they will resolve spontaneously. Athletes often present too late for effective treatment, especially with ligamentous injuries and joint instability.

The importance of early assessment and management must be stressed so that long-term deformity and functional impairment can be avoided. Many hand and finger injuries require specific rehabilitation and appropriate protection upon resumption of sports. Joints in this region do not respond well to immobilisation, which often exacerbates oedema and stiffness. Hence, surgical stabilisation and protected stabilisation with active motion splints are becoming commonplace for sports-related hand injuries.

As in all injury management, return to occupation is important, and if the occupation is sport, then more aggressive management options are often employed.

The sport-specific causes of pain in the hand are shown in Table 27.1. The anatomy of this area is demonstrated in Figure 27.1.

Table 27.1

Sport-specific hand conditions

Figure 27.1

Anatomy of the metacarpals and fingers (a) Muscles and tendons (b) The volar plate

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