- Assessment of Injury
- Management of an isolated hand injury
- Dislocations and collateral ligament injuries
- Skier’s thumb
- Mallet/baseball finger
- upture middle slip
- Jersey finger
- Wrist fracture
- Carpal instabilities and ligamentous injuries
- Triangular fibrocartilage complex tears
- Soft-Tissue Wrist Pain
- De Quervains tenosynovitis
- Wartenberg’s syndrome
- Intersection syndrome
- Scaphoid impaction syndrome
- Ulnar abutment pain
- Nerve compressions
- Chronic compartment syndrome
1 Dilley, B. Trevithick. Hand and Wrist in . E. Sherry and D. Bokor (eds). Manual of Sports Medicine. GMM, London, 1997
The hand and wrist are frequently injured in sport. Careful assessments and investigations will improve diagnosis and management. The essential functions of the hand are touch, firm and precise grip. (The thumb opposes the fingers and provides this precise grip). The wrist is the stable platform for the hand and so fine-tunes grasp. Hunter, tool-maker1, surgeon and athlete all depend on their hands.
1. Were our big - brained ancestors The first tool-makers or were they some distant, dead end, small - brained vegetarian cousins? It’s not that clear.
Ann Gibbons 1997 Tracing the Identity of the First Tool-Makers. Science 276, p32
Biomechanics and function are inextricably linked. (This interplay nowhere more evident than in the hand). Tendons, intrinsic muscles, nerves and vessels form on intricate, yet robust unit capable of delivering knock-out punch or putting the ball to the cup.
A knowledge of surface anatomy is important (Fig.1). (Know some more common anatomic variations, e.g. Flexor digitorum superficialis to the small finger is absent in a significant number of people, an extensor digitorum manus brevis may be confused with a ganglion).
Note that a relatively small amount of oedema in the finger is enough to significantly restrict movement (especially at the PIP joint, see Fig. 2).
Assessment of injury
What is the chief complaint? Either ‘It doesn’t feel right; it doesn’t work right; it doesn’t look right.’ What was the position of the hands and fingers at the time of injury? Such an understanding of the mechanism of injury with the chief complaint will be enough to secure the diagnosis (confirmed by exam and x-ray). The team doctor may witness the injury as it occurred.
Check the skin and nails, each joint, (ligaments for stability, mobility of joints). Nerves (check sensation and motor supply), vessels (pulses, branching of nail bed) and bones (provide stability).
Ask the patient to localize (point with one finger, to one spot!’) the site of the problem. (The site of maximal tenderness). The exam should proceed in an orderly sequence. Look, feel, move. Always compare sides.
Look. Inspect the dorsal and palmar surfaces. Look from the side, above and end of on. Note the position of wrists, hands and fingers. (Any abnormal posture suggestive of a fracture, ligament or tendon injury). Note of swelling, lacerations, bruises and sweat patterns.
Feel. Palpate the area of concern, seek sites of tenderness, instability, masses, etc. Assess sensation and circulation. Perform the relevant provocative manoeuvres. Assess grip and pinch strengths.
Move. Ask the patient to make a complete fist and fully extend , abduct and adduct all fingers and both thumbs. Check wrist dorsiflexion, palmarflexion, radial and ulnar deviation, pronation and supination.
X-rays (specify views and sites, a minimum of two views at right angles). Special views are useful in assessing wrist injury (PA clenched fist for scapholunate gap, carpal tunnel for (hook and hamate fracture and pisotriquetral views). At the very least: PA views a neutral, ulnar and radial deviation and direct lateral are necessary.
CT scanning will provide additional anatomic information in trauma to the wrist, (where difficult or unusual fractures, fracture/dislocations around the base of the metacarpals and carpus).
Bone scans (where, but not what) are useful in the assessment of chronic wrist pain.
Ultrasound (‘operator dependent’) can localize non radio-opaque foreign bodies, and give much valuable information about soft tissue masses, tendons and ligaments.
MRI may be of value in assessing the triangular fibrocartilage complex. (TFCC.).
Management of an isolated hand injury
Initial priorities are outlined
- Stop bleeding (direct pressure)
- Relieve pain (digital/wrist block)
- Assess injury (and splint)
- Path of Recovery
- Pain relief
A digital, or wrist block is the best way of relieving pain (Lignocaine 2%, without adrenaline, in doses not exceeding 5mg/kg, any nerve injury must have been assessed and documented prior to the nerve block).
Splinting the injured part is a simple (sadly often forgotten) way of providing effective and rapid pain relief. Splint as it lies or in the ‘safe’ position, (the wrist in about 30º extension, metacarpophalangeal joints 70–90º flexed, and the interphalangeal joints fully extended. The thumb, if included, is held parallel to the index finger). In this position the collateral ligaments are at their longest.
The coach can correct faulty technique and advise the medical team on the demands of the sport. But the patient is primarily responsible for their own recovery. Only the patient can do and carry out the given advice.
Pain relief, protection and physiotherapy are the three ‘Ps’ on the path to recovery.
Pain relief. Use ice, crepe and elevation (to reduce pain and swelling). Analgesics are used. Ice, heat, laser and TENS will also reduce pain.
Steroids (betamethasone *‘Celestone’* or methylprednisolone *‘Depomedrol’* have no place in acute injury. Useful in chronic inflammatory conditions (only two or three injections be given in one area). Complications with prolonged use included skin atrophy, fat necroses, infection and tendon rupture.
Athletes (under pressure to get back into competition) may request a ‘pain killing injection’. The injection of local anaesthetic is not indicated. If the hand is too painful to stand up to a the demand of competition it is not ‘ready for them’.
Protection. Continue splinting from acute phase of injury if necessary to stabilize and protect. (Allows protected movement (buddy taping’ to a healthy digit is easy and useful), apply tape so as not to interfere with joint movement, be careful when buddying an injured small finger to the right ring finger as a deforming rotatory forces may be applied to the injured digit). Dynamic splinting is best and often used in combination with static splints (at night). (S-Thumb will protect thumb or wrist).
Surgery may be necessary to get stability and protection.
Physiotherapy. Early active movement should begin as soon as possible. When pain settles, stability is established, and movement returns, stretching and strengthening are started. Any impediment to movement should be removed. (Pain, instability and oedema).
Oedema is lessened by movement, elevation, ice, and pressure from elastic bandages (Coban or similar) or tailor made gloves. Massage, laser, and intermittent positive pressure (Masman pump) will help.
The biology and biomechanics of fracture and soft tissue healing are no different in the athlete. (Athletes do not heal any quicker because they seek the advice and treatment of a ‘sports doctor’). In general, fracture union in the upper limb occurs in about six weeks (in the adult, and about half this in a child, fracture consolidation takes twice as long). What is different is the attitude to injury. The demands of competition (especially at the elite level) may result in the athlete returning to training and competition too early, (so running the risk of further injury). Financial concerns may bear on this decision to return too early. The athlete will make the ultimate decision. It is the role of the sports medical team to advise what the risks are and how they may be minimized.
The clinical signs of fracture are important (pain, swelling, deformity and loss of function). Diagnosis is confirmed by x-ray. Early movement is the key for a swift return to full function (so the fracture must be of a stable pattern, or be rendered stable by splinting or surgical fixation). Outcomes deteriorate if active range of motion is delayed beyond three weeks.
A fracture is reduced under appropriate anaesthetic by closed or open means and rendered stable. (Confirm by x-ray and repeat one week post injury and later as necessary).
If the fracture cannot be made stable by splinting, surgical fixation is necessary.
In general, displaced fractures involving joint surfaces will require reduction and surgical fixation. Note the called ‘clip’ or avulsion’ fractures, the bony equivalent of a tendon or ligament rupture, will usually require surgical repair.
Distal phalanx fractures
These result from a direct blow, often with the finger being ‘crushed’ between the bat and ball. The hallmark is a subungual haematoma. The nail plate maybe lifted out of the nail fold, suggesting that the fracture was, displaced and that a significant injury to the nail bed has occurred. A painful subungal haematoma under pressure may be relieved by drilling the nail plate with a sterile 19 or 19G needle, x-rays should then be taken as such (surgical cleaning of the fracture site, with accurate repair of the nail bed, magnification, and fracture fixation where appropriate give the best result; some surgeons feel a haematoma involving more than 25% of the nail plate is an indication for its removal to allow nail bed repair).
Catching a finger on the ground ball, or opponent may result in avulsion fractures of the extensor tendon (bony mallet) or less commonly avulsion of the flexor tendon (this latter one is more serious and usually less recognized). Almost always require surgical treatment. Note: occasionally the tendon will pull away from the bone chip and be found in the palm.
The bony mallet (if no more that 30% of the joint surface is involved and no joint subluxation) is treated in a hyperextension splint (maintain for at least 6 - 8 weeks,) Instruct patient in skin care and changing splints.
Middle and proximal phalanges, metacarpals
Transverse fractures of the middle phalanx (distal to the insertion of flexor superficialis) result in extension of the distal fragment, those proximal to its insertion are flexed. Transverse fractures of the proximal phalanx usually result in the interossei flexing the proximal fragment. Transverse fractures of metacarpals tend to have the distal fragment flexed by the long flexors. Reduction and neutralization of the deforming forces may be possible using buddy and extension block splinting.
However short oblique, and spiral fractures of the phalanges and metacarpals may shorten/rotate and so require surgical fixation. Rotation is assessed with the fingers in flexion. The fingers should not cross and the tips should individually point to the tubercle of the scaphoid.
Boxers fracture (a fracture of the neck of the small finger metacarpal and a result of bar-room brawling) is usually best treated in a resting splint with the hand in the safe position until pain and swelling subside (7-10 days) followed by active mobilization. Such fractures generally do not require fixation despite what appears to be marked x-ray deformity.
Dislocations and collateral ligament injuries
Dorsal dislocation of the PIPJ is common. Closed reduction (direct traction) is possible immediately, on the field, or later, under digital block. Following reduction joint then gauge stability. (The volar plate is avulsed from the middle phalanx, possibly with a bony fragment). Splinting straight for seven to ten days then ‘buddy taping’ (or dorsal block splint) for three weeks is recommended and during strenuous activity (for a further six to eight weeks).
If a dislocation will not reduce easily because of soft tissue interposition or entrapment of the dislocated phalangeal metacarpal head. Then open reduction required.
For partial collateral ligament ruptures, start immediate motion, protect with buddy taping for six to eight weeks (depending on residual tenderness). Complete ruptures (controversial) either splint or surgically repair.
Metacarpophalangeal joint dislocations (rare) require open reduction as are thumb, collateral ligament injuries.
Skier’s thumb (Game keeper’s thumb)1
This common injury occurs from sudden forced radial deviation (with/without hyperextension) of the thumb phalanx on the metacarpal with disruption, partial or complete, of the UCL/MCP (ulnar collateral ligament of the MCP) of the thumb; often seen in skiers (the ski stock handle door not protect from it) and football. Present with ulnar sided pain, swelling and instability. X-rays may show a bony avulsion. Graded as Type I (sprain, splint for 6 weeks in S-Thumb [Johnson and Johnson] and then when return to vigorous sports), Type II (partial tear, same splint) and III (complete tear, >30° abduction possible, needs surgical repair and protect post-op. in S-Thumb for 6 weeks and in vigorous sport) (Fig. 3). Athletes seem reluctant to seek treatment for such ‘minor’ injuries. Rupture of UCL/MCP (Grade III) thumb often requires open exploration and repair as it is almost impossible to tell whether or not the avulsed ligament has come to lie superficial to the adductor aponeurosis (Stener lesion). However most surgeons will not explore where stable ( <30° abduction) injuries. (Exploration of older Injuries similarly shows the ligament folded back on itself beneath the adductor aponeurosis).
Closed rupture of the distal extensor tendon results in the
‘mallet’, or ‘baseball’ finger.(Fig.3). (Provided no joint subluxation, or fracture one third or less of the articular surface) splint the DIP joint in slight hyperextension for six to eight weeks (even if present after 7-19 days). In supple fingers if a swan neck deformity develops at the PIPJ include this joint in the splint for three to four weeks (in slight flexion). Commercial splints are available.
1 C S Campbell 195. Gamekeeper’s thumb JBJS 37B, 148-149.
2 E B Kaplan 1940. Mallet or baseball finger Surgery 7, 784-791
Rupture middle slip
Rupture of the middle slip of the extensor mechanism over the PIPJ is commonly missed and results in a boutonniere deformity ( difficult to correct). Suspect in a ‘jammed’ PIPJ, when the joint is swollen, and tender over its dorsum. Specific tests; inability to actively extend the last 10-15 degrees at the PIPJ and the Elson test (flex the PIPJ to a right angle, ‘over the edge of a table’ ask the patient to extend the PIPJ, a central slip rupture will display no movement of the middle phalanx and the distal phalanx will tend to extend). Lack of full extension, although full passive extension of the PIPJ by tenodesis when the wrist and metacarpophalangeal joints are fully passively flexed, indicates rupture. Later signs are fixed flexion of the PIPJ with decreased passive DIPJ flexion with PIPJ fully extended.
Splinting is the most effective treatment. First correct PIPJ flexion and then DIP flexion (may take a minimum of eight weeks or longer to achieve the desired results).
Ruptures of the extensor mechanism at the level of the MPJ may occur (a ruptured sagittal band, on the radial side of the long finger). There is localized pain, swelling and an inability to actively extend the MPJ. Note the patient can maintain full extension of the joint if it is passively extended. Triggering (extensor tendon subluxing between the metacarpal heads) of the finger at MPJ rather than PIPJ level may later present. If seen early these injuries respond to splinting the MPJ in extension for three weeks. Other joints are left free. If seen late the tear is best repaired.
Rarely may see at MPJ level a longitudinal split in the extensor tendon and rupture of the dorsal MPJ capsule (result of a direct blow, as in boxing martial arts). Surgical repair is indicated.
Flexor tendon avulsion (‘Jersey’ finger)1
Flexor tendon avulsion is not common and not well recognized (from an attempt to grab the jersey or equipment of an opposing player (‘jersey’ finger). Not able to flex DIPJ bruising is present and a tender lump in the palm. The ring finger commonly affected. Players of ‘Oztag’, a variation of touch football in which a ‘tackle’ is effected by ripping a velcro fastened tag from the shorts of an opponent, incur this injury.
Early repair is best. Later repair is difficult because of swelling and collapse of the flexor sheath; If there is no pain and little functional deficit leave; Hyperextension of the DIPJ with or without ‘weakness’ in the finger may be treated by DIPJ fusion; Two stage tendon reconstruction is difficult.
1 J H Smith 1981. Avulsion of a profunches tendon with simultaneous intra-articular fracture of the distal phalanx. J Hand Surgery 6, 600-601
The most common carpal fracture. Volumes have been written about the appropriate management of this fracture. Suspected after a fall onto the hand and tenderness over the scaphoid or in the anatomic ‘snuff box’, (scaphoid impaction test, SIT, is positive, Fig. 5) Swelling and ‘thickening’ in the AP length of the wrist may be seen. Resisted pinch is painful. The x-rays should include a ‘scaphoid view’ (PA in ulnar deviation).
X-rays may be negative. Place the patients in a ‘scaphoid cast’ and rex-ray at two weeks; if still pain with negative x-rays, consider a truly ‘occult’ fracture, or a scaphoid-lunate ligament injury and obtain stress x-rays and a bone scan.
The median time for union of a scaphoid fracture is twelve weeks (The more proximal the fracture is, the more likely avascular necrosis and / or non-union).
Treatment: Immobilize tubercle or non displaced (no displacement) waist fractures in a short arm cast (including the thumb up to, but not including the IP joint) with the thumb pulp opposed to the pulp of the middle finger for six weeks. If no evidence of union progressing fix the fracture with a Herbert screw. Displaced waist and proximal third fractures are fixed straight away with a Herbert screw. If early mobilization is desired, as with athletes, the fracture is also fixed immediately. Return to sport three weeks after surgery in non contact sports (contact and collision are not permitted until union has occurred and not before six to eight weeks post fracture).
Other carpal fractures
Fractures of the triquetrum are the second or third most common carpal fracture (usually avulsions from the dorsum of the bone). Immobilize in a splint for three to four weeks to allow pain to settle for resumption of activity (occasionally becomes source of ongoing pain and fragment excision and ligament repair may be required).
Fracture of the hook of hamate
These account for 2% of carpal fractures and are common in ‘club’ ‘racquet’ sports (hockey, golf, baseball, cricket and tennis). The mechanism of injury is an impact between the base of the club, bat or racquet and hypothenar eminence (The handle of a cricket bat is sprung to absorb impact and so a ‘batsman’ is less likely than a ‘batter’ to incur fracture). The golfer implodes the ground on the swing.
Carpal instabilities and ligamentous injuries
The scapholunate ligament is commonly injured (presents like a scaphoid fracture) from a fall on the outstretched hand . There may be ‘pop’ after a backhand volley. Pain is over the dorsal aspect of the ligament. Tenderness located over the ligament (distal to Lister’s tubercle) may be the only sign. Kirk Watson has a provocative manoeuvre to assess the stability of the scaphoid (Radially deviate the hand whilst stabilizing the scaphoid with volar pressure: pain results). X-rays show a scapho-lunate gap; (the Terry Thomas sign). Clenched fist PA views, (compare with the uninjured side) are helpful. Arthrography will show the tear. MRI is still unreliable. Arthroscopy will make the diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment is difficult recovery long and controversial: (whether limited intercarpal fusion or capsulodesis).
Chronic tears may lead to a dorsal intercalated segment instability (DISI) with eventual degenerative change throughout the carpus.
Tears of the lunotriquetral ligament may present with ulnar wrist pain. Test this joint by balloting the bones with respect to each other, pain and symptoms are reproduced. X-rays may show a step off in the curve formed by scaphoid, lunate and triquetrum at mid carpal level. Later changes may result in a volar intercalated instability, VISI. Assess the midcarpal joint and triangular fibrocartilage complex as these injuries may be associated with, or mimic, each other. Arthroscopic debridement, reduction and pinning of the joint has been tried with small numbers of patients with some success.
Midcarpal instabilities may present with a painful clunk and this can be reproduced by Lichtman’s manoeuvre (patient makes a tight fist and moves the wrist from radial to ulnar direction).
Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) tears
Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injuries cause ulnar sided wrist pain. Tenderness is just distal to the tip of the ulna. ‘Grinding’ of the TFCC by compressing the dorsiflexed and ulnar deviated carpus against the complex will reproduce symptoms. Degenerative tears of the TFCC increases with age; ‘Congenital tears’ have been described.
If pain is aggravated by pronation and supination the distal radio-ulnar joint (DRUJ) may be injured. (Compress the joint as the patient pronates and supinates the forearm). Stability of the DRUJ is assessed by stressing the dorsal and volar radio-ulnar ligaments in neutral, full pronation and supination. (In full supination the volar ligaments are taut and there should be no volar translation of the ulna; and the converse).
Arthroscopy is a good way of investigation these problems and will allow debridement or suture of tears.
Soft-tissue wrist pain
A cause of chronic wrist pain in the athlete diagnosable by arthroscopy is injury to the chondral surfaces. Good relief of symptoms has been reported with debridement of isolated lesions, occult ganglion may be present where diagnosis is difficult. (detected by ultrasound or MRI).
De Quervains tenosynovitis
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis not uncommon in tennis, squash, racketball players, and weight lifters, there is tenderness over the first extensor compartment of the wrist. Finkelstein’s sign is positive (Flex thumb and ulnar deviation of wrist causes pain over 1st extensor compartment). Treatment is rest, splinting and one or two injections of steroid and local anaesthetic into the compartment. If this detail management fails, operative release (open 1st extensor compartment, care with dorsal radial) gives good results cutaneous nerve).
Neuritis of the radial sensory nerve (Wartenberg’s Syndrome) may be confused with de Quervain’s synovitis (or be associated with it). Seen in weight lifters with tight wrist bands. Typically forearm pronation worsens symptoms with paraesthesia in the distribution of the radial sensory nerve. Responds to steroids and splinting, or (rarely required) a neurolysis.
Extensor pollicis longus may become inflamed. But note steroid injection is contraindicated (as ruptured of the tendon here is not uncommon). Surgical release of the tendon sheath is better.
1 M B Woods, J H Dobyns 1986. Sports related extraarticular wrist syndromes. Clin. Orthop. 202, 93-102.
Intersection syndrome, inflammation at the crossover between the first and second extensor compartments (where APL/EPB tendons cross the ECRL/ECRB tendons) may occur in rowers, weightlifters and skiers. Splint the wrist extension, surgical ‘release’ seldom required.
Scaphoid impaction syndrome
The scaphoid impaction syndrome is seen in weightlifters and gymnasts. This presents with dorsal wrist pain (reproduced by forced dorsiflexion). If is caused by impingement of the scaphoid against the radius. X-rays show an osteophyte on the dorsoradial aspect of the scaphoid. Trial of splinting for six weeks is an alternative or remove osteophyte.Injury to the growth plate (physis) of the distal radius may occur in young, elite, female gymnasts with Premature closure in severe cases. Treatment is modification of activities which aggravate the pain (up to six months maybe necessary).
Other causes of ulnar sided wrist pain include ulnar abutment syndrome, subluxing extensor carpi ulnaris tendon, extensor carpi ulnaris tendinitis, and acute calcific ‘tendinitis’.
Ulnar abutment pain
Ulnar abutment pain is caused by forced ulnar deviation. X-ray shows an ulnar plus variant. Later changes seen in the lunate (chondral lesions often noted at arthroscopy). Surgical treatment is arthroscopic excision of the ulnar head and debridement of chondral flaps, or ulnar shortening.
Subluxation of ECU is demonstrated on pronation and supination of the forearm. Surgical reconstruction is required. Tendinitis is treated with splinting, NSAIDs and local infiltration of steroids. Acute calcific tendinitis needs to be distinguished from with infection and acute rheumatic conditions. Usually settles with splinting and NSAIDs.
The median nerve
The median nerve may be compressed at several levels in the arm: by the ligament of Struthers, in the forearm at the level of the lacertus fibrosus, pronator teres or at the origin of the flexor digitorum superficialis. There is activity related discomfort in the forearm and median nerve paraesthesia. Forced repetitive pronation in weight training may be a cause. The ‘true’ Tinel’s sign (sustained pressure directly over the nerve) reproduces paraesthesia; what is now called Tinel’s sign will be positive at the site of compression and so define the exact level of compression. Symptoms will be reproduced by resisted elbow and wrist flexion (compression at lacertus), resisted pronation (at pronator), or resisted long and ring finger PIPJ flexion (at superficialis arch). Nerve conduction studies are unreliable. Treatment is rest and modification of aggravating factors. Surgical release is occasionally needed.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel is no different in the athlete (Fig. 6). Mild symptoms are treated with splinting the wrist (in neutral). Surgical release gives excellent relief, but be warned of the persistence of ‘pillar pain’ at the incision site associated with forcible grip for about three months. Note that Kienböck’s (avascular necrosis of the lunate) disease can sometimes present as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ulnar nerve (handlebar palsy)
The ulnar nerve may be compressed in Guyon’s canal in cyclists as a result of wrist hyperextension and direct pressure from handlebars (Fig. 7).Numbness in the ulnar two and a half fingers is the usually presentation. Motor signs are often present. Avoid prolonged riding (for a time); use padded gloves and modify handlebars (may persist for several months) otherwise the most common cause of ulnar nerve compression at this level is a ganglion (picked up on ultrasound).
Anterior interosseous nerve compression
Anterior interosseous nerve compression may present with vague forearm pain and occasionally weakness of flexor pollicis longus, index profundus and pronator quadratus (not able to make ‘OK’ sign Fig. 8). Cause maybe: Anatomic variations in vessels, muscle origins or nerves; Space occupying lumps such as ganglia and lipoma. Management as for pronator syndrome.
Radial nerve (radial tunnel syndrome, RTS)
Radial nerve compression may be confused with or be associated with lateral epicondylitis. Provocative tests for lateral epicondylitis (with straight elbow passive flex wrist or ask patient to hold wrist dorsiflexed against resistance) produces pain over the extensors a few centimetres distal to the lateral epicondyle. Test for RTS: arm straight resisted compression long digit, tenses ECRB and reproduces symptoms. Rested and splinting the forearm in neutral generally resolve symptoms. Numbness in the radial sensory nerve is rarely seen in runners who maintain marked elbow flexion throughout their gait cycle. Technique modification is usually all that is required.
Distal posterior interosseous nerve syndrome
An unusual cause of dorsal wrist pain. Diagnosis is secured if injection of local anaesthetic into the fourth dorsal compartment eliminates symptoms. Transaction of the nerve maybe needed.
Repetitive trauma to the ulnar digital nerve of the thumb occurs in ten pin bowlers, and racquet sports. Equipment and technique modification are necessary to avoid permanent damage. Neurolysis is necessary for more severe cases.
Chronic compartment syndrome
Exertional pain over the first dorsal interosseous muscle and flexor forearm compartments may be due to a chronic compartment syndrome. Diagnosis is made by careful examination and compartment pressure studies. Fasciotomy may be necessary.