Compression gloves are often recommended for a swollen hand or finger. The blend of nylon and lycra provides a comfortable, gentle squeeze that helps reduce swelling. These gloves are thin and unlined so that they move with the hand and do not get in the way of hand use. You can often purchase the gloves without tips (3/4 finger length) so that you have sensation and better purchase at the ends of the fingers for easier hand use. The seams of these gloves are deliberately placed on the outside of the glove to provide a smooth and even fit, to increase comfort, and to prevent pressure areas and friction. The gloves also provide a low-level warmth that can be comforting to painful and stiff finger joints.
The hands can be at risk for frostbite when temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. With the sub-zero temperatures many are experiencing this week across the nation, here are a few tips to help you prevent a cold-related hand injury.
1. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather. Wool or a wool synthetic is warmer than cotton. Mittens are more protective than gloves. Insulate with several thinner layers of clothing rather than only one or two thicker layers. Top with a waterproof outer layer. Carry extra pairs of gloves with you in case the ones you are wearing become wet.
2. Check to be sure that no area of skin is exposed (for example, where the glove and the arm sleeve meet).
3. Check the fingers for signs of frostbite on a regular basis if you need to be out in the weather for any length of time.
4. Avoid use of alcohol or cigarettes. Both increase susceptibility to developing frostbite. Certain medical conditions (for example, neuropathy, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud’s) and medications can also increase risk of developing frostbite. Take extra precautions if you have a condition that puts you at higher risk.
Be aware. Be safe.
Self-adhering bandages can be a wonderful way to hold dressings in place or to cover an open wound in a hand injury. Because the bandage sticks to itself and not to the skin, it is an ideal choice for those who are allergic to adhesive or whose skin tears easily.
In addition to the obvious use as wound coverage, self-adhering bandages can also be used to accomplish a variety of goals during the recovery of a hand injury.
The self-adhering bandage can be used to buddy-tape an injured finger to an adjacent finger. This provides protection for the injured finger. Buddy-taping can also be used to mobilize an injured finger that is at risk of becoming stiff (of course, only use it in this manner if the injury has healed to the point that motion is allowed).
When used as a spiral wrap moving around the finger from the tip towards the wrist, a light compression can help reduce swelling in the finger or a finger joint. Be careful not to put the wrap on too tightly. Just lightly take up the tension as the wrap is applied. Remove the wrap if it appears to be compromising the circulation of the finger in any manner (for example, if the finger tip turns cool or purplish or if the wrap causes pain).
Self-adhering bandage can be used to create a stretch for stiff fingers. Wrap the fingers that need to improve motion into a gentle bend. Keep the bandage on for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Remove immediately, however, if pain increases dramatically.
Self-adhering wrap can be used to correct for a rotational misalignment by gently spiraling the wrap into the corrected position and strapping the injured finger to the adjacent finger.
Self-adhereing bandages come in a variety of sizes and colors. It can be purchased through medical supply companies, pharmacies, and even veterinary supply outlets.