History of Hand Injury

Severe upper extremity injuries are frequently dramatic and attended by emotional factors. Because of this, it is usually best to obtain a history in a deliberate, orderly way. If possible, after hearing the story, the examiner should physically demonstrate the scenario of injury back to the patient to confirm the examiner's understanding of the details, including the position of the extremity at the time of injury. If an injury involves machinery unfamiliar to the examiner, it should be described well enough to be visualized, in simple mechanical terms. Much of the extent of damage can be predicted before the examination.

Even in what seems to be an obvious situation, clarification is important, and one should not assume that all problems with the hand developed as a consequence of a single reported injury. Attention to detail from the onset can avoid misguided treatment and false expectations. Also, in the USA, hand injuries are commonly associated with worker's compensation and legal proceedings, which may require the surgeon to provide for an audience minute details of the history years after the fact.

Hand Injury History
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