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What are Traveler’s Injuries?

Travelers injuries are usually the result of handling luggage. Also included are motor vehicle accidents and slips and falls.  Unfamiliarity with rental vehicles and local traffic laws while on vacation, business, volunteerism, or visiting friends and family contribute to collisions.  

Types of Traveler’s Injuries

Injuries related to travel involving the arm structures vary by caused by geographical location. Injuries can be caused by falls due to unfamiliar terrain and distractions during touring. This can result in injuries to the fingers, wrists, and elbows ranging from strains to fractures. Removing luggage from the carousel and placing carry-ons in the overhead compartment may strain the wrist and elbow.

Some of the most common injuries to the arm include:

  • Carpal instability: loss of normal function and alignment in the carpal bones.
  • Wrist ligament injuries: damage to the small band connecting scaphoid and lunate bones.
  • Finger fractures, sprains, dislocations: dislocations or traumatic deformity of the phalanges and joints.
  • Medial epicondylitis of the elbow:  characterized by pain from the elbow to the wrist on the inside (medial side) of the elbow.
  • Lateral epicondylitis: also known as tennis elbow, the most common overuse injury, characterized by pain from the outer aspects of the elbow to the forearm and wrist.
  • Mallet finger: deformity of the finger caused when the extensor tendon is damaged.

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Traveler’s Injuries

Injuries to the hands, wrists, and elbows are distinguishable by swelling, stiffness, pain, and deformity in the area. Pain in the affected region may be intermittent, leading patients to believe the injury has resolved on its own. Consult with a hand surgeon if you have twisted your elbow or wrist or have fallen on your hand.

If you suspect an injury to your hand, wrist, or elbow following a trip,  schedule an appointment with a highly skilled hand surgeon to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Causes of Traveler’s Injuries

These injuries are usually related to falls, lifting luggage and motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents.  Many cases of injury involve motor vehicles or falling onto an outstretched hand.

Injuries are not always obvious and may not seem like an immediate cause for concern due to intermittent or delayed pain.

Getting a Diagnosis for Traveler’s Injuries

Most injuries are easily distinguishable due to swelling, deformity to the region, bruising, or stiffness. X-rays may be required to determine the severity of injury to bones or ligaments.

Treatment Options for Traveler’s Injuries

Most travel-related injuries can be treated with simple procedures. Acutely dislocated joints can usually be reduced in our office, well-aligned, broken fingers can be immobilized with splints, and surgery may be required for complex boney and ligamentous injuries.

Conservative Treatments

Rest your arm following an injury and avoid strenuous activity until you are cleared by your surgeon. A sling, anti-inflammatory medication, and therapy may also be recommended. The R.I.C.E method is also helpful for managing injuries that do not require surgical intervention:

  • Rest : avoid using your elbow, hand or finger while it is healing.
  • Ice : use an ice pack for 15 minutes a day.
  • Compression : compression bandages can help reduce swelling when used judiciously.
  • Elevation : keep your injured elbow, hand, or wrist above your heart to reduce swelling.

Surgical Treatments

In some cases, surgery may be required. Misaligned broken bones and joints and high-grade ligament tears require surgical consideration as an option, Treatment plans often include occupational and physical therapy and temporarily immobilizing the affected region. Understanding how the injury occurred is very helpful for creating a treatment plan.

Understanding the direction and magnitude of the injurious force is very useful as well. It is important to seek out a skilled hand surgeon such as Dr. Mark Pruzansky or Dr. Jason Pruzansky if you suspect conservative treatment is not working.

Preventing an Injury while Traveling

No one wants to be injured during a trip, but accidents do happen. You may not be able to prevent every injury while traveling, but you can do your part in being proactive and prepared by doing the following:

  • Don’t risk your health and safety.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Do not drink alcohol and drive.
  • Wear a seatbelt.
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventure activities.

Prognosis for Travelers Injuries

Most injuries to travelers are minor and they make a full recovery. Varying degrees of injury can mean a different potential outcome for each kind of injury.

Schedule an appointment with a skilled hand surgeon following an accident in order to have the best prognosis.

If You Believe You Have Travelers Injury Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us  to schedule an appointment with our talented team. People experiencing traveler’s injuries ought to be evaluated to reduce further injury and mobility issues.

If you have been injured, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and obtain an accurate diagnosis.

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