February 1st 2005
ABSTRACT: Rely on the history and physical findings when you evaluate a hand injury. After you control any active bleeding, test the motor and sensory functions of the radial, ulnar, and medial nerves. Use the rule of the 5 P's-pulses, pallor, pain, paresthesia, and paralysis-to guide the vascular examination. Assess the muscles and tendons by testing their flexion and extension functions against mild resistance. After anesthetizing any wound sites, apply high-pressure saline irrigation to remove debris and reduce bacterial contamination to prevent infection. To repair skin injuries, use a closure method appropriate to the condition of the wound. Infection-prone wounds-such as crush, grossly contaminated, and bite injuries-may require antibiotic prophylaxis and possibly delayed closure.