Hand Injuries in Sport in Ireland

Hand Injuries in Sport in Ireland: In this post, I will be discussing Hand Injuries that happen in Irish sport, and just to highlight this injury. Roscommon Senior Footballer, Conor Cox @RoscommonGAA @clubrossie recently sustain a hand injury which means he will miss a lot of this Roscommon’s National Football League Division 2 campaign. This blog will inform you of the bones and other parts of the hand and also the various injuries that can happen.

Hand Injuries in Sport – CARPEL TUNNEL SYNDROME   

This is a common Hand injury both in sport and outside sport. It causes:

  • Pain
  • Pins and needles
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Which occur in the hand and arm. These causes are Just to name a few.  It happens when the main nerve (#Median) going to the hand or in the hand become compressed as it travels through the wrist. If got on time and treatment is given on time then recovery is easier and quicker, however, if it isn’t got on time and it persists and gets worse, then surgery may be required and prolongs recovery.  If it is not treated then it can lead to weakness as well as a lack of coordination in the fingers and thumb and will lead to further complications and will become a long term issue and the person will not be able to play sport or work until fully recovered.  Treatment will help ease the pressure and relieve symptoms.  Heavy lifting and any tasks involving lifting or use of the hand are to be avoided. Repetitive movement for long periods at a time without a break can be one reason why this occurs.


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Hand Injuries in Sport – SPRAINS 

A sprain occurs when the ligaments in the hand become damaged due to

  • Over stretching in sport or in life
  • The ligament(s) are partially torn
  • The ligament(s) are fully torn

This means flexion is hard to do in order to perform even the most minor tasks. How sprains can happen

  • A fall from a height or in sport such as Gaelic Football or Hurling when you catch the ball after jumping high for a ball and you land on your feet but lose balance and fall and you put your hand out to break your fall
  • A common injury with goalkeepers in Gaelic Football and Hurling when they are going up for the ball and the goalkeeper doesn’t get a clean catch it can force the fingers/hand back so far to an unnatural position which cases hyperextension that causes damage to the ligament(s) also in the case of a Gaelic Football or soccer goalkeeper where the ball is coming in high and the goalkeepers fingers/hand is near the crossbar and the finger/hand is caught between the crossbar and the ball as the ball comes at pace toward the goal. In Gaelic football where the goalkeeper is trying to prevent the ball from going over the bar for a point. This impact causes shock and as a result the fingers and or hand swells. And to an outstretched hand or arm that is how it can occur. This results as I said in:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

The length of time depends a lot on if the ligament is overstretched or torn and the extent of the injury.  When this occurs it is best to:

  • Do not continue to play if you are playing a match or whatever task you are doing, do not continue as to do so will aggravate the injury and will lengthen recovery time.
  • Rest for 24 to 48 hours, in some cases depending on the extent of the injury then maybe more.
  • Immediately apply ice to reduce the swelling
  • Apply a support bandage
  • Keep the hand raised as much keep above the heart using a pillow when laying down or the back of an armchair if sitting down.
  • In addition, take anti-inflammatory pain killer however ask your chemist for advice telling him or her if you have an allergy to any of the ingredients in the pain killer.
  • If the injury is severe enough a splint or cast may be required


Hand Injuries in Sport – THUMB SPRAIN

This occurs when the ligament(s) become hyperextended (overstretched) to an unnatural position beyond their limits or are torn.  A Thumb Splint will help for this and can be bought in all good pharmacies. Or a cast.  For further advice ask your GP, Pharmacist, Physio, Sports Therapist.  The Splint or cast will keep the thumb in its natural position while the thumb is healing and do not remove until fully healed.  If there is no improvement or it gets worse, then contact one of the above for further advice. It is advised until healed, no heavy lifting, if you are a player then do not play or train until you get the go-ahead from the team Sports Therapist/Physio/Doctor says you can return to playing status.  For more severe injuries, surgery may be required in more extreme circumstances.


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Wrist Sprains are usually contributed to tasks that are repetitively performed for long periods and or when a player or athlete is falling, it is natural to put out your hand to break your fall, this can occur in Rugby, or Gaelic Football or Hurling where or in soccer where goalkeepers are saving shots when there is a powerful shot or puck and the player or goalkeeper is trying to catch the ball or sliotar the power and momentum of the shot pushes the hand back or the ligaments become overstretched. Like the above Sprains, rest is key to the injury and anti-inflammatory and or ice is required to reduce pain and swelling. It is a common injury that, when treated on time is easy to recover from with the right treatment. It is best to put on wrist support which can be got from any pharmacy or chemist or medical supplier and it does help. The symptoms can be some or all of the following:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Loss of motion
  • And weakness

It is advisable to get it checked out in the hospital where they will x-ray it and you will be advised further depending on the extent of the injury there are other ways of diagnosing the extent such as a scan etc.



This includes but not limited to:

  • Knuckles
  • Fractured fingertips
  • Thumbs
  • Fingers
  • Bones in the hand

Breaks occur where there is a severe impact on any of the above parts of the hand.  It is, unfortunately, a common injury in rugby, Gaelic Football and Hurling. I will pick Hurling as an example for this case.  Here is a scenario. A goalkeeper takes a puck out. The puck out usually goes high so the 2 or more players jump up to catch the Sliotar, to get the ball, one or 2 players will go to catch the ball and to other players may decide to pull on the ball in mid-air. Then the ball is hit but then there is the follow-through and the players Hurley continues and hits the players hand who wanted to catch the ball which will or can lead to one or all of the above bones been broken due to the force. How the hand or what way the Hurley hits the hand will dictate the extent and what bones get broken.  The player will need to be taken off and brought to a hospital by ambulance or by a quick-thinking person. The hand will need to be x rayed or scanned to determine the extent of the break and what bones are broken in the hand. A Cast is required as part of the recovery for any break and recovery time varies depending on the extent of the damage does and how many bones in the hand are broken, from the wrist to the knuckles to the fingertips. The wrist consists of 8 Carpel bones which can also break.



The PIP JOINT is in the finger. And to describe where the PIP Joint is: at the top of the finger you have the Distal Phalanx which is the top bone or fingertip in the finger. Below the Distal Phalanx is the DIP Joint.  You then have the Middle Phalanx (bone in the middle of the finger).  Below the Middle, Phalanx is the proximal Phalanx which is the bottom bone in the finger. The PIP Joint is the Joint between the Middle Phalanx and the Proximal Phalanx.  A PIP Dislocation is where the finger is dislocated at that joint. In other words, it comes out of the middle Phalanx is in an unnatural position. Or it comes away from the joint.  I can speak from personal experience on this injury as in my playing days I was a goalkeeper in Gaelic Football and Hurling and Soccer and 8 years ago in a 6  a-side soccer match I was the goalkeeper for my team and there was a hard shot and I saved it with my fingers and due to the power in the shot, it caused a PIP Dislocation.  One of the players was a doctor and he put it back in place but there was swelling after it so I put ice on it and took an anti-inflammatory pain killer and rested it and the next day I went into the hospital to get an x-ray to see if there was any chip gone out of the bone and also to see if any further damage was done and also to see if it was put back right. I told the doctor the story after he looked at the x-ray and he said you are lucky you did what you did and you were right to come in here for us to x-ray it to check to make sure there was no further damage done and to make sure it was back in right as if not further damage could have been done and or possibility down the line of arthritis in the joint.



As mentioned in the above injuries, a sprain is where the Ligaments become hyperextended or overstretched. We have mentioned in the above injuries the symptoms and treatments for them and what to do. However, sprains are never straight forward as just being a sprain.  There are 3 grades of sprain:

  • Grade I is where there is minor damage done to the ligament.
  • Grade II is where there is more severe damage done to the ligament and as a result, the pain levels increase. The more severe damage done in a grade 2 can even be a partial tear which means a longer recovery period as well as looseness in the joint and some loss of function.
  • Grade III is where the ligament is completely torn which means severe looseness and loss of function and may or usually requires surgery to repair the damage and means a good while out.



I am qualified in Kinesiology Taping for the Player/Athlete.  During the course, I was amazed at the number of injuries that Kinesiology Tape can be used for.  Kinesiology Tape Reduce pain gives support and helps with circulation help aiding and shortening recovery time.

The injuries it can be used for includes but not limited to:

  • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
  • Quad Muscle Injury
  • Achilles Tendon
  • Ankle Sprain Grade I to III as part of recovery
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Rotator Cuff
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Patella Tendonitis
  • Hamstring
  • Calf Injury
  • Lymph drainage
  • Plantar Fasciitis

I wrote a blog specifically on Kinesiology Taping for the Player/Athlete.  The blog can be found on my website as above.

If you have any queries on the above injuries or you need advice on them or you would like to make an appointment by calling me or emailing me or you can make an appointment on the website. I also do home visits if you can’t come to the clinic. Just one of many ways to make it easier for you, the patient when it comes to getting treatment with me.  For more information on the services and to see other blogs I have written and clubs I work with, go onto the website.


“Aidan works with us on the Irish Diabetic Football team. I had a knee issue recently and Aidan was excellent in diagnosing the problem and providing the right treatment. .”

“I injured my knee mid year 2013. I've been to three different physical therapists, with AR Sports Therapy Clinic being the third. I have received the best care by far from this facility. My range of motion has increased and the pain has decreased. The therapists really know what to do and how to get you back on your feet (literally). Of course you must continue the recommended exercises on your own time, which helps during and after therapy. I recommend this facility.”

"Very knowledgeable and supportive!"

"I'm a total exercise novice, Aiden gave me some really practical and realistic tips. I've tried so many times over the years to adopt a fitness routine, but it's never really worked as no matter what I tried I always felt out of my depth and ended up quitting. His supportive treatment and advice have really encouraged me and I'm now finding my stride. highly recommended."

Sam Ferguson

Aidan Raftery is the Principal of AR Sports Injuries Clinic and offers Treatment for sports injuries as well as professional sports massage. If laid up or travel is difficult Aidan is available to travel for any client in Dublin-The Midlands or NorthWest. Also available to cover matches or training as an on the spot sports therapist

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