Self-management strategies used by patients who are hypersensitive to cold following a hand injury. A prospective study with two years follow-up

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Study design:

Prospective cohort study.


Knowledge of the strategies used by patients with injuries of the hand to manage cold hypersensitivity should guide information given by health-care workers.


To explore the use of cold-associated self-management strategies in patients with severe hand injuries.


Seventy patients being cold hypersensitive following a hand injury, reported use of strategies to limit cold-induced symptoms in the injured hand(s) and the severity of cold-associated activity limitations one and two years after surgery.


The patients used several strategies, including clothing (100%), use of own body (movement/use of muscles to produce heat or massage of the fingers) (94%), and heating aids (48%), but were still limited in valued cold-associated activities two years after surgery. The number of patients staying indoors, using heating aids and hand wear indoors and during summer-time increased with severity of cold hypersensitivity. Patients both implemented and discontinued different strategies after the first year, but for most strategies, the proportions of users were quite stable.


The most common strategies used to limit cold-induced symptoms in the injured hand(s) were clothing and use of own body. Many patients also seemed to benefit from using heating aids. After one year, a number of patients still experimented in finding the best strategies and were still limited in valued cold-associated activities.

Level of evidence:


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