Playing Hurt: Hand and Wrist Injuries and Protected Return to Sport

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When treating hand and wrist injuries, there is often an opportunity to allow an athlete to return to play before complete healing of the injury and/or surgery. Protective devices can make this possible. The risks of returning to play in this manner depend on many factors including the injury itself, position played, hand dominance, etc. Communication between treating health care professional, athlete, trainer, and coaches is critical in this decision process. Protective options include taping, custom-made splints, commercially available braces, soft casts, and hard casts. Ability to use these devices during competition is governed by the rules of each individual sport and often dependent on final approval by referee or game official.

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