Hi there, I just started working on a construction site last week and they had me hammering away for 3 days straight. I mainly used a handheld hammer and I was swinging it full force for hours on end (nailing and closing gaps in stubborn wooden planks.) The vibrations rattled my arms. As of 5 days ago, my hand been in A LOT of pain, which has subsided for the most part, but the biggest problem is with my pinky finger. It's very weak, and it uncomfortable to bend. When I DO bend it, it stops responding halfway down, but with a little extra effort it pops and goes all the way to my palm. The same happens when I try to extend the pinky from a closed fist; it makes it about half way up, stops responding, and then, click, it pops up. (no actual audible pops or clicks. It's more to describe the movement of the finger.) I've since moved to painting, but I'm sure the constant use of the hand still isn't helping whatever has happened to the pinky. Is anyone in the construction field familiar with this kind of hammering related shock/trauma? Could it be broken? Should I treat it like it is, and just throw a splint on it? I really don't want to go to a doctor and have them do that exact same thing and then charge me $100 for their trouble. But if this could be caused by something more serious, then I'll look into medical help.
Hi Paul Sid our resident Medic will know about this But in the mean time I Hope they haven't had you doing non stop work with this ? Otherwise you could be heading for Vibration White finger which is subject to a lot of disabilty Compensation claims here in the UK Read this page for info on this... www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/23069104/ Hope you are not going to be doing this job regularly? Take care!
Posts: 16349 | Location: 6 miles west of Wigan UK | Registered: 06-05-02
Sounds like some sort of tendon injury. The fact that it goes all the way through normal motion suggests the tendon isn't out of place: rather, there may be an area of swelling that catches as it runs through the pulley mechanism. If rest and avoiding trauma for a while doesn't correct it, at some point it'll need a look by a doctor. Presumably a hand surgeon. Meanwhile, as has been said, it ought to be covered under workman's compensation -- although making the claim may not get you points with your new employer. That, however, isn't a reason to hold back. Give it a little time first. It's not serious in the sense of dangerous, and waiting won't make things worse. (Realize, of course, this is being said without the benefit of an exam -- I say that to cover my rear end.)
Posts: 1563 | Location: Puget Sound, USA | Registered: 06-03-02
I had this kind of thing happen when I was cutting cardboard using an exacto knife for hours on end. Over the many days that I was continually using the knife (12-15 hours a day) I was gripping it very tight. I ended up losing control and feeling in one of my thumbs because of the way the knife pressed against my tendons. It came back suddenly after about 6 months of not cutting cardboard with that type of knife. It wasn't extremely painful but it was very odd to have a dead thumb and I was quite happy when the feeling returned.
Not sure if my experience is the same as yours but I thought I'd share it incase it is a similar situation.
You can buy a palm nailer that may allow you to work without banging on your hands so much. They are small and fit in the palm of your hand. It is still an impact but at least the nail drives in with one shot rather than repeated banging. You might also be gripping your handle of the hammer much too tight. You should not grip as the hammer strikes but hold it loosely to avoid transfering the impact into your wrist and hand. Also consider wearing a batting glove or golf glove when you use a hammer. It won't solve the problem but the added grip and padding might be a benefit to you. The looser your hand has to grab because of the extra gripping of the glove will keep you from sending the jolts right into your hand.