Injuries to the hand and wrist represent nearly 20% of all presenting complaints in collegiate and professional athletes. Despite this prevalence, the majority of sports medicine fellowships do not have a specific curriculum with which to address these injuries. Referrals to hand surgeons can result in a delay in treatment and early return to competition, which can have a detrimental effect on both the athlete and the organization. This issue of Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review provides a comprehensive guide to evaluating hand and wrist injuries for all members of the medical staff responsible for the care of our athletes both on and off the field.
The authors of the individual chapters have attempted to provide specific recommendations regarding the questions that directly impact the care of the athlete charged with return to a highly competitive and physically demanding sport. Each chapter examines the effects of immediate treatment versus delayed treatment, the decision of when to splint, when to cast, and when early operative management is indicated.
We thank all of our authors who have generously contributed to this issue. Their efforts have created a unique volume that will be invaluable to all those who contribute to the care of our athletes, both amateur and professional.
Louis C. Almekinders, MD
North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic, Durham, NC