Hooked in the Hand?

With the heat of the summer now upon us, we find ourselves performing our favorite outdoor recreational activities. Very simply, the better the weather, the more active we are! With this increased activity, our hand therapists see an increase in the number of simple accidents that occur. Runners trip and fall, bike riders crash, and fisherman hook into more than just fish. Fishing is a favorite summer hobby for people of all ages. Whether you are fishing a favorite metro lake or on the trip of a lifetime, anglers casting lines into open waters are bound to encounter a fish hook in a place it is not supposed to be. Most commonly, this is the hand. Getting stuck with a fishing hook is far more common than you think and can lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

Should I Remove a Fish Hook Myself?

As a common rule, we advise that you do not try to remove hooks from a hand. Hooks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations (barbs) that can make a simple-looking injury much more troublesome. Hands are filled with vessels, small nerves, and tendons. Deep and penetrating hook injuries can very easily involve many of these structures, so you could potentially make the situation much worse. For hooks that are deeply embedded in the hand, follow these simple rules and seek medical attention:

  1. Remain calm and/or calm the person who is hooked.
  2. Immediately stabilize the hand and remove it from the situation. Often fish can be attached to lures, there may be tension on the fishing line, or there are multiple hooks in play that can complicate the issue.
  3. If possible, cut the hook from the fishing lure/line while leaving as much of the hook exposed as possible in the skin.
  4. For deeply embedded hooks, it’s best to simply cover the remaining hook in the hand, keep it clear of infectious agents, and seek medical attention.

For smaller-sized fishing hooks or for injures where the hook appears to be very superficially embedded, there is a proven technique for self-removal. The most common technique is the “stream” technique or the “string-yank” technique, which can be viewed online or you can also Google step-by-step instructions.

Watch for Infection

After you remove the fish hook, it is important to monitor the site for infection. Should you have any of the following symptoms, see a medical professional as soon as possible to avoid further infection:

  • Redness around the wound/hook site.
  • Persistent drainage from the wound that is discolored.
  • Fever or nausea.
  • An increase in severe and burning pain at the wound site.

OrthoNebraska has two urgent care locations to assist you this summer for your immediate injury needs. With a strong team of hand surgeons and Certified Hand Therapists, we can assure you that you will be back on the water in no time.

Journey On. Schedule an Appointment Today

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