Skip to main content

Crush Injury Chronicles: Navigating the Consequences and Challenges

The old expression “…caught between a rock and a hard place…” is the perfect way to describe exactly what a crush injury is.

A crush injury occurs when a part of the body is pressed with great force between two surfaces. A crush type injury can occur to any part of the body and can lead to as little damage as a bit of redness on the skin to as severe damage as crush syndrome or death (Rajagopalan, 2010).

One of the most common areas to experience a crush are on the fingers or hands. When crush injuries occur to the hand there are several structures which can be affected. These include bones, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, muscles, tendons and skin (Lahiri, 2020). 


Understanding the damage to hand crush injuries

The Ripple Effect: Examining Secondary Injuries in Hand Crush Scenarios

Some of the most common secondary injuries observe when someone experiences a crush injury to the hand can include but are not limited to: 

  • Damage to neurovascular structures (very common)
  • Subungual hematoma (tip of the finger/ nail)
  • Bone fractures
  • Damage to muscle, tendon and ligament structures (less common)

In addition to these, the experience of crush injuries a can be very traumatic and lead to the development of PTSD and the development of chronic pain in that limb and associated structures (Shipton, 2015). 


Crush injuries to the hand can be extremely painful (due to damage to neurovascular structures) and are often left unmanaged or treated if there is no clear evidence of damaged structures i.e. breaks in the skin, tears in muscles/tendons/ligaments or fractures in bones. This can lead to reduced range of motion of the fingers/hand, weakness in grip, stiffness in joints and cramping of associated muscles (Goodman, Got, & Weiss, 2017).


Understanding the damage to hand crush injuries

Final thoughts on hand crush injuries

At Action Rehab we are experts in the management of hand injuries and will be able to guide your care after a crush injury. When under the care of Action Rehab, you will have access to our extensive network linking you in with the right specialists to give you the best possible outcome regardless of the severity of your injury. No matter where you are in your recovery journey, we will use our extensive knowledge to provide you with the most effective evidence based treatment to progress you closer to your end goal.



Goodman, A. D., Got, C. J., & Weiss, A.-P. C. (2017). Crush Injuries of the Hand. The Journal of Hand Surgery, 42(6), 456-463. doi:

Lahiri, A. (2020). Guidelines for management of crush injuries of the hand. Journal of clinical orthopaedics and trauma, 11(4), 517-522. doi:10.1016/j.jcot.2020.03.028

Rajagopalan, S. (2010). Crush Injuries and the Crush Syndrome. Med J Armed Forces India, 66(4), 317-320. doi:10.1016/s0377-1237(10)80007-3

Shipton, E. (2015). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Its Interrelationship Between Crush Injury and Pain. In (pp. 1-16).


  • Ben cunningham

    Ben Cunningham is the Hand Therapist at the Melbourne Football Club and has over 20 years’ experience providing hand and upper limb therapy, including working in the United Kingdom at the Queen Victoria Hospital and as the senior clinician at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.