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Dorsal Interossei Hand Injury Treatment | 2024

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Dorsal Interossei Hand Injury Treatment

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Injuries to the hand can significantly impact daily activities, particularly when they involve the dorsal interossei muscles. These muscles, located between the metacarpal bones of your hand, play a crucial role in hand movement and dexterity. Understanding the nature of dorsal interossei hand injury treatment options is essential for a swift and effective recovery.

Discover and understand the effective dorsal interossei hand injury treatments, including rest, ice, physical therapy, and more. Learn how to manage pain and restore hand function.

What Are the Dorsal Interossei Muscles?

The dorsal interossei muscles are a group of four muscles located in the back of the hand. They are responsible for:

  • Abducting (spreading) the fingers away from the middle finger.
  • Assisting with finger flexion at the metacarpophalangeal joints.
  • Assisting with finger extension at the interphalangeal joints.

Due to their location and function, these muscles are susceptible to injuries from overuse, trauma, or certain medical conditions.

Common Causes of Dorsal Interossei Muscle Injury

  1. Trauma: Direct impact or injury to the hand, such as from sports or accidents.
  2. Repetitive Strain: Overuse from activities requiring repetitive hand movements, such as typing or playing musical instruments.
  3. Medical Conditions: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can weaken these muscles, making them more prone to injury.

Symptoms of Dorsal Interossei Muscle Injury

  • Pain: Discomfort or pain on the back of the hand, especially between the metacarpal bones.
  • Swelling: Visible swelling in the hand.
  • Weakness: Difficulty in spreading the fingers or performing fine motor tasks.
  • Tenderness: Pain when pressing on the affected area.
  • Limited Mobility: Reduced ability to move the fingers, particularly in spreading them apart.
Dorsal Interossei atrophy


A proper diagnosis is essential for effective dorsal interossei hand injury treatment. Your healthcare provider will:

  1. Take Medical History: Discuss your symptoms and any recent activities that may have caused the injury.
  2. Perform Physical Examination: Examine the hand for signs of swelling, tenderness, and weakness.
  3. Imaging Tests: In some cases, X-rays, MRI, or ultrasound may be required to rule out other conditions and confirm the diagnosis.

Dorsal Interossei Hand Injury Treatments Options

Dorsal interossei hand injury treatment aims to reduce pain, restore function, and prevent further injury. Common treatments include:

Conservative Treatments

  1. Rest: Allow your hand to rest and avoid activities that worsen the pain.
  2. Ice: Apply ice packs to the affected area to reduce swelling and pain. Use for 15-20 minutes every few hours during the first 48 hours.
  3. Compression: Use a compression bandage to help reduce swelling.
  4. Elevation: Keep your hand elevated above heart level to reduce swelling.
  5. Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage pain and inflammation.
  6. Splinting: Wearing a splint can immobilize the hand and allow the muscles to heal.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help restore strength and mobility. A therapist will guide you through exercises designed to:

  • Improve flexibility and range of motion of the hand joints.
  • Strengthen the hand muscles.
  • Gradually return to normal activities.

You can warm your hand prior to exercising by soaking them in warm water for a few minutes. You can also use a heat pad. These exercises help to increase the range of motion of your fingers and increase flexibility after dorsal interossei hand injury:

  • Finger stretch: Place your hand on a flat surface, with palms facing down. Slowly straighten the fingers as much as you can without straining your joints. Hold for a minute and then release. Repeat five times for each hand.
  • Finger Lift: Place your hand on a flat surface, with palms facing down and fingers straight. Lift each finger up slowly and lower it. You can also lift all fingers simultaneously and lower them. Repeat ten times for each hand.
Dorsal Interossei Hand Injury Treatment & excercise
Dorsal Interossei Hand Injury Treatment With Excercises

Invasive Treatments

In severe cases where conservative dorsal interossei hand injury treatments are ineffective, your doctor may consider:

  1. Corticosteroid Injections: To reduce severe inflammation and pain.
  2. Surgery: In rare cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair severe muscle damage or correct underlying issues, it may include tendon / muscle transfer to restore the function of the hand.

Prevention Tips

Preventing dorsal interossei muscle injuries involves:

  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Ensure your workspace and tools are ergonomically designed to reduce strain on your hands.
  • Warm-Up Exercises: Perform hand and finger stretches before engaging in repetitive activities.
  • Regular Breaks: Take frequent breaks during activities that involve repetitive hand movements.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Regularly perform hand strengthening exercises to maintain muscle health.

When to See a Doctor?

If you experience severe pain, persistent swelling, or difficulty moving your fingers, seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and ensure a faster recovery.

With proper dorsal interossei hand injury treatment and care, most individuals can achieve a full recovery. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options empowers you to take an active role in your recovery and maintain healthy hand function. Always consult with your healthcare provider for a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

For more information and personalized advice, contact your healthcare provider or a physical therapist specializing in hand injuries.

References & More

  1. PhysioPedia – Dorsal Interossei of the Hand
  2. Valenzuela M, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Hand Dorsal Interossei Muscle. [Updated 2023 Jul 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: Pubmed
  3. REHABMyPatient – Dorsal Interossei of the hand
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