Summary: Enduring his third hand injury in as many months UFC MMA fighter Ian McCall underwent hand surgery to fix a lingering ailment. What he went through isn’t altogether different from someone who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. Because the hand is essentially a fragile ball of ligaments, nerves and tendons, damage must often be repaired surgically, even if it doesn’t feel like it at first.


A Demanding Profession

The MMA can be a thoroughly demanding arena of competition. It’s like boxing without gloves and with kicking. Those involved need to be in pique physical condition, not just for matches, but also for training. In the last month, UFC flyweight contender Ian McCall underwent hand surgery. He’s no stranger to such procedures, as he’s been plagued by hand injuries (it’s his third such surgery in the last year). For McCall, the surgery makes sense.

It turned out, his hand couldn’t close properly. This shouldn’t be surprising, as he broke the hand a year ago, and it never healed properly. McCall reported that his finger never got back to normal, and the lingering pain impacted how hard he could hit and how well he could train. The fact that he hits with his hands, employing them—essentially—as weapons, makes them incredibly important to McCall’s career. So he had them surgically repaired.

It Can Happen to You

As it turns out, this isn’t entirely uncommon. And I’m not just talking about for MMA fighters. What I mean is that having a hand surgically repaired is required by a number of injuries.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrom—This syndrome must be repaired via surgery because the nerves and tendons that travel through the carpal tunnel become inflamed and swollen. In the case of this surgery, the tendons are cut, releasing the pressure, and, hopefully allowing you to get back to normal. Sometimes this procedure is performed by making a long incision along the hand. Others, such as Houston hand surgeon Dr. Charles Polsen, prefers and endoscopic approach, meaning that the procedure is much less invasive.
  • Fractures—The bones in the hand can be pretty fragile, so when they break, they often break in harsh, nonclean ways. This means that it can often be difficult for your body to recover naturally. Surgeons, therefore, have to place pins and plates into the hand in order to ensure the bones heal properly.
  • Trigger Finger—It sounds like carpal tunnel syndrome for firearms enthusiasts, but trigger finger is actually finger damage that locks one of the fingers into a flexed position. The surgical remedy for this is an opening of the tunnel that the tendons travel through, therefore allowing those tendons to flex more normally.

Take Care of Your Hands

There are many other ailments that can strike at our hands, and often we don’t realize how much we use all those digits until doing so causes us pain. So if your hand is giving you trouble, talk to your hand surgeon as soon as possible, and get back to handling life normally.