Hand Burns

Our hands (as well as the rest of the body) are susceptible to burns as we interact with different objects. Hand burns occur when the skin in the hands is injured due to the exposure to heat, cold, friction, electricity, chemicals or radiation. Burns are graded based on the body surface area size as well as the depth of the tissues involved.

After a burn injury is sustained, there is inflammation and healing which often involves scarring (insert link to scar info page). It is important to make sure the healing burn is moist and free from bacteria.

  1. Burn first aid – should you burn yourself follow these steps
  2. Remove source of burn
  3. Remove clothing from affected area
  4. Run cool/tepid water over the burn, until the burning sensation has stopped (this may take hours rather than minutes) NB running water is essential as the water as it moves will take the heat away preventing further burning
    Seek medical help (Hospital/GP/Hand Therapist)
    DO NOT APPLY ICE – this can cause a secondary burn
    DO NOT APPLY CREAMS/LOTIONS/OILS – this can cause heat to be trapped inside and the burn may continue to burn

Common Symptoms:

  • Redness and swelling in the affected area
  • Loss of skin colour
  • Loss of skin
  • Pain in the affected area
  • Loss of sensation in the area
  • Tightness in the hand, wrist and/or fingers
  • Dehydration of skin

Potential Causes:

  • Direct or indirect contact with heat, cold, friction, electricity, chemicals or radiation


Subjective assessment: We will ask you about your hand and wrist injury, how and when it is limiting you, your daily activities and preferred sports, your general health and other potential factors that may contribute to your concerns. We will also ask you what activities you enjoy and what your goal is.

Objective assessment: We will look at your hand and palpate around the area. We will look at your hand and wrist movement and your grip strength. We will look at the rest of your body including your elbow, shoulder, neck and core to see if they are contributing to your condition.  We may perform special tests to pinpoint where your limitations may be coming from.


  • Education regarding your symptoms and how to manage/reduce them
  • Wound care
  • Custom made thermoplastic or neoprene splint, casting if needed
  • Activity modification
  • Scare care when the burns heal including silicone therapy
  • Pressure therapy with compression (custom made, off the shelf and made to measure)
  • Home exercise program including stretching, movement and strengthening exercises when appropriate


From the moment we meet you, we are planning an individualised and holistic approach to help you reach your goal and be your best!

Rehabilitate, Educate, Innovate.

Providing excellence in physiotherapy from assessment to diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation