Vibration White Finger is caused by exposure of the hands to severe vibration from hand held equipment. The condition involves neurological and vascular damage to the nerves and arteries. The condition is progressive and in serious cases, tissue can become necrotic, causing amputations.
Vibration White Finger is preventable but once the damage is done, it is permanent and it is estimated that nearly 2 million people inthe UK are at risk of developing HAVS or as its better known, Vibration White Finger.
As Vibration White Finger is a repetitive stress injury caused by exposure of the hands to vibrating equipment, the cause should be easy to determine. Vibration White Finger is quite often found in people whose occupation involves their hands being exposed to vibration. The most common cause is through contact with vibrating tools such as:
- Hammers and jigger picks
- Vibrating pokers
- Vibratory compactors
- Concrete breakers
- Sanders and angle grinders
- Hammer drills and jigsaws
There is no effective treatment; prevention is the only cure. The results of using these tools over long periods of time whilst not life threatening can result in extreme pain, inability to do simple tasks like picking up coins or fastening buttons, the inability to do fine work and painful finger blanching. Symptoms can include a tingling sensation and numbness, or whiteness of parts of the fingers. With continued exposure to vibration, these symptoms may become more severe, particularly in cold weather.
Vibration white finger (or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome) affects different people in different ways depending upon a number of factors including amount of vibration exposure, temperature of the working environment and any pre-existing conditions the sufferer may have.