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We Don’t Have to Live With Hand, Wrist, or Elbow Pain

Hand, wrist, and elbow injuries are common among the population and have probably affected everyone at one point or another. Some of the most common issues we may have or will experience throughout the elbow, wrist and hand include:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel
  • De Quervain’s tendonitis
  • Wrist fractures

So what can causes these various conditions and what symptoms come with them? 

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis): People with this condition usually complain of pain of the outer aspect of the elbow. It can be especially painful when gripping or lifting things. Despite the name for this pain, often times it is caused by activities other than tennis. Rarely is there one particular injury or incident that causes this pain. More than likely, repetitive activity or overuse of the muscles that lift the wrist up is the primary cause for tennis elbow.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is the result of the compression of a nerve as it goes through the wrist. This compression can occur as a result repetitive hand/wrist use, inflammation at the wrist, swelling, altered wrist shape or mobility after trauma to the wrist and sometimes it just comes on for unknown reasons. The compressed nerve will produce symptoms of pain, tingling and/or numbness in the hand, thumb, index and middle fingers. There may also be weakness in the hand and thumb. People with carpal tunnel syndrome often complain of clumsiness of their hands, difficulty gripping and they more frequently drop things.

De Quervain’s tendonitis: This is an inflammation of two of the tendons that control the thumb. The result is pain along the base of the back side of the thumb and along the thumb side of the wrist. There may also be swelling along these areas. This is also a condition caused by repetitive movements and overuse such as texting and typing on a handheld device and even bottle-feeding babies.

Wrist fractures: These are also a very common occurrence usually due to a fall on a outstretched hand.  Immediately following a fracture, the wrist is usually immobilized for a period of time.  Swelling, pain, stiffness and weakness are common symptoms after a fracture whether treated conservatively with immobilization or treated surgically with plates and screws.

Let physical therapy give you a helping hand with your elbow, wrist or hand issue. Physical therapy is not just about addressing issues in the lower body. Physical therapists can also treat issues in your upper extremities that impact your ability to type, hold, grip, squeeze and perform other fine motor tasks. Think about how many times a day you use your hands. Your hands are required for nearly every movement so it’s important to make sure you address any pain or discomfort in your arms sooner than later.

If you have had any of these pains or issues, physical therapy can help you. The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to treat and address your symptoms. If not treated early on, the pain and functional deficits can worsen and cause even more damage to the tissues involved. This makes recovery slower and more difficult.

By Rachel Herrmann, DPT

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we will schedule you for a full evaluation with one of our expert physical therapist. During that evaluation, you will learn more specifically about what factors are contributing to your symptoms; how to manage the pain, inflammation and swelling; what activities to avoid or modify; and how to go about treating your condition in order to help you regain your normal hand and arm use. Call our office TODAY at 703-450-4300 and find out how we can address your hand, wrist and elbow discomfort.

For more information on how to address stiffness in your joints, CLICK HERE for a short video. 

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