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Our Hands are Required for Nearly Every Movement

carpal tunnel tennis elbow

Think about how many times a day you use your hands. Our hands are required for nearly every movement.  Our upper extremities impact our ability to type on our computer keyboard, hold our morning cup of coffee, grip the steering wheel while driving and our phone while talking to a family member as well as other fine motor tasks.

Some of the most common issues of the elbow, wrist and hand are:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel Syndrome (inflammation that results in the compression on the nerve that runs through the center of the forearm to the palm of the hand).
  • De Quervain’s tendonitis (inflammation of two of the tendons that control the thumb).
  • Wrist fractures

So what can cause 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: Again, 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: Again, this is 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.

Physical Therapy can help.  Physical therapists often treat issues in your upper extremities.  It’s important to make sure you address any pain or discomfort in your arms, wrists, and hands sooner rather than later to help you avoid any further unnecessary pain and discomfort.  It will be easier to treat and address your symptoms as well.  If not treated early on, the pain and functional deficits can worsen and cause even more damage to the tissues involved preventing you from being able to join your friends in the weekend tennis match, carry your shopping bags, and talk with friends and family on the phone without any more pain and discomfort.  Waiting to address your symptoms makes recovery slower and more difficult.

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we will schedule you for a full evaluation with a 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 Loudoun Sports Therapy TODAY at 703-450-4300.

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

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