How to alleviate pain and reduce overuse injuries in your hand, wrist and elbow
Pain in the hand, wrist and elbow are often related to overuse injuries (also known as repetitive use injuries). Overuse injuries are injuries to bones, muscles and tendons are caused by repetitive trauma or strain. It may not hurt at the time but after a while movements such as lifting, twisting, pulling, pushing, repetitive vibrations can cause microtrauma in the tissue. If these microtraumas are not given enough time to heal before loading the hand/wrist/elbow again, you can develop problems such as tendinopathies (for example tennis elbow or golfers elbow), carpal tunnel syndrome, DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis and Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex injury.
Am I at risk of getting an overuse injury?
Professions that require repetitive lifting and movements of the hands, wrist and elbow are more prone to developing overuse injuries. For example:
- Office workers who spend a lot of time typing
- Tradesmen – particularly if using tools that vibrate or require twisting motions
- Factory workers
Sports that require repetitive throwing, bowling, hitting and batting will generally be more prone to developing these injuries. For example:
- Weights training
What are the common symptoms?
- Forearm pain- is experience between the elbow and wrist. It may be present with everyday activities such as lifting shopping bags, shaking hands, pushing/pulling open doors, gripping, throwing and batting.
- Wrist and hand pain- may be experienced when bending wrist back and forwards, rotating wrist side to side, lifting, holding a pen, typing, gripping and twisting.
- Numbness and pins and needles into forearm, wrist and hand
- Weakness in grip
How can physiotherapy help with hand, wrist and elbow overuse injuries?
- Your Physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment and physical examination of your hand, wrist and elbow to determine the exact diagnosis and cause of your injury
- Manual therapy techniques such as muscle releases, dry needling and joint mobilisation will be used to relieve symptoms and restore normal biomechanics around the affected area
- Advice about activity modification, manual handling techniques, equipment changes and postural adjustments will be given based on your individual circumstances
- In some cases a brace or splint may be prescribe to support the injured area
- Exercises will be given to restore normal movement and strengthen the muscles and tendons
- Your Physiotherapist will work with you to create a return to work and return to sport program as you come back from injury