We use our hands repeatedly every day so it’s not surprising that sometimes we develop pain and discomfort in our fingers, wrists and forearms. Injuries in the wrist and hand can be caused due to traumatic events (e.g. a fall on an outstretched hand) or overuse, repetitive activities (e.g. computer use, racquet sports).
The wrist and hand complex is made up of 27 bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. Damage to any of these structures can cause pain and can affect your ability to use your hands effectively.
Common wrist and hand injuries include:
· Tendon pathologies e.g. Mallet finger, De Quervain’s Disease
· Ligament injuries e.g. sprains
· Joint inflammation
· Nerve entrapments e.g. Carpal tunnel syndrome
· Arthritic conditions
· Ganglion cysts
If hand and wrist injuries are not assessed and treated properly this may lead to further impairments in the future.
Should include rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE principle) for the first 48-72 hours. Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) also have a role in early management, taken in the form of tablets and topical gels.
Your physiotherapist will go through a comprehensive assessment to determine the source of your pain. Once the source of your pain has been established the initial aim of treatment includes education and addressing acute symptoms (pain, lack of movement and loss of strength).
When indicated your physiotherapist will start to address other issues such as loading, muscle imbalances, poor posture and biomechanics.
To reduce the risk of recurring wrist and hand injuries it is important to maintain adequate strength and length of the muscles around the wrist joint.
Your physiotherapist will advise you in activities that should be avoided to decrease irritation.
Return to sport
When returning to sport it is essential that you discuss this with your physiotherapist. Your abilities will be assessed through a series of tests to determine whether you are ready to return to pre-injury activities and/or sport.