Having a wrist injury prevents you from doing so many things: Brushing your teeth, bathing, getting dressed, preparing meals, driving, using the restroom, performing work duties… Every day, people are sidelined because of damaged bones or tendons in their wrists.
The 6 Most Common Hand & Wrist Injuries
What are the most common hand and wrist injuries? How can you learn to recognize them?
1. Trigger Finger
Every one of your fingers has tendons connecting muscle to bone from the base of the finger to the fingertips. Each of those tendons is covered by a protective sheath called synovium, which releases synovial fluid to keep the tendons lubricated. If a tendon in your finger is injured, the synovium will not provide enough fluid. As a result, the tendon will become inflamed, interfering with the ability to fully extend the finger. This is called Stenosing Tenosynovitis, more popularly known as “trigger finger.” Symptoms include pain at the base of the finger and a clicking sensation when you try to move it.
2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The muscles in your wrist and hand are controlled by nerves that run the length of your arm. On the inside of your arm, there’s a nerve called the median nerve that controls the movement of your fingers. If you do the same, repetitive hand and finger movements all day at work (or if you have a hobby that requires repetitive motion), the inside of your wrist may swell, causing the median nerve to compress. This is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. As a result, you’ll feel a tingling sensation in your fingers, and pain when trying to grasp items.
3. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Tingling fingers are not only the result of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In addition to the median nerve, there’s another nerve that travels from the neck, down the length of your arm, to your wrist and hand. This nerve is located closer to the inside of the elbow and is called the ulnar nerve. If you work with vibrating tools or lean on your elbows regularly, the ulnar nerve may become compressed, causing a tingling sensation in the fingers, or numbness in the hands. This is called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.
Fracture is the medical term for a broken bone. While some fractures are obvious, some are less noticeable because they can be as thin as a strand of hair, and some are not caused by a hard blow or accident but are the result of repetitive movements (these are known as stress fractures). However, even the smallest fracture can cause pain, swelling, and bruising. If you have a stress fracture, you’ll feel pain during activity, but it will subside when at rest. However, you should seek medical attention, to avoid complications, such as bone spurs.
5. Carpometacarpal Injury
The carpometacarpal joints are where the wrist connects to the hand. Chronic overuse or trauma can cause the cartilage in the joints to wear down, resulting in pain when you move the fingers, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms tend to be mild when you first wake up in the morning and worsen as you carry out activities of daily living.
Remember when we mentioned that all of your fingers have tendons in them? The same goes for every section of your wrist and hand. Overusing the same muscle groups and certain medical conditions (such as lupus or diabetes) can cause the tendons to become inflamed, resulting in pain, weakness in the hand, and skin that feels warm to the touch. This condition is known as tendonitis. It’s common for people who do assembly line work, and for gardeners, and musicians to experience tendonitis in their fingers.
Some of these conditions can be treated conservatively with rest, icing the injury, and keeping the hand and wrist elevated. In other instances, the patient may need anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injections to alleviate the pain. In some circumstances, surgery may be necessary.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re experiencing hand or wrist pain, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love. Should surgery be necessary, our surgeons are experienced in minimally invasive procedures.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.