If you’re experiencing wrist pain, you’re well aware it can sideline you from carrying out your daily activities, including personal care, enjoying meals, driving, and working. Worse still, those issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Trying to tough it out and failing to receive medical treatment could result in more serious complications, so how can you recognize the most common hand and wrist injuries, and what can you do to allow them to fully heal?
The 5 Most Common Hand and Wrist Injuries
The following injuries are five of the most common hand and wrist injuries.
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This type of injury is very common when a person makes constant, repetitive movements of the wrist and hands. Such repetitions cause the inside of your wrists to swell. As a result, a nerve called the median nerve gets compressed.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
Symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
- Dull pain
These symptoms become more intense when holding items. Symptoms can also be felt more often around the base of the thumb.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
The treatment options for carpal tunnel include:
- Splinting the wrist
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms
If conservative treatment does not help you heal, your doctor may recommend carpal tunnel release surgery, to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
2. Stenosing Tenosynovitis
This complicated medical term is commonly known as: “trigger finger”. You are able to move your fingers thanks to the tendons that go from the base of the fingers to the fingertips. Each tendon is covered by a sheath. These protective sheaths can become injured due to either repetitive movement or trauma (such as assembly line work or being an athlete). When these sheaths are injured, a person is unable to fully extend their finger(s).
Stenosing Tenosynovitis Symptoms
People with trigger finger experience:
- Joint stiffness
- Redness of the finger
- Joint pain
Sometimes, you can hear a clicking sound when moving the finger.
Stenosing Tenosynovitis Treatment
Treatment for stenosing tenosynovitis includes:
- Icing the injured finger
- Immobilizing it with a splint.
Your doctor may also prescribe:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Cortisone injections
- Physical therapy
Tendons are fibrous strands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. The tendons in your hand may become inflamed or experience small tears due to overuse. It may also be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Additional risk factors include working with vibrating tools and a sudden increase in hand or wrist motions.
A person suffering from tendonitis experiences:
- Dull pain
- Limited range of motion.
In addition, the skin may also feel warm to the touch.
Treating tendonitis requires rest from the activity that caused it in the first place. Additionally, icing the injury and keep it immobilized with a splint can help. In addition, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications.
The carpometacarpal (CMC) joint is located at the base of the thumb. This joint can deteriorate because of chronic overuse. However, it is also very common for the cartilage in the thumb joint to deteriorate due to osteoarthritis. This causes bone to rub against bone, resulting in pain when moving the thumb.
These signs are most often felt first thing in the morning, when waking up, and become exacerbated when trying to do anything functional with your thumbs, such as buttoning a shirt, tying your shoes, turning a doorknob, or using utensils to eat.
Cortisone injections are very common for people who have CMC. Wearing a splint will also help keep the joint immobilized until it heals. However, if the condition is caused by arthritis, surgery may be a more realistic option. This would allow a surgeon to fully reconstruct the joint.
“Fracture” is the medical term for a break in the bone. There are many different types of fractures, ranging from hairline cracks to the bones becoming misaligned. They can result from falling and landing on outstretched hands, or being involved in a car accident. People who already have weak bones (such as those with osteoporosis) are more prone to fractures.
Symptoms of Fractures
- Intense pain
- Very obvious swelling
- Skin color turning purple
- Inability to move the broken finger
If the fracture is minor, you may still be able to move the broken finger or wrist, but the range of motion will be significantly diminished. You may also feel a tingling sensation or numbness.
Treatment for Fractures
Treating fractures involves fully immobilizing the injured area. In most instances, this involves a cast. In some cases, your doctor may recommend wearing a padded splint. In the most extreme of cases, surgery may be necessary to reposition bones to their original position.