What is it?
You hand and wrist is made up of 29 bones (30 in some people!) that are supported by over 120 ligaments. There are at least 34 muscles that control your wrist and hand, some located in your hand and others in your forearm. Did you know there are no muscles in your fingers, only tendons?
Any of these structures can be injured or experience pain. Some of these injuries include fractures, ligament sprains, muscular and tendon strains, and overuse injuries like repetitive strain injury.
How is it diagnosed?
In working out exactly what the cause of your pain is we normally start with taking a detailed history about how long you’ve been experiencing your symptoms, when or how your symptoms are aggravated, and anything that you have found that eases your symptoms.
We will take a good look at how your fingers, hand, and wrist are moving. There are a number of specific tests that physios can perform hand and wrist to help to identify a structure that may be the cause of your pain.
We will also take a good look at how your whole arm and body is moving as the hand and wrist can often experience an overload of tension because of what is happening at the shoulder, neck or back.
How is it treated?
Acute muscle strains are often treated with stretching and strengthening exercises. Chronic injuries, like repetitive strain injuries, are often a little more complex so may require techniques such as soft tissue releases and dry needling in addition to exercises to help offload the affected area.
Ligament injuries are generally treated by helping to stabilise the joint/s that are affected in order to prevent further sprains and to allow healing.
Fractures are treated by stabilising the area to prevent excessive load to the affected bone, prevent pain, and allow for appropriate healing and function. This may be done with a splint, brace, or cast.
What is the prognosis?
As a general rule for muscular and tendon strains, the shorter the duration of pain and the less intensity of the pain the quicker the recovery will be. Ligament sprains can take between 6-12 weeks to recover, depending on the particular ligament injured and the severity of the injury.
Fractures of the hand and wrist can take between 6-12 weeks to heal. After healing of the fracture there is often a period where you may experience stiffness, weakness, and a lack of control of your hand and wrist. Recovery from this may take a number of weeks more.
If you’re suffering with pain, stiffness, or discomfort around your hip or groin, come and see us in the clinic today!