Preventing Overuse Injuries of the Hand, Wrist or Elbow

January 1, 1970 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

Overuse injuries are one of the most common causes of pain and discomfort in the hand, wrist and elbow. This is primarily due to the repetitive motion related to sports, work or even some hobbies.

According to Dr. Edward Jernigan, a Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic hand, wrist and elbow specialist, the repetitive motions such as typing at a computer all day or repeatedly swinging a tennis racket can have some serious consequences.

“Irritation of tendons is a common cause of disability in the upper extremity,” said Dr. Jernigan. “The discomfort can be secondary to mechanical stenosis or entrapment, or can be secondary to other medical comorbidities, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Occasionally, infections can also lead to tendon-related pain and discomfort.”

Most common hand, wrist and elbow overuse injuries (repetitive strain injuries)

Elbow overuse injuries
• Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
Baseball injuries (distal biceps tendon injuries)

Wrist overuse injuries
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
Carpal tunnel syndrome

Hand pain from overuse
Trigger finger / trigger thumb
• Ganglion cyst

Preventing overuse injuries to the hand, wrist and elbow

“Symptoms from tendonitis can be very mild and transient,” said Dr. Jernigan. “However occasionally tendonitis can lead to debilitating symptoms. First steps in treatment generally involved activity modification, bracing, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (aka NSAIDs, if not medically contraindicated), and use of ice or heat.”

Usually overuse injuries will heal on their own, however, if symptoms persist or worsen, make an appointment with a hand surgeon to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan.

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