Treatment of the wrist will focus on your specific problem and will consist of:
- A pain relief program and patient education on the wrist (including its anatomy, risk factors for pain, and ways to manage pain in the short term at home)
- Development of home treatment program to speed recovery
- Manual therapy (massage and hands-on stretching) to normalize range of motion and muscle tone
- Exercise to improve movement and strength
Some common conditions of the wrist:
Carpal tunnel syndrome: is compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel (the space between the surrounding connective tissue and the carpal bones on the palm side of the forearm). Often it is a chronic overuse injury and develops over the period of months or years. Carpal tunnel syndrome is typically caused by repetitive tasks involving the hand and wrist. Typing with the wrists resting on hard surfaces with poor ergonomics can result in this problem.
Symptoms may include:
- Pain, tingling, and in severe cares, numbness of the thumb, index, middle, and ½ of the ring finger of the affected hand
- Loss of grip strength and coordination (loss of dexterity)
- As the problem progresses, atrophy (visible weakening) of the muscles in the hand may occur
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: describes the condition where the tendons of the muscles that lift the thumb become inflamed. This can occur with overuse of the thumb/hand, or compression along the thumb-side of the wrist.
Symptoms may include:
- pain along the wrist and thumb that increases with use
- stiffness of the thumb and a sharp pain with opposition of the thumb (touching the thumb to the palm/pinky finger of same hand).
Fracture of the wrist/forearm: typically occurs with trauma and can affect any one (or more) of the bones in this area. The most common causes are FOOSHs (Falls On Out-Stretched Hand) and compression injuries (an object falling on/compression these bones). Often fractures require casting/splinting and/or surgical intervention to stabilize the bones while they heal. Once the fracture has mended, the Orthopedist may prescribe physical therapy to regain the lost motion and improve strength in this area.