Hand And Wrist Arthritis
Types of arthritis that most often affect your hand and wrist include:
- Osteoarthritis: The natural aging process can wear away at the protective cartilage that allows the many bones in your hand, wrist, and elbow to move smoothly, causing inflammation, swelling, and wrist and hand pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This immune system dysfunction attacks and wears away at the cartilage lining between the small delicate bones in your hand and wrist. Rheumatoid arthritis generally affects the joints on both hands
Wrist Extension And Flexion Stretch
Use a sturdy table to do these two stretches.
With your feet firmly planted on the ground, hip distance apart, place your hands on a table, palms down, lean forward on your hands until you feel a gentle stretch and hold it for 30-seconds.
Then, place your hands on the table palms up and lean forward again until you feel a gentle stretch in your arms and hold for 30-seconds.
When To Contact A Doctor About Wrist Pain
Its important to contact a doctor if:
- wrist pain is interfering with everyday activities
- numbness or tingling is becoming worse, and there is little or no feeling in the fingers or hand
- simple hand movements are no longer possible
- weakness makes holding things difficult
Complications of wrist pain can include weakness and a decreased ability to carry out activities such as gripping objects and using a keyboard.
After a physical exam and symptom review, a doctor may also diagnose wrist pain and the underlying condition using:
- Medical imaging scans: A doctor may order imaging scans, including X-ray, CT, and MRI scans.
- Arthroscopy: This procedure involves a small cut on the wrist. A surgeon will then insert a small instrument with a tiny camera attached through the cut. This will produce images that allow medical professionals to assess and diagnose what is causing wrist pain.
- Nerve conduction studies: These measure how fast nerve impulses travel through the forearm, wrist, and hand regions.
Typically, doctors will only order invasive diagnosis techniques after rest and recovery from an injury have been unsuccessful.
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Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injury
The triangular fibrocartilage complex is a structure in the wrist located towards a persons pinky finger.
It acts as a cushion and support for the small bones. The cartilage can wear away over time or tear due to an impact injury.
Because of the location of the triangular fibrocartilage complex, a person will
Preventing Hand And Wrist Pain
There are things you can do to ward off hand and wrist pain, though. Try to keep your bones strong by getting enough calcium and vitamin D, which your body needs to use that calcium. Your doctor will have a recommendation on how much and the best way for you to work calcium and vitamin D into your diet.
Next, look at the ergonomics of how you work and live. If you’re straining, re-organize until you’re more comfortable.
Finally, make sure youre protected. Whether youre in your own home or playing your favorite sport, its important to think about safety. Make sure your shoes fit properly, there are no tripping hazards and youre wearing the appropriate protective sporting gear.
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Looking For Thumb Braces To Help Relieve Thumb Pain
Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.
What Are The Causes Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel, rather than a problem with the nerve itself. Contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture an overactive pituitary gland an underactive thyroid gland and rheumatoid arthritis. Other factors that may contribute to the compression include mechanical problems in the wrist joint, repeated use of vibrating hand tools, fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause, or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal. Often, no single cause can be identified.
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What To Do About De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Aka Mommy Thumb
By Michael Hwang, MD, orthopedics and sports medicine
Follow the outer edge of your thumb down past the knuckles to where it meets your wrist, and youll land in a spot that is a common cause of pain for many adults. This is where two tendons that run along the thumb side of the wrist pass through a narrow tunnel to connect to the base of the thumb. These tendons help you grip, grasp and pinch with your hand, but if the tunnel becomes inflamed, the tendons can become pinched and inflamed themselves. The result is a painful condition known as De Quervains tenosynovitis.
I see this condition regularly in my practice. Its most common in people aged 30-50, and especially in women, who outnumber male patients by about six to one. Those most likely to get it are people who overuse these tendons through repetitive activities, such as gardening, playing tennis, or lifting and carrying a new baby. Among new mothers, in fact, De Quervains is so common that its often referred to as mommy thumb.
Relieving the pain of De Quervains
For pain relief, bracing and anti-inflammatories are good places to start. Using topical or oral anti-inflammatories will relieve pain and inflammation, and immobilizing the wrist and thumb in a brace will give the tendons a rest. These measures may be all you need for notable improvement over the course of three to four weeks.
De Quervains Tenosynovitis Treatment
Treatment for de Quervains tenosynovitis focuses on reducing pain and swelling. It includes:
- Applying heat or ice to the affected area.
- Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug . These include ibuprofen or naproxen .
- Avoiding activities that cause pain and swelling. Especially avoid those that involve repetitive hand and wrist motions.
- Wearing a splint 24 hours a day for 4 to 6 weeks to rest your thumb and wrist.
- Getting injections of steroids or a local anesthetic into the tendon sheath. These injections are very effective and are used regularly.
A physical therapist or occupational therapist can show you how to change the way you move. This can reduce stress on your wrist. He or she can also teach you exercises to strengthen your muscles.
Most people notice improvement after 4 to 6 weeks of treatment. They are able to use their hands and wrists without pain once the swelling is gone.
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What Are Tendonitis And Tenosynovitis
Tendons are strong cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Tendonitis is when a tendon is inflamed. It can happen to any tendon in the body. When a tendon is inflamed, it can cause swelling, pain, and discomfort. Another problem called tenosynovitis is linked to tendonitis. This is the inflammation of the lining of the tendon sheath around a tendon. Usually, the sheath itself is inflamed, but both the sheath and the tendon can be inflamed at the same time.
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Treatment And Prevention Of Wrist Pain
Treatment for wrist pain depends on the cause of the pain and its severity. Options include:
- Home treatment: Often, simply resting the wrist as much as possible to allow it time to heal is effective. Doctors may also recommend pain-relieving medication and ice to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Splints: In some cases, wearing a wrist splint can help. Splinting may prevent certain wrist movements that cause irritation. A splint might also reduce the squeezing of the nerve.
- Exercises: Wrist exercises may help to manage wrist pain, depending on the type of pain. Certain exercises can stretch and lengthen muscles and tendons.
- Additional treatment: Corticosteroid injections, which decrease inflammation and reduce pain, can be effective in treating wrist pain.
- Surgery: The type of surgery a doctor may recommend will depend on the cause of the pain.
In some instances, doctors may recommend a person undertake physiotherapy as part of ongoing treatment.
Small lifestyle alterations may reduce a persons chances of developing wrist pain. These include:
- using proper posture when sitting at a workstation and keeping the wrists in a relaxed position
- considering a wrist-friendly keyboard, if a person spends long hours at the keyboard
- learning how to use hand tools properly, placing less stress on the hands and wrists
- taking regular breaks from using a keyboard
- using wrist guards to prevent injuries when participating in sports, such as skateboarding, snowboarding, and rollerblading
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Symptoms Of De Quervain’s Tendonitis
Tendons normally slide through a flexible tunnel, called a sheath, to connect and support the thumb. When the tendons swell or the sheath thickens because of pressure or inflammation, you may notice that your the inside of your wrist or your thumb hurts. This condition may happen because of repetitive activities like playing racket sports or golf, engaging in handicrafts, or lifting children.
Wrist Pain On Thumb Side
De Quervains Tendinosis
De Quervains tendinosis takes place when the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated or restricted. The word tendinosis refers to a swelling of the tendons. Swelling of the tendons, and the tendon sheath, can cause pain and inflammation along the thumb side of the wrist. This is particularly visible when forming a fist, understanding or gripping something, or when turning the wrist.
Two of the primary tendons to the thumb travel through a tunnel located on the thumb side of the wrist. Tendons are rope-like structures that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are covered by a slippery thin soft-tissue layer, called synovium. This layer allows the tendons to move quickly through a fibrous tunnel called a sheath.
Any swelling of the tendons and/or thickening of the sheath, leads to increased friction and pain with particular thumb and wrist motions.
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What To Do About Pain Between The Thumb And Index Finger
When you experience pain in one or both of your hands, then you know just how much even the smallest pain can affect how you move throughout your day. Our hands are involved in so much of what we do every hour of every day. If you notice pain getting worse or that wont go away, you might want to talk to your doctor or a hand surgeon to find out if anything is going on inside your hand that may cause you more problems down the line.
Muscle Or Tendon Strain
A muscle or tendon can overstretch or tear if you engage in excessive amounts of physical activity or if you put too much stress on a body part or muscle during exercise. This is known as a strain, or a pulled muscle, and it can cause pain and difficulty in moving the injured muscle. It may also cause swelling or bruised skin. Muscle strains are common among musicians, who make repetitive movements with their hands and fingers while playing an instrument, and people who start a new exercise routine without warming up properly.
A strain is different from a sprain, in which a ligamenttissue that connects two bonesstretches or tears.
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Diagnosis Of Pain In Wrist And Thumb
A detailed clinical history and clinical examination can help in identifying the problem and probable causes of pain in wrist and thumb. Enquiry and evaluation of pain around the wrists and thumb, swelling, difference in sensation like burning or tingling and presence of any weakness are important. Investigations like X-rays and scans may be ordered depending on the possible causes and to rule out certain conditions, injuries or fractures. Blood investigations may be done if infection or autoimmune disorders are suspected.
What Are The Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
These are the most common symptoms:
Weakness when gripping objects with one or both hands
Pain or numbness in one or both hands
“Pins and needles” feeling in the fingers
Swollen feeling in the fingers
Burning or tingling in the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers
Pain or numbness that is worse at night, interrupting sleep
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may be similar to other medical conditions or problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | FAQ with Dr. Sophia Strike
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Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.
Treatment For De Quervains Thumb And Wrist Pain Without Surgery
You may be able to recover from De Quervains tenosynovitis with home treatment. Changing your activity, resting the sore thumb joint, and treating thumb tendonitis with anti-inflammatory medications and heat or ice can improve the pain in a few weeks.
Depending on your injury, you may need additional treatment like:
- Splints: A special splint called a thumb spica splint can support your wrist and thumb so they can heal.
- Pain management: We use non-narcotic medications and integrative care like acupuncture to manage pain so you can heal. Find out more about orthopedic pain we treat.
- Steroid injections: Injected medications can deliver pain relief or lubrication directly to the inflamed area. Learn more about injections for joint pain.
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When To See A Doctor
You should seek medical help immediately if you believe you have broken a bone in your thumb, your wrist, or any part of your hand. If you cannot move your thumb, or if it appears crooked after an injury, you should also seek emergency care.
If your symptoms are recurrent pain in your joints, knuckles, and wrist, you may have an underlying condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome or basal joint arthritis.
If you have joint pain that limits your daily activities, notice a decrease in your joint mobility, have trouble gripping objects, or live with pain that spikes each morning when you get out of bed, see your doctor to talk about your symptoms.
When To Go To The Er Or Urgent Care
Seek medical care at the emergency room or an urgent care center if:
- you think you have a broken bone in your wrist or hand or there is a visible deformity
- you have an open wound that needs immediate treatment
- you are in severe pain or
- the area is warm, red, or tender, or you have a fever of over 100° F/ 37.8° C .
Delaying treatment could cause permanent damage to and around your wrist or hand.
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My Thumb Hurts Whats Wrong
Thumbs are awesome! So awesome in fact that most of the time we take them for granted. That is until your thumb starts to hurt. When you have thumb joint pain, you realize just how much you use it. Pain in your thumb can be caused by several health conditions. If you find yourself saying, my thumb hurts whats wrong, you may have one of the 4 common causes of thumb pain 1. CMC Thumb Arthritis, 2. de Quervains Tenosynovitis, 3. Gamekeepers or Skiers Thumb, or 4. Trigger Thumb.
Keeping Your Hands And Wrists Moving
Moving your hands, wrists and fingers as much as possible can help ease pain and stiffness. This will also maintain range of movement, function and strength.
We have some exercises you can do at home. Try to do them as regularly as you can, especially if your hands and wrists are feeling stiff.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, talk to a physiotherapist, GP or hand therapist for specific advice on exercise.
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How Can I Prevent Wrist Pain
Certain repetitive movements can bring on wrist pain or make it hurt more. Most of us spend a lot of time typing. You can change your desk set up to relieve irritation of your wrists and their surrounding tendons. These steps can help prevent wrist pain:
- Lower your keyboard so that your wrists dont bend upward when you type.
- Take periodic breaks from typing and rest your hands.
- Use a wrist rest with your keyboard, mouse and trackpad.
- Alternate your mouse hand or train yourself to use a mouse with your nondominant hand.
What You Need To Know
- Carpal tunnel release is one of the most common hand conditions requiring surgery.
- Symptoms may include tingling, pain, numbness or weakness in the thumb through ring fingers of the affected hand.
- Women get carpal tunnel syndrome three times more often than men.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that can worsen without proper care.
- Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often occur during pregnancy and can be alleviated with nonsurgical treatments. Symptoms often improve after delivery, but such patients are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome later in life.
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