Elbow, Wrist, and Hand Pain Relief
Six Conditions That Could Be The Cause of Your Elbow, Wrist, or Hand Pain
You Don’t Have To Deal With Your Pain Alone. Let us Help You get Relief and Recovery from Your Pain.
Think about your typical morning. You get out of bed, brush your teeth, shower, get dressed, make breakfast, and complete your commute to work or head to the courts and work on your tennis swing. All within two hours. How many times do you think you’ve already used your elbows, wrists, and hands by this point? If you’re experiencing pain in any of these areas, you are reminded how much we rely on our arms and hands for even the simplest of tasks, and how disabling pain here can be.
It doesn’t matter if you’re experiencing pain due to an injury, ailment, or some other underlying condition, it can greatly impact your quality of life. Fortunately, you can find relief or even experience a full recovery by working with a licensed Portland, OR physical therapist at Rose City Physical Therapy.
Why does my wrist, elbow, or hand hurt?
Here are a few of the most common conditions that may be the underlying cause of the pain you are feeling in your elbow, wrist or hand:
Arthritis: Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis is a very common condition that affects approximately 53 million Americans. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it is the most common form of disability in the United States. There are many different types of arthritis, the two most common that can affect our joints are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects the finger joints and can become quite debilitating. It is an autoimmune process and not one of injury, that erodes the inner lining of the capsule that surrounds each of our joints.
Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear on our joints cartilage – the smooth hard surface that allows one bone to roll and glide on the adjacent bone. Is it commonly related to a past injury, or repetitive motion inactivity that over time stresses the joint(s) and begins to erode the cartilage in the joints of the elbow, wrist, or hand. Physical therapy helps to improve joint motion, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the surrounding supportive muscles to reduce load on the joint(s) and improve one’s function and comfort.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are related to injury to soft tissue in the body. Specifically, a sprain affects the ligaments which are leather-like straps that connect one bone to another and provide stability and support, as well as allow appropriate normal motion and prevent excessive motion. However, if the force or direction of load is excessive, a ligament can become sprained. Sprains are classified as three different degrees and are based on the amount of injury and laxity (looseness) that results due to the damage to the ligament. A ligament can be fully torn – a ‘grade III’ sprain – and require surgery and thereafter post-surgical rehab to restore function.
Strains occur to the muscle or the tendon that attaches a muscle to bone. These injuries can be due to a single heavy demand on a muscle such as doing a heavy set of barbell curls and straining, or tearing, the bicep muscle or tendon. Or, and more often, due to overuse and overload repetitive injury. Like sprains, strains are also classified by three levels or degrees of tissue damage, and a full tear or rupture of a muscle or tendon is a grade III lesion.
Strains and sprains to the elbow, wrist, or hand can result in immense pain, and get in the way of your everyday activities. Physical therapy for sprains and strains is one of the most common problems we treat and can prove to be very effective in getting you back to normal activity.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a nerve compression at the inside of the elbow by the funny bone that damages the ulnar nerve. Damage to this nerve can lead to elbow, wrist and hand pain, tingling and weakness in a specific defined pattern. It is often caused by repetitive pressure on the ulnar nerve, which is located inside of the elbow, which is also referred to as your “funny bone,” although there’s nothing funny about hitting it! When pressure is put on the cubital tunnel and the ulnar nerve located in the tunnel, a neuritis can occur that can cause pain, numbness and tingling, and weakness at the wrist and into the ring and pinky fingers.
Olecranon (Elbow) Bursitis
There is a fluid-filled sac at the bony point on the back of the elbow called the olecranon bursa. This bursa serves as a cushion to the elbow bone, or “ulna” and if someone bumps the elbow just right an enlargement of this busa occurs. It can literally be the size of an orange. It can be very painful in the early stages. Interestingly, a chronic elbow bursa often becomes pain free but may still be quite enlarged and remain that way for a long time, without any effect on use of the arm or elbow.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
The main job of the carpal tunnel, located at the palm side of the wrist, is to protect the median nerve on the inside of the wrist, in addition to all the tendons which run through the carpal tunnel and are used to curl and bend the fingers. It is possible for this tunnel to become constricted, often due to chronic inflammation and thickening of a ligament that runs across the tunnel. When it does, median nerve compression can result, leading to a variety of symptoms such as numbness and tingling to the thumb, 1st and 2nd fingers on the palm side of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome impacts approximately 5% of all Americans, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can be caused by an injury or by repetitive job-related use such as assembly-line work, keyboard-heavy work, jack hammering, repetitive use of hand tools, or driving heavy machinery.
Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow
Ouch! These two injuries can hurt and prove to be debilitating. And take a long time for full recovery. Injury is almost exclusively the result of repetitive use and can be attributed to a variety of different tasks, not just the sports they are associated with. They are both injuries to muscle-tendon complexes where the muscle-tendon interface is or where the tendon-bone interface is.
Tennis elbow, formally called lateral epicondylalgia, refers to pain on the lateral or outside aspect of the elbow.
Golfer’s elbow refers to pain on the medial or inside aspect of the elbow and is officially called medial epicondylalgia.
Physical therapy is the best treatment for tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. The science of tendon pathology has advanced recently and we have a better understanding on how to treat tendon pain for optimal outcomes. Physical therapy focuses on an active approach – exercise, tendon loading strategies and functional activity simulated activities – to restore strength and integrity in the tendon for best recovery. Physical therapy will also work to reduce the inflammation quickly and provide treatment to correct the underlying joint and soft tissue restrictions that are causing strain to the tendons.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms caused by the conditions above, or if you have persistent pain that won’t seem to go away, contact Rose City Physical Therapy in Portland, OR as soon as possible to request an appointment. Our skilled physical therapists will assess your condition and pain symptoms, and be able to create a customized treatment plan for your recovery.
Stop Suffering From Your Wrist, Elbow & Hand Pain
No matter what the cause of your wrist, elbow, or hand pain may be, physical therapy is a great solution for you. Here at Rose City Physical Therapy, we offer advanced and effective solutions that can help relieve or even eliminate your pain, restore your range of motion and strength, and get you back on track to living a normal, healthy lifestyle.
Our orthopedic and sports experienced physical therapists will assess your painful condition, ask questions about your medical history, and create a customized treatment care plan just for you and your specific problem. This might include any number of modalities, with a main emphasis on active rehab using exercises and functional activities to restore imbalances and weakness that exists, and manual therapy, massage therapy, exercises and targeted stretches to restore motion and strength.So what’s holding you back? Don’t let your wrist, elbow, or hand pain continue to reduce your quality of life. If you’re looking for a physical therapist in Portland, OR, contact Rose City Physical Therapy today to request an appointment. We’ll set you up to meet with one of our dedicated team members. We’re 100% committed to giving you back your pain-free way of living!