Physical therapy for elbow, wrist, and hand pain
There are many reasons why pain in the elbow, wrist, hand, and forearm occur. Repetitive stress can injure the muscles, tendons, nerves, and other soft tissue found throughout the arm. Many activities require proper use of the upper extremities. An injury can not only be painful but directly impact daily life or athletic performance. It is important to seek treatment as soon as pain or difficulty moving occurs. If ignored, these injuries can lead to further degeneration and prolonged recovery times. We will identify the cause of pain, develop an individualized plan of care, address strength, mobility, and stability, and return patients to daily activities.
Diagnosing elbow pain
Ulnar nerve injury is usually the result of excessive valgus stress on the elbow during repeated throwing or direct damage to the nerve as a result of “hitting your funny bone.” Symptoms include tingling and numbness in the ring and pinky fingers. Therapeutic exercise can help reduce inflammation in the elbow. Injury can also occur to the lateral or medial epicondylalgia, causing tennis or golfer’s elbow. These painful conditions are associated with the forearm tendons, elbow joints, or radial nerves, and often occur during repetitive use of the arm, especially with a clenched fist. Local tenderness and pain are common when extending or flexing the wrist. Activity modification, icing, progressive stretching, and strengthening will relieve most cases. Physical therapists provide an in-depth evaluation of the upper extremity to determine the source of each patient’s specific pain.
Fractures and dislocations in the arm
Many areas of the arm can suffer a fracture or dislocation. Elbow and wrist injuries often involve a fall onto the outstretched arm, while fingers are susceptible to injury during household mishaps, recreational activities, and work-related trauma. Some common injuries are the Colles, Smith’s, Scaphoid, Hook of the Hamate, or Mallet (Baseball) Finger Fracture. Early intervention helps reduce pain, increase range of motion, and ultimately restore strength and function. At times, splinting may be necessary to protect and heal the injured area.