Elbow & Hand Pain Treatment

Common Symptoms of Elbow, Hand, and Wrist Pain

Repetitive motions can strain tendons and bones, causing elbow and wrist pain – a sign that there might be an injury. It’s important to handle this possible injury.

Joint pain is the second most standard reason for seeking medical care (after colds and ARVI).

Common hand problems include:

Hand Pain

Hand Pain and Numbness

We use our hands and wrists all the time, so there are many reasons for pain and numbness. These symptoms are in different fingers or show different diseases.

The most common causes of hand pain are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Bad blood supply.

  • The pain localizes in the wrist joint and the small joints of the hand. Most patients experience pain in the morning and have stiffness in the hand.

  • Pain at the base of the fourth finger, less at the base of the first finger. 

  • The pain occurs in the morning. The patient feels pain when moving the finger. Sometimes, there's a painful clicking.

  • Rhizarthrosis is arthritis of the big toe.

  • Pain occurs at the base of the thumb, both on the outside and inside of the thumb. 

  • The pain occurs most often in the morning: sharp pain during movement and pressure on the joint.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. There's a carpal tunnel in the wrist joint. This tunnel becomes narrow due to joint hypertrophy (overgrowth). This causes the tendons for finger bending and the median nerve to get squeezed. The carpal bones and the transverse ligament form the carpal tunnel. The pain occurs at night or in the early morning.

The blood supply to the affected area is vital in addressing the standard form of elbow pain.

The Second Stage of Wrist Pain

The second stage after the pain is numbness. If you feel it in the first three fingers and part of the fourth, you might have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you feel it in the fourth and fifth fingers, it is a symptom of Сubital tunnel syndrome.

Another reason for these symptoms in the elbow and wrist is spinal problems. A nerve can compress inside or at the spine's exit. Three possible situations:

  • A hernia

  • Spinal stenosis (overgrowth of tissue inside the spinal canal)

  • In the brachial plexus near the spine

Repetitive motions can cause tiny tears in the joint motion and affect the radius bone.

Wrist Conditions

Wrist conditions can disrupt daily living by generating inflammation and painful wrist movement. Treatments might include non-surgical choices like cortisone injections if you see symptoms early. This helps ease pain and reduce inflammation.

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Arthritis in Hand and Wrist

Nowadays, arthritis is very common, no matter how old you are. 

We have two types of hand and wrist arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a function of the tendonitis dynamic. It's made up of three factors:

  • Muscle connective tissue tightness

  • Chronic inflammation

  • Nutritional insufficiency

When muscles get tight, they pull on tendons. These tendons are compressing the joint. You may develop swelling to the tips of the fingers and sometimes of the base of the thumb.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation, swelling, redness, and pain. It can also damage the joints. RA can begin in any joint: wrists, hands, knees, ankles, shoulders, and feet.

For RA, you need physical therapy and regular check-ups with a doctor to avoid more issues. Non-surgical treatments may include medicines such as DMARDs and steroids.

DMARDs relieve inflammations and pain and slow or stop changes in the joints. Steroids are man-made forms of hormones. These drugs help with joint pain and swelling.

If you struggle to open jars, lift things, or see changes in your thumb joints, it's time to see a hand surgeon. To start the healing process as soon as possible.

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Elbow Bursitis, Sprained Wrist, and Ganglion cysts are troublemakers

Elbow bursitis can cause discomfort in the elbow. A sprained wrist or the development of ganglion cysts may lead to pain in the wrist. Let’s dive deeper into these concepts.

Sprained Wrist and Elbow Pain

Wrist sprained is a ligament injury. A ligament injury results in a sprain, while a muscle injury earns the name strain. Doctors use rest, a brace, and anti-inflammatories to treat most ligament sprains and wrist injuries. A severe wrist injury is often called a scapholunate ligament injury.

You must make an appointment if you've got a ligament or wrist sprain that hurts after 3-4 weeks. It's time to see a doctor for an X-ray, non-surgical treatments, or physical therapy.

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A Herniated DISC and It’s Sign

Ganglion cysts are a tendon sheath from the joint. They most happen in the extensor and tendons. You will not be experiencing pain during ganglion cysts.

If you remove it, the hand surgeon can provide a needle aspiration. With this procedure, he will pull the fluid out. But the return rate of ganglion cysts is pretty high.

Olecranon Bursitis: Meaning and Healing

Olecranon or Elbow Bursitis is inflammation in the tendon sheath. It causes swelling and discomfort. It looks like a big puffy area on the outside of the back tip of the elbow (the olecranon). It appears when a person puts pressure on the back of their elbow.

Constant pressure on the tip of the elbow can aggravate a fluid-filled sac, causing discomfort. The patient with elbow bursitis is not experiencing pain; he only has a big, swollen lump.

The first treatment you can provide yourself is to avoid the pressure on your elbow.

Put a pad on the elbow, and get a short course of ice or anti-inflammatory medications. If you seek treatment from an orthopedic surgeon, he may get an X-ray to ensure nothing else.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Its Symptoms

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common cause of hand numbness today. It's a compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. The carpal bones connect to the ulnar and radius bones of the arm. It created a carpal tunnel.

The tunnel is the narrow corridor on the palm side of the wrist. The median nerve makes it possible for your thumb, index, long finger, and the part of the ring finger to be able to feel. Common symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the wrist or hand

  • Weakness of the muscles of the hand

  • Burning or pain in the wrist, fingers, and arm

The numbness of the hand starts at the finger tip. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens due to an inflammation or swelling in the carpal tunnel. Anything irritating the carpal tunnel's nerve may cause this syndrome.

The risk factors are:

  • Fracture or trauma to the wrist

  • Diabetes

  • Inflammatory conditions: rheumatoid arthritis

  • Obesity

  • Fluid retention (common during pregnancy and menopause)

  • Prolong exposure to vibrating tools

  • The repetitive motion of the wrist: playing the piano, typing on a computer keyboard

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. The nerve can get damaged, causing lasting numbness and weakness.

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What Should I Do if My Hand Hurts and Goes Numb?

To diagnose which exact disease you have, the doctor will question you and conduct some tests. Examinations may include:

  • A complete check of your hand, wrist, forearm, and shoulder

  • Physical therapy tests

  • Test the fingers and the strength of the muscles in the hand

  • X-ray of the affected wrist to exclude fracture or arthritis

  • Nerve conduction studies. It measures your electric impulses in the carpal or cubal tunnels.

Treatment depends on how chronic your symptoms are and if there is muscle weakness. Non-surgical treatments may make an early diagnosis. These include: 

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief

  • corticosteroid injections to reduce pain level

  • wrist splitting, which holds your hand in a neutral position

The doctor may recommend surgery if the symptoms are severe or don't respond to other treatments. Surgery relieves pressure by cutting the tissue and pressing onto the nerve.

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Golfer’s Elbow Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Treatment

Golfer's elbow or medial epicondylitis is similar to tennis elbow.

Injuring the elbow bone and the tendons around it can show up as tennis elbow. Causing discomfort and pain in the elbow, hand, wrist, and forearm.

The symptoms of golfer's elbow pain appear on the inside of the elbow. Yet, the difference between a golfer's and a tennis elbow is noteworthy. The tennis elbow pain is from the outside of the elbow. Golfer's elbow occurs in people involved in repetitive wrist movements in their occupation.

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Repeated wrist flexion is an offender in the golfer’s elbow. Symptoms include:

  • The pain in the inside of the elbow comes on gradually over a few days

  • The muscle attachments below the bones are tendered to touch, and it is painful to flex the wrist

Treatments of golfer’s elbow include:

How Can Physical Therapy Help  Relieve Hand Pain?

Don’t ignore signs of discomfort in the hand, wrist, and forearm. Repetitive motion might be causing pain in your elbow and wrist by affecting tendons and bones.

Physical therapy helps to fix these problems.

Distal Radius Fracture

A distal radius fracture is a fracture of the big bone at the level of the wrist. The radius is the bone that connects the hand to the elbow. The fracture occurs around the wrist joint of the big bone on the thumb side of the wrist.

Elbow Wrist Pain:  Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

The cubital tunnel is located inside the elbow joint. It's a common form of nerve damage. The ulnar nerve passes through the cubital tunnel, where it may be compressed. The ulnar nerve is responsible for numbness in the ring finger and little finger.

It can be diagnosed by clinical examination. If symptoms are unclear, specialists will send you for nerve conduction studies.

The treatment options are:

  • Nighttime splinting to prevent flexing the elbow all the way up

  • Hand therapy for nerve gliding exercises

Hand, elbow, and wrist pain can make life unpleasant. Get your hand back, full of strength and the ability to do everything you like. Visit the doctor and get treatment as soon as possible.

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If you experienced persistent pain in the elbow and wrist or on the thumb side, and your discomfort stemmed from the middle or end joints, making simple tasks challenging… If your forearm muscles, wrist muscles, or ulna hurts, talk to a healthcare provider to find out why. The proper treatment at the right time can bring back the joy of life and everyday activities.

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