Back & Neck Conditions
Wrist and Elbow Hand Pain
If you think about it, perhaps none of your joints are as much used as your wrist and elbow on a daily basis. Years of use and wear and tear can cause weakness, loss of motion or stiffness. Some people develop elbow or wrist arthritis, which affects joints. Atlantic Spine Center specializes in elbow and wrist conditions and wants to help you gain better mobility.
Wrist and elbow hand pain can be caused by a variety of conditions and injuries. Pain in these areas can be debilitating and affect daily activities.
Wrist and Elbow Conditions
Some of the hand wrist and elbow conditions we care for include:
- Wrist Tendonitis – Another overuse condition from extended activities, wrist tendonitis comes from repetitive activities and can cause swelling or inflammation in the wrist tendons.
- Sprained Wrist or Fingers – You can sprain your wrist or fingers if they get bent beyond their capabilities, or through brunt force, which causes a tear of the connective tissue at the joint. You may experience sudden wrist and hand pain and require a splinter so as not to further bend or damage the finger.
- Elbow MCL Tear – MCL tears are when the elbow tears from overstretching. The hand wrist pain can be mild or severe, depending on the size of the tearing of the medial collateral ligament, located on the inside of the elbow. A person may hear a snapping sound during the strain, although sometimes the tear is progressive over time.
- Golfers/Baseball Elbow – Also known as medial epicondylitis, the golfer’s or baseball elbow comes from pain between the wrist and elbow on the inside wrist flexion. Forceful gripping or repetitive wrist flexion is felt when the person tries to press their palm against something or make a squeezing motion.
- Tennis Elbow – Technically this is known as lateral epicondylitis and is attributed with repeated wrist extension/resistance. Even if you do not play tennis, you can get tennis elbow. The pain extends along the exterior of the elbow and forearm, which worsens towards the wrist. It makes every day, normal activities difficult, such as turning a knob, unscrewing a jar lid, carrying heavy things or driving painful.
- De Quervains Tendonitis – This condition is from overuse and causes swelling and inflammation in the outer tendons behind the thumb. Often stems from repetitive activities, such as rowing, golf, typing, carpenter work, sewing, etc. The person may have stiffness and aching behind the wrist and thumb, especially in the morning and at night.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Repetitive wrist movement can place stress on wrists, causing a patient to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a condition in which the wrist and hand succumbs to median nerve damage, which can occur from basic tasks like typing, tennis, photography, or from skills like gripping, sorting, etc. It can lead to weakness, burning, tingling or numbness in the wrist and also pain that feels worse in the evening.
- Ulnar Nerve Compression – Unlike some of the repetitive damage conditions, the ulnar nerve compression is usually from direct impact to the ulnar nerve. This is when excess pressure is placed on the ulnar nerve, which is located through the inside of the elbow/funny bone. It could be from a fall on your elbow or an injury on the playing field. You may feel a burning sensation, numbness, or pins and needles in the forearm and elbow.
- Arthritis – Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, can affect the wrist and elbow joints on the wrist to elbow bone.
- Fractures – Fractures of the wrist and elbow bones can cause severe pain and reduced mobility. These injuries require prompt medical attention and may require surgery to repair. Sprains and strains – Sprains and strains of the wrist and elbow joints can cause pain and swelling, and may require rest, ice, compression, and elevation to heal.
If you are experiencing wrist and elbow hand pain, it is important to consult a medical professional to determine the underlying cause of the pain. Treatment may involve rest, physical therapy, medication, or surgery, depending on the severity and cause of the pain. It is important to address wrist and elbow hand pain promptly to prevent further damage and promote healing. Treatment for wrist and elbow hand pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain and the anatomy of the hand and wrist. In some cases, ice, compression, and elevation may be sufficient to relieve pain and promote healing. Applying ice to the affected area can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Ice can be applied for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Wrapping the affected area with a bandage or compression sleeve can help to reduce swelling and provide support. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, prescription medication may be necessary. Corticosteroid injections can help to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. These injections are typically given directly into the affected joint or tendon.
Resting the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and pain. This may involve avoiding activities that aggravate the pain or using a brace or splint to immobilize the area. Elevating the affected area above the heart can help to reduce swelling and promote healing. Physical therapy and medication may also be used to manage pain and promote healing. It can help to improve mobility and strength in the affected area. This may involve exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the wrist and elbow. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damaged bones, tendons, or ligaments. This may involve arthroscopy, which is a minimally invasive procedure, or open surgery.