From brushing your teeth and putting on socks to typing an email or sending a text, your hands and wrists are constantly on the move. We often overlook how hard these joints are working for us until a problem occurs. More often than not that problem is pain. Recurring pain in the hands and wrists can severely restrict us in everyday activities and lower our overall quality of life. This is why it is important to address pain when it arises and get to the root cause so that we can enjoy pain-free movement!
UNDERSTANDING THE HAND AND Wrist
From a biomechanical point of view, our hands are perhaps one of nature's greatest wonders: The hand consists of 27 individual bones and a large number of joints. Through interaction with a complex system of ligaments, tendons and muscles, the hand can perform extremely precise and powerful movements. Our hands are not only there to reach and grab, they are also one of the most important sensory organs in our body. Tactile stimuli collected by sensory nerve signals in the hands provides critical information and feedback to the brain.
"Our fingertips can feel even the tiniest of elevations, as small as 0.006 mm"
The wrist, which generally speaking consists of three individual joints, is stabilized by an articular joint capsule. This fibrous joint capsule helps provide stability by limiting movement and protecting from injury. On the dorsal side of the hand, extensor tendons (1) run through six tendon compartments that act as a guide rail. The flexor tendons (2) run along the palm together with the large nerves of the hand. The median nerve (3) runs under the carpal ligament (4) through the carpal tunnel (5).
The interactions of the complex anatomical structures of the hand and wrist take place in a very small space. This unfortunately makes them easily susceptible to injury and signs of wear and tear which can massively restrict us in everyday life.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF WRIST PAIN
Sometimes the cause of wrist pain is clear, such as after an injury or trauma. However, in many cases joint pain in the hands or wrist appear slowly overtime. In the case the cause is not one main trauma but a culmination of countless stressful movements that the joints endure overtime as we carry out everyday activities.
Not all wrist pain is the same. In some cases it occurs directly in the joint, in others it can be felt radiating into the forearm, and sometimes it is focused on the hand or in the thumb. In certain cases the pain is caused by specific movements like grasping, bending or straining, other times the pain can appear seemingly without cause when at rest. In addition to feelings of pain, burning and strain, the wrist or hand may appear as red or swollen.
Who is most affected?
People most at risk are those who perform monotonous, repetitive movements every day involving the hand and wrist joints. This can include those in professions who work with their hands or with computers all day but also those with hobbies that are strenuous on the joints such as weight training, gardening, gaming or playing a musical instrument.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Wrist pain should be taken seriously and treated appropriately
Your doctor will start by asking you a few questions, such as how long you've had the pain, how exactly it feels, and in what situations it occurs. After the conversation, the doctor performs a physical examination, which can also include movement tests and imaging procedures such as X-rays.When the diagnosis is finally made, a decision is made as to which treatment is suitable.
COMMON WRIST DISORDERS
Tendons, bones, muscles, cartilage - any of these components can be responsible for causing pain. The most common diagnoses of wrist pain include tendonitis, mouse arm and arthrosis. In the below articles you can learn more about these conditions and better understand what is going on in your wrist and what measures you can take to combat your pain.
If you are experiencing pain and burning in the wrists or ankles, the diagnosis is often: tendonitis. The pain usually occurs with movement and stress; and in the case of a chronic tendonitis, the ...
Pain, tingling, burning, and a stiff wrist: these are all symptoms of mouse arm syndrome. It occurs when constant repetitive movements are performed over a long period of time. This leads to tiny i...
Does the wrist hurt under pressure, is it swollen or restricted in mobility? Then it could be osteoarthritis in the wrist. In this degenerative disease, the thickness of the cartilage that ensures ...
Bauerfeind Hand and Wrist Braces & Orthoses
In addition to classic pain therapy, movement therapy is often prescribed to help you bring your wrist back into balance. A wrist brace like the ManuTrain® can support you through treatment because it relieves and stabilizes your wrist.
Healthy, strong hands and wrists are important. With these four practical exercises you can train, stretch and stabilize your wrists to prevent pain in the long term.