Wrist problems are becoming more common these days for a number of reasons. We’re texting, typing, scrolling and searching more than ever before, and while these fine motor skills may be performed by your fingers, oftentimes your wrists and the structures that pass through this area handle the strain of these maneuvers.
Fortunately, the wrist also tends to respond well to physical therapy exercises and stretching techniques. If you’re dealing with wrist pain caused by one of the following conditions, odds are a date with a physical therapist is in your future. Below, we look at eight wrist problems commonly treated with the help of physical therapy.
Physical Therapy For Common Wrist Injuries
If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions, or you’re dealing with symptoms that sound like they could be the result of one of the following issues, connect with your primary care physician or come straight to the source and book an appointment with a physical therapist in your area. They’ll be able to help with all of these common wrist injuries:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal tunnel occurs when a ligament inside the wrist swells and compresses a nearby nerve, leading to wrist pain and weakness. Oftentimes caused by repetitive motion, carpal tunnel syndrome can be alleviated through careful exercise and posture changes.
- De Quervain’s Disease – When this condition sets in, the tendon and the tendon sheath covering the thumb area inflame and swell. Again likely caused by repetitive motion, physical therapy can help calm swelling and restore normal range of motion to the thumb.
- Osteoarthritis – Although this degenerative condition oftentimes gets more attention when it affects larger joints like your knee or hip, it can also cause problems in your wrist. Strength training, body positioning awareness and an improved diet can all help to calm symptoms caused by osteoarthritis of the wrist.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – While osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an autoimmune issue, causing the body to attack its own healthy tissues. This can lead to swelling, pain and weakness in the joints, including your wrist. Physical therapy may not be able to reverse your autoimmune disorder, but it can help you lessen the symptoms you experience.
- Tendonitis – If repetitive motion puts too much strain on tendons in the wrist area, they can inflame and swell. This inflammation can actually lead to small tears in the tendons if you keep straining the area at a time when the tendon is weak. Physical therapy will help to take strain off the tendon by making other tissues in the wrist stronger.
- Ganglion Cyst – A ganglion cyst develops when fluid leaks out of a joint and leads to swelling underneath the skin. While it’s not always clear what leads to their formation, they can oftentimes be traced back to repetitive strain, trauma or arthritis of the wrist. What is clear is that physical therapy can oftentimes help decrease or alleviate these cysts by improving how fluid is managed in the joint.
- Bursitis – Bursae are tiny fluid-filled sacs in the joint that help to cushion the area and lubricate tissues so that they can move with ease. Irritation or inflammation of these sacs is known as bursitis, and symptoms are typically mild or moderate, with pain, discomfort, weakness and inhibited range of motion being the leading culprits. As is the theme, physical therapy can help to calm this irritation and restore normal function.
- Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex – The final condition we’ll spotlight in this blog is TFC, or Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex. This involves the degeneration of the cartilage on the wrist side of your pinky finger, which can lead to dull or sharp wrist pain. PT won’t help you restore cartilage in your wrist, but it can help take pressure off the joint and make normal movements a little more comfortable.
We use our wrists for a number of tasks each day, so don’t just grit your teeth and deal with discomfort if wrist movement is causing pain. Instead, connect with a physical therapy team and regain strength and function while decreasing discomfort in your wrists. For more information, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.
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