Elbow & Wrist Pain

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Overview

Overuse injuries of the elbow, forearm and wrist are very common among athletes, requiring sports rehab. Any sport that requires an athlete to perform repetitive elbow bending and straightening or constant wrist motions can cause injuries resulting in elbow and wrist pain. 


Anatomy

The elbow is a hinged joint made up of three bones- the humerus, ulna and radius. The bones are held together with ligaments that form the joint capsule and help connect your upper arm to your forearm.


The primary motion of the forearm is rotation: the ability to turn your palm up and down. If you hold your arms at your side, with palms facing up, the ulna is the bone closest to your body and the radius is closest to your thumb


Your wrist is a complex joint made up of multiple small joints that connect the hand to the forearm. The two bones of the forearm – the radius and the ulna- and eight small carpal bones, form it.

Symptoms

The location and severity of elbow and wrist pain can widely vary depending on the cause. Elbow and wrist pain can be localized to a specific area of the elbow or wrist or diffused throughout. It is often accompanied by physical restriction. Elbow and wrist pain can be divided into three major categories

  • Acute injury- such as a broken bone, torn ligament or tendon
  • Medical condition; such as arthritis or infection
  • Chronic or overuse conditions: osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, golfers elbow tendonitis 

Common Injuries

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome- The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist where a nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm to the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of hand nerve entrapment that occurs when selling in the tunnel compresses the median nerve. As a result of the pressure, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience symptoms of pain in the hand, wrist or fingers, sensation that the hand is swollen, weakened grip, numbness and hands and/or problems with finger movements. 
  • Fractures- Fractures of the wrist/elbow can occur in either the small bones of the fingers or the long bones of the forearm into the elbow (radius and ulna). They can result from a twisting injury, a fall or a direct contact in sports.
  • Arthritis- Arthritis involves inflammation of one or more joints. Pain and stiffness are common symptoms of arthritis, and when these occur in your wrist or elbow, simple daily activities can become more difficult.  Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that can develop due to normal “wear and tear” in the hand, wrist or elbow.
  • Wrist Sprain- A sprain is an injury to a ligament. Ligaments are strong bands of connective tissue that connect one bone to another. Wrist sprain is a common injury, and occurs when the wrist is bent forcefully, such as in a fall onto an outstretched arm.
  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)- Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse. Plying tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition, however several over sports can also put you at risk.  Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. These muscles can be damages from overuse, which leads to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.

Treatment

A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of elbow/wrist pain. The underlying cause of elbow/wrist  pain will help direct treatment and plank of care. Most instances of elbow or wrist pain can be successfully treated conservatively (physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, etc.) although some injuries may require surgical intervention. 


Source: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org

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New Wave Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation

7125 Turner Road, Rockledge, Florida 32955, United States

P: (321) 961-3805 (call/text) F: (321) 362-4678

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