The wrists and elbows are important joints in the body. These joins allow the arms and hands to move freely and without pain. Both of these joints, as well as the bones and joints in the hands, are susceptible to injury. An injury may be traumatic, such as a sports collision, or it may be due to overuse that has repeatedly put stress on a joint, resulting in inflammation or breakdown of the joint structure.
What are common symptoms for hand/wrist/elbow injuries
Hand injury symptoms include:
- Pain in the hand or fingers
- Tingling or numbness
- A grating or clicking sound when moving a finger or the hand
- Obvious physical deformity of a finger
- Limited range of motion in a finger or the hand
Wrist injury symptoms include:
- Pain in the wrist or hand
- Numbness and tingling in the hand
- Limited range of motion in moving the wrist and hand
- Swelling or bruising in the wrist or fingers
- A grating or clicking sound when moving the wrist
- Sharp pain in the wrist
- Difficulty making a fist
- General weakness in the hand or wrist
Elbow injury symptoms include:
- Pain or swelling in the elbow joint
- Pain that radiates down the forearm
- Weakness in the arm or hand
- A feeling of instability in the elbow joint
- Stiffness and discomfort when moving the elbow or lower arm
What are the common causes of hand/wrist/elbow injuries?
Common Causes for Hand Injuries
The fingers and bones in the hand are susceptible to impact injuries. These most often occur when a person falls on an outstretched hand. However, the fingers may also be injured by blunt trauma to a straightened finger or from an object falling or pressing on the finger. Joint and tendon conditions in the hand may result from overuse and degradation of the tendon sheath or joint structure.
Common Causes for Wrist Injuries
Falls onto an outstretched hand account for the majority of wrist injuries. However, there is also a chance that certain inflammatory conditions, such as carpal tunnel, may result from the overuse of the hand using improper posture. For example, typing does not cause carpal tunnel, but typing using poor hand, wrist, and arm posture can cause this condition.
Common Causes for Elbow Injuries
Many of the elbow injuries that occur are related to overuse rather than a blunt trauma to the arm. Sports such as golf, tennis, and any activity in which an object is thrown place direct pressure on the various structures that support the elbow joint. Therefore, the repetition of certain activities can cause inflammation and breakdown of the joint. Some injuries to the elbow, such as bursitis, may be caused by continually leaning onto the elbows.
What are the most common hand/wrist/elbow injuries?
Hand Common Injuries:
- Skier’s thumb is a condition that may result from a fall onto the hand that bends the thumb backward. This injury tears the ligament at the base of the thumb.
- Sprains and strains are common hand injuries that may occur in a joint or muscle in the hand.
- De Quervain’s tendonitis is an overuse injury that affects the tendon that runs down the forearm, through the wrist, to the thumb. Repetitive use from a certain activity, such as holding a golf club, causes inflammation in the tendon.
- A jammed finger is also a common injury, often related to athletic activity. A jammed finger may be as mild as a sprain in the joint or it may be as severe as a dislocation or fracture.
Wrist common injuries:
- Sprains, strains, and fractures are among the most common wrist injuries. Most are related to a fall onto an outstretched hand. Any sudden impact on the wrist can result in this type of injury.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of a repetitive stress injury in the wrist. This condition involves inflammation in the carpal tunnel, a small passageway of bones through which nerves pass on their way to the hand.
- Ganglion cysts are not considered injuries but do represent a condition that may develop on the part of the wrist below the forearm.
Elbow common injuries
- Tennis elbow is a common overuse injury that affects the tendon on the outside of the forearm. Due to repetitive motion, the tendon begins to separate from the bone
- Golfer’s elbow is also a tendon injury related to overuse, but this form of tendonitis affects the inside of the elbow.
- Throwing injuries are common in athletes who routinely throw at high velocities, such as baseball pitchers. Various parts of the elbow joint may be injured by this repetitive motion, including the tendons (Flexor Tendinitis), ligaments (Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury), and bones (Valgus Extension Overload, VEO).
- Elbow bursitis, referred to as olecranon bursitis, may occur in the fluid-filled sac that sits at the pointy tip of the elbow.
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that results from stretching or pressure on the ulnar nerve that runs through the elbow down the arm.
- Sprain, strains, and fractures may occur in the elbow due to traumatic injuries such as a sports incident or fall.
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