There’s no shortage of chronic conditions that can impact the hands and wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis are some of the most common. But there are a variety of other lesser-known conditions that can be just as painful and debilitating.
Hand and wrist tendinopathies are two such conditions. This chronic condition typically occurs as a result of overuse of the tendons, such as through exercise, sports, or other activities that involve repetitive motions.
If you’re suffering from pain, swelling, lack of mobility, or weakness in one or both hands or wrists, tendinopathies could be to blame. Keep reading to learn what causes this condition, what symptoms to know, and the treatments that top hand surgeons in Utah may recommend to treat it.
What are Hand and Wrist Tendinopathies?
Your hands and wrists are made up of many moving parts. This includes bones, nerves, muscles—and tendons. Tendons are thick, fibrous cords that anchor your muscles to your bones, and allow for movement. Six tendons allow for movement in each of your wrists, while two groups of tendons make it possible to open and close your fingers.
When these tendons are damaged, in addition to pain, your ability to move or use your hand and wrist may be compromised.
Hand and wrist tendinopathies is a type of injury that affects the tendons of the hand and wrist. This injury can be caused by overuse, trauma, or as a result of aging.
Symptoms of Hand and Wrist Tendinopathies
Like many conditions, hand and wrist tendinopathies can cause a variety of symptoms. Many of these are similar to the first symptoms of arthritis in hands. For example, tenderness or weakness in your hand or wrist may be one of the first signs that you notice. An aching or burning pain in the affected area, stiffness in your hands or wrist, and swelling may also occur.
These symptoms may be minor at first. They also may be worse with activity, and improve the longer you rest. Often, the symptoms will worsen over time, especially if you don’t rest your hand and wrist when the pain first occurs.
Diagnosing Hand and Wrist Tendinopathies
Diagnosing hand and wrist tendinopathies begins with a thorough evaluation. During your appointment, the top hand surgeons in Utah will discuss your medical history, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and the event that may have led to your injury, if applicable. He or she will perform a variety of tests to check the movement of your tendons and determine which may have been damaged.
Your orthopedic surgeon St George hospital may also order additional diagnostic testing to make sure that there aren’t other injuries or underlying conditions causing or contributing to your symptoms.
Treating Hand and Wrist Tendinopathies
There are several ways that the top hand surgeons in Utah may treat your hand and wrist tendinopathies. Their chosen course of treatment will vary depending on how your injury occurred, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and how severe your condition has become.
The aim of any treatment for hand and wrist tendinopathies is to reduce pain and inflammation and improve the function and mobility of your hand and/or wrist. The following are some common treatments that top hand surgeons in Utah may utilize.
Rest and Immobilization
Similar to treatment for ulnar nerve entrapment, one of the first treatment options for hand and wrist tendinopathies is immobilization and rest. Resting the affected hand and wrist and avoiding activities that exacerbate your symptoms can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Your hand doctor may also recommend the use of a splint or brace to provide support and stability and to ensure that your hand or wrist is truly immobilized.
Physical therapy may also be recommended by the top hand surgeons in Utah as a treatment for hand and wrist tendinopathies. A physical therapist will work to help you regain strength in the muscles surrounding your tendons, which in turn can help reduce pain and improve your range of motion.
Inflammation is one of the reasons why hand and wrist tendinopathies cause pain. Reducing that inflammation can help to reduce pain, and improve your range of motion. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to help with this. However, medication is often a short-term solution to help you have less pain while undergoing other treatments.
Similar to medication, steroid injections may be used as a short-term solution to reduce pain and swelling. These injections may be recommended by your doctor to help treat severe pain quickly and to provide relief while you undergo other treatments, like resting and immobilizing your hand or wrist.
Hand and wrist tendinopathies can sometimes be healed without surgery. With enough rest, immobilization, and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of your hand and wrist, your symptoms may go away over time.
However, in severe cases, when other treatment options have failed, surgical intervention may be considered. The top hand surgeons in Utah will alleviate pressure on the tendons, repair or remove damaged tissues, and correct any other underlying structural issues that could be contributing to your condition. After surgery, your doctor will likely recommend physical therapy and rehabilitation to help you regain your full strength and function.
Preventing Hand and Wrist Tendinopathies
Some hand and wrist injuries occur as a result of a single incident or trauma, like a car accident or a fall. Hand and wrist tendinopathies can occur as a result of a single incident. But it’s more commonly associated with overuse of the tendons.
Because this condition can occur as a result of repetitive movements over time, there are a few things that you can do to avoid developing hand and wrist tendinopathies.
Maintaining good posture and the correct positions while exercising can help to reduce the strain on your hand and wrist. Stretching before every workout can help loosen your muscles and prevent injuries. Make sure that you aren’t trying to progress too quickly before you’re ready. For instance, if you’re lifting weights, make sure to increase your weight incrementally, avoiding adding too much between sessions. Finally, strengthening exercises can help improve your muscle strength and reduce your risk of not just tendinopathies, but other injuries as well.
How Top Hand Surgeons in Utah Can Help
If you’re suffering from pain or a lack of mobility as a result of hand and wrist tendinopathies, the top hand surgeons in Utah can help. The experts at Intermountain Orthopedics will get to the root of your pain or lack of mobility, and develop a customized treatment plan. This might include non-surgical treatments like splinting or physical therapy first or may involve surgery first.
Don’t let the pain in your hand or wrist stop you from doing the things you love. Schedule an appointment with the top hand surgeons in Utah today.