Until our hands begin to become painful we rarely think about the activities they perform. The joints of your hands are smaller than your knees or shoulders, allowing us to reach into tight spaces, pinch, and manipulate objects. Your joints are supported by ligaments which connect bone to bone and stop the joints from moving into directions they shouldn’t go. They provide support for the joint, allowing the muscle to move the joint correctly. Throughout our lifetime joints can be stressed during activities like carrying a grocery bag, wringing out a washcloth, or twisting off a bottle cap. These activities can stretch ligaments and wear out cartilage in your joints resulting in inflammation and pain. There are simple strategies you can use to protect your joints which will reduce pain during daily tasks.
If you’ve suffered an injury, are recovering from surgery or are living with a condition that affects your hands, chances are you’ve seen a hand therapist or have received instructions to do so by your hand surgeon. Hand therapists are essential to helping patients recover from injuries or surgeries and can help those in pain get back to living a normal life. Hand therapists and hand surgeons often work closely together to determine the best outcome for their patients.
Raising children is rewarding. It is also a lot of work. Parents and caretakers don’t always pay attention to how they are using their hands or arms for everyday tasks involved in childcare. The focus of attention is most often on taking care of the child’s needs, not the proper way to lift or position their body. Repeating tasks in poor positions will result in overuse injuries. If you are a caretaker for a young child and are experiencing hand discomfort, here are some signs of overuse and what to do about it!
Dr. Steven H. Goldberg answers your questions about symptoms and myths related to common activities such as texting, typing and playing video games and whether they cause hand pain.
Question: Is extensive texting or video game play likely to cause wrist or hand symptoms?
Several studies have examined this question, and there is some limited evidence that higher amounts of texting or video game play may cause some hand/wrist discomfort. However, this should not be considered a “medical condition.” The obvious “cure” is to reduce the activity and thus avoid the need to see a healthcare provider. With some good old-fashioned common sense, I think each person should be able to adjust their activities to keep symptoms at a minimal or absent level. “Everything in moderation, even moderation.” — Oscar Wilde
If you’re reading this at work, you are probably worried that something you’re doing right now is slowly killing you. The accumulated years of slouched spinal posture, squinting at a screen and sitting (“the new smoking”) are sources of health paranoia for the 80 percent of the workforce whose jobs do not regularly require physical activity.
And then there’s typing.
The anxiety over long sedentary workdays is often crystalized in fears of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a wrist ailment that is so associated with repetitive hand activities that the image attached to the Google medical information profile for it is an intently focused woman in an open-office plan sitting at a desk with one hand on a mouse and the other typing.
ESPECIALLY AS A PERSON ages, it’s common to experience pain in the hands that’s caused by arthritis. It’s most often the result of a loss of cartilage that can leave bone rubbing on bone, or what’s called osteoarthritis. Inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis (resulting from the skin disease psoriasis) that leads to swollen fingers and toes can also be to blame.
While some are able to handle a mild degree of discomfort, arthritis in the hands is frequently more than a fleeting annoyance, and it can even lead to hand deformity if left untreated. As pain becomes more regular and severe, it can affect a person’s ability to do everything from activities they enjoy – like golf or other forms of recreation – to those things they need to do just to get through the day, from buttoning a shirt to gripping a cup of coffee in the morning.
Fortunately, there are ways you can ease arthritis-related hand pain. Read the full story.
There can be many different causes for numb hands. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is a condition involving a pinched nerve in the wrist, is one of the most common reasons. Typically, with this condition, you’ll feel numbness or tingling in thumb, index, middle and ring fingers.
Here are five other reasons your hands may be numb:
- Compression Neuropathy: This means there is pressure on a nerve, which can happen from an injury or other medical condition. In addition to numbness, it can cause weak or twitchy muscles. The location of the compressed nerve can vary, resulting in a variety of different symptoms. Learn more.
- Peripheral Neuropathy: This condition can commonly occur in people with diabetes, alcoholics, older individuals or individuals who were poisoned from metals or industrial compounds. It typically causes constant numbness in a general area.
- Fibromyalgia: This is a disorder that causes pain all over the body. People with this condition can be more likely than others to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which in turn may cause numb hands.
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome: This condition can be similar to Fibromyalgia. While the symptoms of pain are typically in the neck and shoulder, it can also cause numb hands and forearms.
- Medications: Cancer treatment drugs are an example of medication that can cause numbness and tingling in the hands.
When you think of the impressive feats the human body has accomplished—building pyramids, running marathons, all that good stuff—hunching over a cell phone to scroll through Instagram likely isn’t one of them.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with loving your phone. We live in a digital age, after all. But there might be something wrong with the way you use it. It might sound weird, but without proper form, prolonged cell phone use can cause a slew of issues from a painful neck to dry eyes and more. Fortunately, you don’t need to give up your phone entirely to help keep these problems at bay. Small changes can make all the difference.
Here, a look at a few common phone-related issues doctors see, plus how to prevent each one.