Category : Hand Therapy

Hand Hand Therapy Wrist Wrist Pain

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Exercising With(out) Wrist Pain

We all know the health benefits of regular exercise. Many fitness workouts involve putting pressure on your wrists. You may have noticed some discomfort while lifting weights or during yoga poses that require you to put weight on your hands. Here are some tips to make sure you are not straining your wrists while staying active.

  • Tip #1: Keep your wrists flexible. Tight wrists put extra strain on surrounding ligaments, muscles, and joints. Make sure your wrists can move comfortably in all the motions you will use during your workout. If an exercise requires the wrist to bend 90 degrees (as in a push-up, see photo above), gently stretch your wrists back so they can move into the position with ease before adding your body weight.
  • Tip #2: Maintain your strength. Strong wrists are more stable during weight lifting and weight-bearing activities.  A strong grip allows you to hold weights more securely during intense exercises. Stress balls and spring grippers can be used to strengthen your grip. To help prevent wrist injuries and wrist pain, strengthen the muscles in your forearms using light resistance bands or small weights to resist wrist motions.
  • Tip #3: Use your wrists in the most stable position. Keep your hand and forearm in a straight alignment during exercises.  Improper wrist position puts strain on the small ligaments. If your exercise program requires putting weight through an outstretched hand (as in a plank pose), add stability at the base of your wrist by slightly arching your hand.
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Bones Fracture Hand Hand Therapy Radial Head Fracture

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Radial Head Fractures

The ability to move our elbows is required for using our arms during daily activities. We would not be able to reach our face to eat or our feet to put on shoes without our elbows.

Three bones make up the elbow: the long bone closer to your shoulder is the humerus, and the two forearm bones are the radius and ulna.  See the image above to get an idea of the location of these bones.

The radius and ulna are involved in bending and straightening the elbow as well as turning the palm up and down.  Radial head fractures affect all of these motions, especially the ability to rotate the forearm and hand.

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Bones Broken Hand Hand Hand Therapy

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: How Do Broken Bones Heal?

 

Have you ever wondered how a broken bone heals? Broken bones, also called fractures, can heal two different ways.  The two types of bone healing are primary and secondary bone healing.  Secondary bone healing is more common than primary bone healing.

Secondary bone healing occurs when there is slight, controlled motion between the two ends of broken bone during the healing time.   For example, slight motion occurs when the broken bone is set in a cast.  Once the broken bone has been aligned back to its normal position and is placed in a cast, proper healing can begin.

In addition, secondary bone healing progresses through different stages.  The first stage occurs immediately after the fracture.  In this stage, there is swelling and bleeding around the broken bone.  The bleeding then becomes a mass around the break.  This mass is first known as a soft callus and eventually becomes a hard callus.  Once the soft callus becomes hard, the bone is stable.  After a cast is removed, the hard callus is gradually remodeled to normal bone.  This can take up to several years.

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Hand Safety Hand Therapy Leash Safety

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Leash Safety

One of the benefits of pet ownership is the opportunity to get outside and exercise. A recent survey estimated that over 60 million households in the United States have at least one dog, so it is safe to say that a large number of us are hooking up a leash to walk our furry friends. Improper leash handling can increase risk of injury, particularly to our hands and wrists.

What are some of those injuries?

FOOSH

As we learned in a prior post, a FOOSH is a “fall on an outstretched hand.” Hand surgeons and hand therapists frequently see patients who have lost their footing after tripping on the leash, on their dog, or while walking on uneven terrain. This may also occur when your dog suddenly jerks the leash causing you to fall. One of the most common injuries resulting from a FOOSH is a wrist fracture, which could require a cast or perhaps even surgery.

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Hand Hand Surgery Hand Therapy Surgery

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Surgery

Surgery generally falls into two categories, elective and emergency.  Outcomes from these two types can vary greatly.  Emergency surgery is usually done to preserve life or function and usually follows some sort of serious incident or injury.  Elective surgery means you may have some choice about the surgery as well as some time to discuss options with your doctor or medical team.

Post-operative expectations following surgery will depend greatly on the type of surgery you have, the amount of damage before and during surgery, your body’s response, and how well you take care of yourself afterward.

How can I prepare myself for my surgery?

The best way to prepare for surgery is to start as early as possible.  Most surgeries come with a set of precautions for after surgery, but what you do before surgery can also make a difference.

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Hand Safety Hand Therapy Lawnmower Tendons

Advice from a Hand Therapist: Lawnmower and Equipment Safety – Tendon Injuries

Summer is here which means more time enjoying the outdoors and working to maintain landscaping. This may mean mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges or cutting down those hanging tree limbs. These activities may require the use of equipment that has very sharp edges. In the summer, hand therapists see many injuries related to these activities. One of those being tendon injuries, which can mean a  cut of the tendon(s) in the forearm or hand that help open and close the hand. Tendon injuries can be very serious injuries, especially if not correctly addressed with surgery and rehabilitation. If you cut yourself and find a lack of ability to move a finger, thumb or wrist with your own power, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Typically, a tendon injury will require surgical repair. Hand therapy then becomes a large part of the recovery. You can find a local certified hand therapist through the American Society of Hand Therapists at www.asht.org/find-a-therapist.

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Gardening Hand Hand Safety Hand Therapy

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: The Joys of Gardening Without the Risk of Injury

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to not just feed the body but the soul” – Alfred Austin

Gardening is a meaningful activity for people across the lifespan. It can add beauty and nutrition as well as be an outlet for stress relief and a means of exercise. While it has many benefits, it can also be hard work for the muscles and joints of your hands and arms. Here are some tips and tricks that may help you reduce your risk for pain and increase your joy and productivity in the garden.

Tools

Good gardening tools can be especially helpful to reduce risk and pain associated with repetitive use injuries.

  • Tools with built up handles can reduce the grip strength required to perform activities and protect your joints. Wide handled or ergonomic tools may also be available on the internet or in local shops.
  • To build up the handles of your own tools, pipe insulation can be purchased at your local hardware store.
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Elbow Hand Hand Surgery Hand Therapy Stiff Elbow

How to Treat a Stiff Elbow

A stiff elbow can be caused by a couple different things. It could be the result of a injury, such as a fall, and it could also result from a certain condition such as arthritis. Having a stiff elbow likely means that you are unable to move the elbow as you normally would. It makes it difficult to perform simple, everyday tasks. You likely cannot bend or straighten the elbow to pick up objects or rotate your palms to do things like wash your hands.

Here are different methods that your surgeon may recommend for treating a stiff elbow:

  • Exercises/stretching
  • Splinting
  • Surgery
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