Tag Archives: hand therapy

Hand Hand Therapy Joints

5 activities that hurt your joints

Hand Deformed From Rheumatoid Arthritis. Studio shot. Pain condition. In red

Certified hand therapist Michelle McMurray, MOT, OTR/L, CHT discusses how you can save your joints while performing daily activities.


Sometimes it is our small, every day activities in our daily routines that we overlook.  As we get busy with our daily lives, sometimes we are not aware of the little things that we do that can ultimately add up to big problems.  We hear about many things that we can do to protect our joints, but in the business of daily lives we forget about ourselves…and our joints.

Here are some examples of some basic tasks we do all the time that can eventually lead to bigger problems:

1. Cleaning

When scrubbing carpet to remove a stain, it is very common that we pinch the cloth and apply pressure.  A big problem that can occur if you happen to quickly catch the end of your finger is a mallet finger.  This is an injury that leaves a droop at the end of the finger. The rehab process can be long and tedious. The easiest way to avoid this is to grip the rag with a fist or use a brush with a handle.

2. Writing

With technology, we do not write as much as we did in the past.  In that case, we are sometimes hurried when doing this activity, which may lead to increased pressure and gripping on the writing utensil.  One thing that can help to decrease the pressure on the thumb is increasing the diameter of the pen/pencil.

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Elbow Hand Hand Therapy Wrist

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist on Desk Posture

a woman sitting at a desk and has pain in the back. symbol photo for proper posture at work in the office.

I sit at a desk most of the workday, keyboarding. My wrists and elbows are always aching. Is there anything I can do?

If you spend most of your day at a desk, your work station should be evaluated and adjusted to ensure proper positioning and desk posture. Your work station should be set up specifically for you. There are many symptoms that may occur from sitting at a poorly designed work station. These symptoms include fatigue or soreness of wrists, elbows, neck, scapular region and lower back. Eventually, if these signs aren’t addressed, you may start to experience pain or numbness and tingling in these areas. If your work station is shared, it should be adjustable to fit the needs of all who use that workstation.

What should my work station look like?

Proper workstation assessment should include looking at the height of your chair, the type of keyboard and mouse you’re using, and position of your monitor. Proper height of your chair should allow ankles, knees, hips and elbows to rest at 90 degrees.

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Hand Hand Therapy Pain

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist on Central Sensitization: Why do I still have pain?

Closeup portrait young man having acute bad joint pain in his hands writer's cramp massaging them sitting in chair isolated outdoors background

Why do I have pain?

Pain, in its most basic form, is a protective response the body uses to survive. Responses and reactions to pain can vary from person to person. Our brain interprets the signals from our body as either non harmful or harmful (pain). Pain is not always an indicator of damage. For example, recall how painful a paper cut is!

Why has my pain lasted so long?

While pain can be a good, protective response in the body, sometimes our pain experience can last longer or be more intense than a typical pain response to an injury or surgery.

Typically, when we get hurt, say a cut to the finger, our body interprets this as a ‘flight or fight’ response. This response includes increased blood flow, pain, swelling and redness to the area temporarily until the threat passes. This is controlled by something called the sympathetic nervous system. Once the threat passes, the body calms down. As it returns to a normal state, the pain and swelling also decrease.

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Hand Hand Surgeon Hand Therapy

What is a hand therapist?

What is a Hand Therapist FINAL FINAL

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Finger Hand Hand Therapy Mallet Finger

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Mallet Finger

Mallet_Fig1A

What is happening to my fingertip? It doesn’t go straight anymore.

If you can’t extend the tip of your finger, you may have what is called a mallet finger. This happens when the end of the tendon that lifts your fingertip becomes separated from the fingertip. There are a few different ways this can happen.

Do I need to do anything about this? Will it heal on its own?

If you have a mallet finger, it needs to be treated; it will not heal on its own. You should consult with your doctor, and possibly a hand surgeon.

A hand surgeon? That sounds serious!

It may be. Sometimes the tendon comes off the fingertip with a portion of the bone – sometimes it only comes partially off. Having a specialist assess it and direct you will ensure you have a good outcome.

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Finger Hand Hand Therapy Trigger Finger

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Trigger Finger

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I noticed that after making a fist, when I try to straighten one of my fingers, it catches and becomes very painful. Sometimes it is necessary to take my other hand to force the finger back into a straight position.

The condition you are describing may be trigger finger (or trigger thumb), and is frequently caused by overuse. Some examples of activities that might initiate this condition are power washing a deck for several hours, using a rivet gun repetitively, leash training a dog or opening window latches that have a lot of resistance.

Why is there a hard nodule present in my palm? It’s tender to touch!

The nodule is actually extreme thickening of the tendon, and each time your tendon “triggers,” there is an inflammatory response that occurs (see diagrams below). Look at the swollen tendon in the first diagram, then take a look at the pulley in the second diagram. You will see that at some point, the nodule becomes so inflamed the tendon can’t glide underneath the pulley — that’s why it “triggers.”

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Elbow Hand Hand Therapy Lateral Epicondylitis Tennis Elbow

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist on Tennis Elbow

a man holds his painful, aching elbow ** Note: Shallow depth of field

I have pain on the outside of my elbow when reaching for objects with my elbow extended. The pain increases if the object weighs more than a few pounds, such as a gallon of milk, a coffee pot or the laundry detergent. How did I get this pain?

The condition you are describing may be lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as “tennis elbow.” The irony is that this overuse condition often occurs in non-tennis players from improper lifting and carrying of objects, or from performing activities that are highly repetitive in nature. The activities translate force to the outside of the elbow, causing inflammation and micro-tears in the tendon (see diagram below).

TennisElbow_Fig1
There are times when my elbow is really painful. Is there a treatment for healing the micro-tears?

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Arthritis Hand Hand Therapy Paraffin Wax

9 steps to treating your hands with paraffin wax

Spa salon. Manicure. Paraffin hand bath. Studio photo set.

Paraffin wax can provide relief from arthritis pain, sore joints or sore muscles. It is a type of wax that is used for candles and can be used in your own home. A paraffin wax unit can be purchased for a low cost or even rented. Learn how to safely use one of these units for your hands by following these 9 steps:

1. Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them.

2. Rub lotion onto your hands: Hand lotion allows the wax to be removed easily after treatment.

3. Dip your hand into the wax (Figure 1 above): Your fingertips should go in first. Keep your fingers separated and submerse your hand all the way past the wrist if desired.

4. Remove your hand after it has been coated with wax.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4: Dip your hand 6-8 times, waiting a few seconds between each dip. This allows layers of wax to form over your hand.

6. Immediately cover your hand with a plastic bag and wrap with a hand towel (Figure 2 below): Wait 10-15 minutes. This will create moist, deep heat for your hand.

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