Physical Therapy for Wrist Pain
If you're dealing with wrist pain, learn how physical therapy can help improve wrist function and decrease pain.
Physical therapy can help you to recover from wrist pain
Physical therapy may include exercises, stretches, and manual therapy techniques to help assist during a time of healing from common wrist injuries.
Exercises can help improve strength and range of motion in the wrist. Stretches can help to loosen tight muscles and increase flexibility. Manual therapy techniques such as massage or mobilization can be an effective treatment to improve movement and reduce pain.
Anatomy of the wrist
Before we can understand how physical therapy can help with wrist pain, we need to understand a little bit about the anatomy of the wrist. The wrist is made up of eight small bones, called carpal bones, that are arranged in two rows, the distal row, and the proximal row.
The carpal bones are connected to the two long bones of the forearm, the radius, and the ulna, by ligaments. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist that houses the median nerve and several ligaments.
Types of Wrist Pain and Injuries
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the most frequent causes of wrist pain is carpal tunnel syndrome. This common condition is often seen in pregnant patients, due to increased fluid retention. Also, clients who have jobs that require frequent repetitive motions involving the wrist can develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
This condition is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand. The pressure can be caused by swelling, fluid retention, or inflammation of the tissues around the nerve, or by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway in the wrist. This usually results in numbness, tingling, or weakness in the fingers or the hand.
Physical therapy can help to reduce the pressure on the nerve and improve symptoms with wrist stretches to improve flexibility and restore the more natural movement of the carpal bones as well as the function of the wrist flexor muscles. Manual therapy techniques such as massage or mobilization can help to improve movement and reduce pain.
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition that results in pain and inflammation of the tendon sheath. This is often caused by repetitive use or overuse of the thumb and can lead to difficulty gripping objects.
This is becoming a more and more common condition due to the use of the thumbs to operate smartphones.
In some cases, the sheath can become so inflamed that the thumb no longer is able to move smoothly through its natural range of motion, and it maybe “snap” into position. This condition can be quite troubling as it takes a bit of time to treat and in some cases may require surgery.
Wrist Strains and Wrist Sprain
Wrist strains and sprains can occur when the wrist is hyperextended, twisted, or bent too far. They can also occur when the ligaments that support the wrist are overstretched or torn.
Physical therapy can help to improve the range of motion and strength of the wrist. Exercises can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the forearm and wrist, as well as improve balance and coordination.
Arthritis is a condition that results in inflammation and deterioration of the cartilage in the joints. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints.
Physical therapy can help to improve movement and reduce pain in the arthritic wrist. By working with a physical therapist to assess your unique cause of arthritis and prescribe exercises to help to improve strength, range of motion, the balance of the wrist joint, and function.
Fractures or Fracture Healing
Physical therapy can help to relieve pain and improve movement in the injured wrist. Exercises can help increase strength, range of motion, and function of the wrist during rehabilitation following a fracture. This is to also assist with maintaining more muscle stimulation during healing, as lack of use of surrounding muscles when recovering from an injury, can lead to muscle atrophy.
Wrist injury from falls or impacts
Wrist injuries can also occur as a result of a fall or impact. In some cases, X-rays may be needed to assess what your injury is. If you’ve recently fallen on an outstretched arm and now are suffering from wrist pain it’s important to consult with a doctor and a skilled physical therapist to start treatment.
Wrist tendinopathy is a condition that results in pain and inflammation of the tendon. This can be caused by overuse, repetitive motions, or trauma to the tendon.
Physical therapy can help with wrist tendinopathy by reducing pain and swelling. Exercises to improve strength and range of motion, as well as manual therapy techniques such as massage or mobilization can also improve symptoms of tendonitis.
Wrist Injury from repetitive strain
Most people who suffer from wrist pain do so due to an overuse injury. This can be the result of repetitive motions, such as typing on a computer, playing sports, or doing manual labor regularly.
Physical therapy can help relieve pain and improve movement in the injured wrist. Exercises can help increase strength, range of motion, and function of the wrist during rehabilitation following an overuse injury.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints. It can affect any joint in the body, including the wrist.
Treating Wrist Pain With Physical Therapy
This commonly involves working with weights or resistance bands to help build muscle strength, improve range of motion, and provide better joint mobilization.
This might involve ice packs or hot water bottles that are applied directly to your skin for several minutes at a time. Always make sure to check with your healthcare provider before trying any of these treatments at home since they can be risky if used incorrectly.
Are you experiencing pain in your wrist?
At Impact Care physical therapy we want to help you minimize pain while restoring function to the wrist.
By teaching you exercises to improve movement and strength, we can help support the wrist joint while it heals as well as address any muscle imbalance that may have led to the injury.
Our Clients Success Stories
Contact Impact Care Physical Therapy To Treat Your Wrist Pain
Wrist pain can be debilitating, but with the help of a skilled physical therapist, you can start to see improvement in movement and function. If you are experiencing wrist pain, don’t hesitate to contact Impact Care Physical Therapy today.
We would be happy to assess your condition and provide you with the treatment you need to help you get back to living your life to the fullest!