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hand and wrist pain after using laptop

Hand And Wrist Injuries At Work

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Whether you’ve stayed at work or have been working from your home office for the last few months, hand and wrist injuries are the most common workplace injury in Australia, accounting for 8,000 hospital admissions annually - and an even greater amount in those not requiring admissions.

While we can’t control workplace accidents, we can control the way we lift and carry objects, and the way we perform those small, repetitive movements that can lead to limiting pain. Today, the team at The Physio are talking about hand and wrist injuries and work, and how you can help prevent them from becoming a part of your life.

Which injuries are you most at risk of?

The most common injuries we see and treat here at The Physio include:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel is caused by pressure on the nerves that run through the wrist and into the hand. It leads to pain, numbness, weakness and other neural symptoms. Often, it is the small, repetitive movements in the wrist that result in the swelling that compresses the nerves. Other times, the swelling may be a result of injury (like fractures), chronic conditions (like arthritis), pregnancy, or just anatomical differences - like a smaller tunnel in the wrist for the nerves to travel through.

Trigger Finger

Otherwise known as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger is caused by the swelling of the tendons that run through the wrist and palm to flex your fingers. The result is pain and tenderness in the fingers, which is exacerbated when you push your fingers down against a surface. The pain is felt mainly at the base of the finger, and you may feel some stiffness, too.

Tendonitis

You have tendons all through your body - including your arms and wrists. Every time you bend your elbow, or your hand towards your forearm, your tendons are contracting. When you overload your tendons or put them under repetitive pressure, they may become damaged and inflamed, causing pain and stiffness.

Carpometacarpal Joint Injury

At the base of your thumb, you have a joint called the carpometacarpal joint. The thumb is prone to overuse, and the joint can deteriorate because of wear and tear or as a result of arthritis, pain, stiffness and swelling which can develop in the thumb. Even simple activities like tying your shoes or picking up small objects can trigger the pain.

What can you do to reduce your risk of injury?

If your job requires repetitive movement of the hands, wrists and arms, you can help reduce your risk of injury by:

  • Regularly stretching, much like you would before exercise. By getting the muscles in your arms and hands warm and moving, you can better prepare them for the loads and activities throughout your workday
  • Strengthening the muscles in your hands and wrists. This can be done using hand weights, resistance bands - or even household items! Small movements every day, even just while watching television, can help make a big difference
  • Examine your posture - if you’re sitting at your desk during the day and getting pain, look at the position of your hands, arms and wrists on the table and keyboard. If your day involves regularly picking up objects, look at how you’re holding them, picking them up and putting them down. Your physiotherapist can also show you the best ergonomically-friendly tips and strategies
  • Don’t ignore any symptoms - even if they’re small. Overuse injuries often start as a small, dull ache - and can quickly progress to a full-blown injury if you’re not careful. If you’re experiencing pain at work, and you suspect it may be from overuse, see your physiotherapist. The earlier, the better
  • Don’t continue movements that cause you pain. Building on our last point - you have a much higher risk of your injury progressing if you keep performing movements that cause pain, tenderness, tingling, pinching or any discomfort
  • Consider wrist guards - if the movements you perform at work are repetitive and non-negotiable, consider wearing wrist guards to better protect your wrists and reduce the likelihood of developing an injury

Here at The Physio, it is our goal to help you optimise your health, so you can realise your full potential. This means showing you how you can manage and prevent pain and injuries to the hands and wrists, and if they do arise, treat them effectively and prevent them from coming back in the future.

To book your appointment, call us on (07) 4638 3022 or book your appointment online here.


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We offer an inclusive range of world-class services from hands-on treatments to lifestyle training and education with which makes our excellent physiotherapy care evident.
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