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.
The most common injuries we see and treat here at The Physio include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
If your job requires repetitive movement of the hands, wrists and arms, you can help reduce your risk of injury by:
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.