The elbow, wrist and hand are often injured during sports, work activities or from overuse. Without the appropriate intervention, these injuries can affect normal daily functions like dressing, self care, food preparation and work activities. Treating the upper extremities requires an intimate knowledge of the complex anatomy and joint mechanics of the elbow, wrist and hand.
Physical Therapy for Elbow, Wrist & Hand
- Assess range of motion, strength and function
- Form a plan of care that will return the patient to the activities they want to resume.
- Treat patient and reassess.
Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis that occurs on the outside of the elbow. People with Tennis Elbow have pain in the elbow with gripping and lifting activities. Often the elbow is painful at night. Physical Therapy provides strategies to continue normal activities but take the stress off the tendon and facilitate healing. As the tendon heals, a program of stretching will ensure a good repair and prevent re-injury.
Fractures of the Elbow
Fractures around the elbow occur during sporting activities, accidents or falls. Fractures may require orthopedic surgery followed by physical therapy to restore strength and range of motion.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is located on the palmar surface of the wrist. The carpal tunnel contains several tendons and the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tendons become inflamed and start to press on the median nerve. This causes pain and weakness in the wrist and hand. Pain is often worse at night. Some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can be resolved with physical therapy alone. Other cases require a surgery followed by physical therapy to achieve a good resolution.
Fractures of the Hand
Fractures of the wrist and hand can occur from falls, accidents at work, auto accidents and other events. Some fractures require surgery, others require immobilization in a splint or cast. Surgery and immobilization cause weakness, scar tissue, loss of range of motion and loss of function. Physical Therapy is essential to restore the hand and wrist to full function as quickly as possible.
Arthritis in the wrist and hand can limit a persons ability to do their usual daily activities. In severe cases it can affect their ability to do basic tasks such as dressing and bathing. A good Physical Therapy program help people with arthritis manage their condition effectively to preserve the maximum amount of function in the wrist and hand.