Your hands are one of the most useful and important parts of your body. They are made up of 27 bones and many muscles, tendons, and ligaments that allow you to perform a wide range of daily and complex issues. Unfortunately, your hands are also susceptible to injury. When you have a hand injury or a condition, it can greatly limit how much you can do. Fortunately, hand therapy can be an effective way to help improve your function and reduce your pain.
Common hand injuries and conditions
The complex nature of your hands can make them vulnerable to injuries or conditions. When either of your hands is causing you pain, it can significantly limit your ability to accomplish tasks. Common hand injuries and conditions are:
- Hand fractures — Hand fractures can result from a fall, a sports injury or even a simple bump. Symptoms of a hand fracture can include pain, swelling, bruising and difficulty in moving your hand.
- Tendinitis — Tendinitis is caused by the inflammation of your tendons due to injury or overuse. Tendinitis can affect any tendon in your body, even your hand. It most commonly affects the tendons that help your fingers bend. Symptoms of tendinitis can cause you to experience pain, swelling and difficulty moving the affected finger or fingers.
- Osteoarthritis — Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that commonly affects the hands. Osteoarthritis of the hands causes pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints. It can also limit how much you can move your wrist and fingers.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome — Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the wrist becomes compressed or pinched. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause you to experience pain, numbness, tingling and other symptoms in your hands, wrist and fingers.
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis — De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is caused by inflammation in the tendons responsible for thumb movement. Symptoms you may experience include pain, swelling and tenderness over the affected thumb.
- Dupuytren’s disease — Dupuytren’s disease is a condition that causes the tissue under the skin of your palm to thicken. This can cause your fingers to bend toward the palm and significantly restrict your ability to extend your fingers normally.
- Trigger finger — Trigger finger is a condition where one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position that resembles the action of pulling a trigger. It can be caused by inflammation in the tendons of the affected finger, causing you to have difficulty in bending or straightening your finger smoothly.
- Nerve compression syndromes — While carpal tunnel syndrome is a commonly known hand issue, it is also possible to experience pain, tingling or weakness in the hand and fingers due to cubital tunnel syndrome or radial tunnel syndrome. These conditions are caused when the nerves in the forearm or elbow are compressed, similar to the median nerve in the wrist for carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is hand therapy?
Hand therapy is a specialized field of physical therapy that can hold the power to help transform lives, one hand at a time. A skilled physical therapist can guide you through treatments and techniques chosen for your personalized treatment plan to help you meet your recovery goals. The goals of hand therapy can include:
- Reducing pain — Hand pain can keep you from doing everyday activities and impact your quality of life. Hand therapy can help reduce your pain by helping improve your range of motion, strength and flexibility.
- Improving range of motion — Your physical therapist may use stretching and strengthening exercises to help improve your joint movement so that your hand is at optimal flexibility.
- Increasing strength — Strengthening hand muscles is essential to regain your ability to complete everyday tasks. Hand therapy is intended to target specific muscle groups to help improve your hand strength, boosting your ability to complete tasks again efficiently.
- Restoring function — Hand therapy aims to help restore your ability to perform your normal daily tasks. This may include learning new techniques or using adaptive equipment to help improve your functionality.
Hand therapy techniques that can help injuries and conditions
Skilled physical therapists use various techniques and treatments to help hand injuries and conditions based on each person’s needs and concerns. Some common hand therapy methods include:
- Exercises — Targeted exercises can help improve your range of motion, strength and flexibility. Your physical therapist may have you complete these in the clinic and at home to boost their effectiveness.
- Stretches — Stretching exercises can help improve your flexibility and mobility. Improvements can help you regain and maintain a broad range of hand movements.
- Joint mobilization — Your physical therapist may use joint mobilization to help promote proper alignment and reduce stiffness. They will guide your hand, wrist and arm gently through their normal range of motion to help return your grasp and dexterity.
- Myofascial release — Myofascial release is a gentle manual technique. A physical therapist uses sustained pressure and gentle stretches to encourage the fascia to release. The fascial release allows for improved tissue mobility and pain reduction.
- Dry needling — Certified physical therapists can perform dry needling. Thin, sterile needles are inserted into trigger points within muscles and soft tissue. Dry needling is intended to help release tension and alleviate pain by promoting muscle relaxation and circulation improvement.
- Graston Technique® — The Graston Technique uses specially designed stainless steel instruments to help break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions. It can help enhance mobility, reduce adhesions and promote faster healing.
Under the gentle guidance of REPAIR SI, you can alleviate pain with hand therapy
REPAIR SI offers specialized hand therapy that includes tailored interventions and cutting-edge, evidence-based techniques for those suffering from hand conditions and injuries. You can find solace and healing in the hands of our skilled and expert team. We can help you regain freedom filled with movement, comfort and limitless possibilities.