Problems of the hand, wrist, and arm affect many adults and are often due to repetitive work tasks, athletic activities, or simple actions in their daily lives. Pain and nerve impairment of the arm, wrist, or elbow can become intense and can make doing ordinary tasks more difficult or even impossible.
Tendonitis is caused by inflammation of a tendon. It is a very common condition that can be caused by overuse of an area of the body, repetitive movements, or an injury to the area. Physical examination, patient reporting of symptoms, and X-rays to rule out other problems are generally used to diagnose tendonitis.
The first line of treatment for tendonitis usually includes the RICE technique: rest, icing, compression, and elevation. Anti-inflammatory medications are often recommended. If symptoms continue, your doctor may administer steroid injections or platelet-rich plasma to encourage healing. Physical therapy may be necessary in some cases. Surgery is generally the last resort to repair the tendon.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a hollow area in the wrist that the median nerve passes through. Repetitive movements or injury can cause compression of the nerve, resulting in wrist pain, numbness or tingling in the fingers, and impairment of movement. Computer use has increased the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome because the hand must be held in the same position over the keyboard for long periods of time while working.
The condition is diagnosed through physical examination, X-rays, ultrasounds, and nerve tests. Your doctor may advise over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, splinting the wrist, and rest to relieve discomfort. Steroid injections can also help relieve symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome but affects comfort and function in the elbow rather than the wrist. It may affect nerves in the ring and pinky finger while carpal tunnel syndrome affects the thumb and other two fingers.
Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive movements of the elbow, compression of the elbow during sleep, or injury to the elbow. Physical examination, X-rays, and nerve tests are used to diagnose the condition. Treatment generally includes resting the elbow, bracing the elbow, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, and special exercises. Sometimes, surgery is needed.
Although tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and cubital tunnel syndrome can be troublesome problems that affect your ability to do daily tasks effectively, the providers at WFMC Health offer treatments to reduce discomfort from these conditions and restore normal movement.