Most active adults enjoy exercising and appreciate the benefits of working out to remain strong and fit. However, if you start experiencing elbow or wrist pain, it’s sometimes easier to give up training for fear of further damaging your arm or the physical pain you experience. This article looks at five common causes of wrist and elbow pain and how physical therapy helps.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow refers to an overuse injury that develops when the tendons that extend your wrist become damaged. It’s a common overuse injury characterized by the inflammation of the tendon fibers attaching your forearm muscles to your elbow.

According to a British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) report, elbow pain in the dominant arm is found in 20-50 percent of tennis players but it’s also equally common in dental hygienists, surgeons, athletes, manual laborers, and those caring for young children. It can also affect you if you twist your wrist repeatedly or use a computer keyboard frequently.

Although tendinitis can be painful, it rarely becomes chronic if caught and treated early. At Peak Physiotherapy and Performance, we use joint manipulation coupled with corrective exercises to tackle elbow tendinitis.

Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow is an overuse injury that leads to elbow tendon inflammation on the inside of your elbow. This injury occurs as a result of the overuse of the tendons that flex your wrist. In turn, the pain felt occurs on the opposite side of your forearm compared to tennis elbow. Driving, gripping objects, turning door knobs, desk work and weightlifting can all cause the pain to worsen. The reason this injury typically occurs in golfers is due to the combination of gripping and twisting of the forearm when swinging the club. Treatment involves corrective exercises, dry needling, taping exercises, and modifying your daily activities to reduce pain.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to a type of nerve entrapment in the hand caused by the compression of the median nerve by a swelling in the carpal tunnel of the wrist. The carpal tunnel is the space in your wrist where nine tendons and a nerve pass between your forearm and hand.

The median nerve pressure may cause several symptoms including:

  • Pain or tingling in your hand, wrist, and fingers
  • A sensation that your hand is swollen
  • Weakened grip
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands
  • Problems in fine finger movements

This condition is common in individuals who use their wrist consistently, grip tightly, or perform repetitive hand and wrist motions such as typists, dental hygienists, cashiers, cyclists, or musicians.

There are numerous nonsurgical treatment courses for the syndrome such as corrective exercise, nerve glides, braces or splints to rest the wrist, and adjustments to how you perform your daily activities.

Sprained Wrist

A sprained wrist refers to an injury to its ligaments, which are the tough fibrous tissue brands connecting the bones to one another. The wrist contains numerous joints and links 15 separate bones. You can easily tear the ligaments connecting these bones when you extremely twist, bend, or impact your wrist beyond its normal motion range.

Wrist sprains are fairly rare in the workplace or everyday life. However, for athletes, hand and wrist injuries account for three to nine percent of all sports injuries. Additionally, wrist sprains are linked to at least 36 Olympic events and are common in barbell sports due to lifting heavy weights in the front rack position. It’s also common in golfers, CrossFit athletes, rock climbers, and in people whose occupation or hobbies involve repetitive gripping activities.

Biceps Tendinitis

Biceps tendinitis refers to an irritation or inflammation of your upper biceps tendon (proximal), which connects your biceps muscle to your shoulder bones. It can also occur in your lower biceps tendon (distal), in which case you will feel the pain in the front of your elbow.

You will feel pain in either the front of your shoulder or the front of your elbow. The pain is usually aching that causes weakness with shoulder and elbow movements. Typically, movements that work the biceps will aggravate the pain. Aggravating movements include flexing the elbow, turning a steering wheel, reaching overhead or turning a door knob.

Non-surgical treatments include rest, icing the area, isometric exercises, soft tissue massage, dry needling to tight muscles, and physical therapy.

Get Help for Your Elbow or Wrist Pain Today

Peak Physiotherapy and Performance offers effective treatment solutions for athletes and active adults looking to recover from injury, stop the pain, or train during rehab using corrective exercises, cupping therapy, joint manipulation, and dry needling. As an expert in treating elbow and wrist-related pain for active adults, I can help you treat your pain and get you back to training or working. Contact us  or schedule a Free Phone Consultation today to get help for your elbow and wrist pain.

About the Author

Dr. Andrew Junak is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist. Dr. Junak received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Walsh University and completed his Orthopedic Specialist training at the Cleveland Clinic. He is the owner of Peak Physiotherapy and Performance, a physical therapy clinic in Canal Winchester, Ohio. He serves the local communities of Lancaster, Grove City, Pickerington, and Columbus. Dr. Junak is passionate about helping people solve their problems in order to get them back to doing the things they love.

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