Upper extremity injuries are common in today’s society as a result of athletic activities, job related functions and trauma.
Two of the most common injuries are Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Tennis Elbow is characterized by localized pain on the lateral (outside) aspect of the elbow. Pain increases with gripping activities, and decreased grip strength may be noticed. Tendon inflammation causes pain which is the most common symptom associated with this injury. Common causes include excessive typing, repetitive mouse use on the computer, prolonged gripping activities such as power tool and yard equipment usage, initiation of an exercise program.
Treatment includes decreasing inflammation, increasing muscle flexibility, strength and endurance and potential use of an elbow brace.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is characterized by numbness and/or tingling in the thumb and first two fingers of the hand. Pressure is placed on the median nerve from repetitive use of the fingers and hand. Common contributing factors include repetitive gripping and use of the hands with typing or improper ergonomics with computer desk setup.
Treatment protocols include decreasing inflammation, increasing muscle flexibility, strength and endurance and potential splinting of the wrist.
Other Common Elbow and Hand Dysfunctions:
Cuboidal Tunnel Syndrome- Impingement of the ulnar nerve on the medial side of the elbow
DeQuervian’s Tenosynovitis- Inflammation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist
Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture- Tearing of the distal biceps tendon due to sudden injury to the elbow
Elbow Fracture or Dislocation- Shift or break of the ulna or radius due to an accident such as a fall or overpressure with lifting, pulling or pushing
Golfers’ Elbow- Inflammation of the tendons on the medial (inside) aspect of the elbow casued by repetitive motion and overuse
Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury- Torn ligament due to repetitive throwing motion and overuse
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