Workplace Hand Injuries
Despite all the amazing things our bodies can do, it is easy to take our hands for granted. This intricate organ comprised of 27 bones is something many of us depend on constantly and presume we will always be able to use. However, if our hand becomes injured, we realize how fragile they can be and how important it is they heal correctly.
Many workplace hand injuries are categorized as Repetitive Strain Injuries, or RSI. Typing, using a computer mouse, or swiping items at the grocery store are examples of motions that can cause an RSI injury. Symptoms of RSI include burning, aching, and shooting pain as well as tremors, clumsiness, and numbness. Fatigue or lack of strength as well as chronically cold hands are also symptoms of RSI. Leaving these symptoms untreated may eventually cause them to become constant and have longer periods of pain. Untreated symptoms can also develop swelling in the affected area, which can last for several months.
When tendonitis of the hand is caused by repeatedly pinching or twisting something with the thumb such as lifting a coffee mug or peeling vegetables, it is also considered an RSI, an umbrella term including carpal tunnel syndrome and other overuse injuries. Defined as being damage to muscles, tendons, nerves, and joints through repeated micro-trauma, adequate rest is crucial. After a hand injury, many people try to determine on their own how much rest and how much exercise is needed. This can be harmful and prevent appropriate healing. Following the care of a physical therapist is a responsible approach to healing a hand injury correctly.
There are many ways physical therapy can treat an RSI hand injury. Modalities to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, decrease pain, and reeducate muscles all support hand injury healing. The most important approach of physical therapy, however, is manual, hands-on techniques and exercise instruction. This can increase muscular flexibility, joint range of movement, muscular strength, and endurance. This type of care is different for each injury. These individualized plans need to be monitored closely and progressed slowly by a physical therapist.
It is important to treat an RSI in the early stages. While rest is a crucial factor in healing, stretching exercises such as the prayer stretch, clutching stretch, and finger pull stretch will allow your muscles and tendons to become looser and your hands to regain more movement. A physical therapist will know which exercises are appropriate for your specific injury. Following the guidance and treatment of a physical therapist is crucial in the process of regaining full hand capability. Contact Everett Spine & Rehab and let one of our physical therapist treat your hand: 425-347-8614.