OVERVIEW OF ELBOW & WRIST PAIN ?

Elbow and wrist pain is a common condition with various causes. When pain occurs, it can interfere with day-to-day activities and even impact a person’s quality of life.

Most cases of elbow pain are due to strained or inflamed soft tissues such as tendons or ligaments. Repetitive movements from everyday work, household chores, golf, or tennis can affect the muscles above and below the elbow.

Wrist pain can develop due to a sudden impact or injury. For example, a wrist sprain can cause pain if a ligament is overstretched.

By employing the appropriate treatment, you can treat elbow and wrist pain successfully.

WHAT CAUSES ELBOW & WRIST PAIN

  • Ligament tears

Ligament tears include intercarpal ligaments and finger collateral ligaments. Signs of a ligament injury include pain and swelling. The wrist may also look bruised or discoloured, and feel painful for several weeks. In some cases, a ligament injury may go undiagnosed, causing the joint to heal improperly.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpel tunnel syndrome is a condition that develops when a ligament thickens and puts pressure on a nerve. Symptoms include pain, numbness, and weakness in the hand. It occurs mainly due to repetitive work that involves lifting, typing, or using equipment that vibrates the hand. People who are obese or with diabetes are at an increased risk. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to weakness and lack of coordination in your fingers and thumb.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where healthy tissues are broken down by the body’s immune system. Symptoms include red, swollen, painful joints, and reduced mobility and flexibility. Because RA is a progressive disease, symptoms typically get worse. If left untreated, it can cause severe damage to the joints and serious complications in the major organs.

  • Wrist tendonitis

Occurs when the tendons of the wrist develop inflammation and/or small tears.  Symptoms include pain that radiates up to the elbow, swelling and stiffness. Left untreated, wrist tendinosis can lead to more severe tendon injury and even breakage.

  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

A painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. If you have de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, it will probably hurt when you turn your wrist, grasp anything or make a fist. Any activity that relies on repetitive hand or wrist movement such as playing golf or racket sports can make it worse. Left untreated, the pain may spread further into your thumb, back into your forearm or both.

  • Ganglion cyst

Non-cancerous lumps that most commonly develop along the tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. They’re typically round or oval and are filled with a jelly-like fluid. Smaller cysts often tend to hurt more than large cysts. The most common symptoms of a ganglion cyst include a visible lump, discomfort, and pain. If left untreated, an infection could occur.

  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injury

These tears are usually caused by an injury. For example, falling and landing on an outstretched hand can damage the cartilage, tendons, or ligaments in your TFCC. Main symptoms include pain along the outside of your wrist or pain when you move your wrist or apply pressure to it. If left untreated, a complete tear will lead to persistent instability.

  • Medial epicondylitis

Known as the golfer’s elbow and affects the inner tendons in the elbow. The repetitive throwing motion used in baseball and the downward swing of a golf club are common causes. It can also be the result of a repetitive hand motion, such as swinging a hammer every day at work. Wrist movements in particular can trigger pain. Left untreated, golfer’s elbow eventually could cause permanent disability—loss of grip strength, chronic pain, and limited range of elbow motion.

  • Lateral epicondylitis

Known as the tennis elbow and affects the outer tendons in the elbow. Playing racquet sports or working in certain professions that use the same sort of motion can cause this condition. Symptoms such as pain or burning occur along the outside of the elbow. You also may experience problems with gripping. If left untreated, tennis elbow can progress into a debilitating injury that could eventually require surgery.

 

What are the symptoms of Elbow & Wrist Pain?

  • Inability to carry objects or use the arm
  • Pain at night or while resting
  • Persistent pain
  • Inability to straighten the joint
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Numbness and tingling

 

What are the treatment options for Elbow & Wrist Pain?

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound is used to diagnose if there are positive signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, common tendinitis, ligament tears of carpal bones/fingers, ganglion cysts and triangular cartilage tears. Small cortical fractures not seen on ultrasound may also be detected. Ultrasound diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other arthritis can also be made.

  • Conservative therapy such as physiotherapy and rehabilitation

Physical therapy can help to reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness. There are two main types of physical therapy—passive and active treatments. Physical therapy, though effective, has a long road to recovery and may not be suitable for those who are seeking quick and effective solutions to help you get back on your feet in no time.

  • Regenerative injection

Regenerative treatment includes steroid injection for tenosynovitis that affects the tendons of the wrist such as De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. PRP can be given for muscle and tendon partial tears and tendinosis. PRP can also be given for partial tears of ligaments in the wrist while steroid injections can be given for painful joints with arthritis.

Read More About Regenerative Injections

  • Surgery for the Elbow & Wrist

Surgery of the wrist is mainly done for injury and repair of the triangular cartilage ligament of the wrist.

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