Do you use your hands when you work? Perhaps you’re a desk jockey whose keyboard is constantly used from 9 to 5 daily. You may be a carpenter bringing down a hammer or using a drill many times during the day. You may work in a factory or warehouse or be a musician who plays an instrument daily. If you work at any of these jobs and others that involve repetitive movements of the fingers, hand, and wrist, you may succumb to an overuse injury.
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Coastal Empire Orthopedics is the expert you want to see if you have a musculoskeletal injury involving your hand. It’s crucial to seek medical attention sooner rather than later if you have an overuse injury involving your hands, especially if you use them for your work. Delaying treatment can result in permanent muscle damage in some cases.
Following are some conditions that can cause pain and other troubling symptoms in your hand that can result from overuse in a work setting.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
If you have pain, numbness or weakness in your thumb or first three fingers, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition results from pressure on your median nerve, which extends from your shoulder down your arm, through your wrist, and into your fingers. The passage in your wrist that the nerve must go through to reach your fingers may have become too narrow from a swollen, irritated tendon; your nerve is compressed.
Carpal tunnel can result in permanent muscle damage if untreated. Dr. Shults works with you to help you find accommodations for your work that help relieve your symptoms. A split or curved keyboard helps if typing aggravates your condition; Dr. Shults recommends other accommodations for your specific work situation.
De Quervain syndrome
De Quervain’s is a type of tendonitis resulting in pain around the base of your thumb. It becomes difficult to grasp objects when the condition is severe.
You’ve overused your hand so that the two tendons near your thumb are irritated. Perhaps you’re a musician who plays a stringed instrument or a factory worker who must grasp objects using your thumb.
When you move your hand, the tendons must be able to glide easily under a protective sheath. When you use repetitive movements daily involving that part of your hand, the covering or the tendons can swell, making any movement difficult.
Does your finger get caught in a bent position so you can’t easily straighten it? Perhaps it becomes bent and then straightens with a popping sound. You may feel a tender bump at the base of the problem finger.
As with de Quervain syndrome, the tendon or its protective sheath in your finger has become irritated so that the tendon can’t glide easily when you try to move your finger. If you operate a machine, play an instrument, or use hand tools at work, you’re prone to this injury.
Muscle or tendon strain
Your hand is painful; is the skin on your hand swollen or bruised for no apparent reason? You may have a muscle or tendon strain. You may have stretched or torn the fibers in your soft tissue.
Customized treatment for hand pain
Depending on your diagnosis, Dr. Shults provides specific treatment to help relieve your symptoms. He may prescribe a splint for your thumb or wrist so that you rest the aggravated tendons, muscles, or nerves. Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication can ease your pain in the short term.
Once the inflammation subsides, Dr. Shults may prescribe physical therapy to help regain motion in your injured hand. You can do the exercises for the foreseeable future because they help prevent another attack of the condition causing your hand pain.
Dr. Shults can provide injections or perform surgery if your hand condition doesn’t resolve with conservative methods.
Call Seacoast Dermatology or book an appointment online today if you have undiagnosed hand pain.