Your hands are your gateway to the world. Think about the most enjoyable memories in your life — as a parent, the feel of holding your newborn baby. Or maybe it’s the cool of the dirt as you dig your hands through your garden. Maybe it’s the swing of the golf club on a spring morning. Whatever you find joy in, your hands are usually necessary for participation. 

Aches and pain in your hands, wrist and fingers are common as you age, but there are certain warning signs that you should pay attention to in order to help prevent long-term damage. In this article, we’ll walk through two common hand injuries that can lead to long-term conditions if you aren’t careful. 

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand condition that can be caused by an injury or can be brought on by hereditary factors and/or age. Because the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist, any excessive, repetitive hand motion can cause the passageway to compress, thereby putting pressure on the median nerve and triggering pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand, wrist, and arm. 

Warning signs —While carpal tunnel syndrome typically starts with mild symptoms, over time the symptoms may worsen. If you find yourself up at night with chronic hand, wrist or arm pain, or not able to perform normal activities because of your symptoms, you should seek physical therapy treatment. 

Treatment —Physical therapy options such as manual therapy and occupational therapy can help relieve the ongoing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, if left untreated, this hand condition often worsens over time and can lead to serious injury and possible surgery. If you notice your daily activities being limited by carpal tunnel pain, it’s time to schedule a PT appointment right away.

  1. Trigger finger.

Though trigger finger is a type of hand condition that is not caused by injury, it still has the potential to worsen and create ongoing pain and limitations without treatment. Trigger finger is often described as a locking sensation when bending or straightening the finger. In many cases, medical conditions lead to this hand condition, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Warning signs —Continual usage of the finger will exacerbate the condition, possibly leading to severe hand injury. In some critical cases, the index finger will become stuck in a bent position. If you notice your finger “locking” during movement and pain and inflammation around the joint of the finger near the palm, you should schedule an appointment with a physical therapist before your hand condition worsens. 

Treatment —In some cases, keeping the finger in a splint overnight may help reduce the symptoms of this hand condition. Additionally, specific exercises and stretches performed under the guidance of a physical therapist can help alleviate the pain and improve the range of motion of the finger joint. 

Don’t let your hand injuries turn into long-term conditions! Seek help from Performance PT

Your hands are critical components of your quality of life. If you’re experiencing ongoing pain or symptoms of discomfort that worsen over time, you may have a hand injury that is turning into a more serious condition. You can turn to our team at Performance Physical Therapy for help. Our certified physical therapists can assess your injury and build you a personalized treatment plan to address it before it can become a long-term problem. 

Contact our team today to learn more about the services we offer for hand injuries and conditions or to schedule an appointment.