Whether your hands are overworked in the garden or the kitchen, on construction projects or a computer keyboard, arthritis and finger strain can be painful and limiting. If you’re part of the 80% of American adults that rely on a regular paycheck just to survive, stopping using your hands for your work is simply not an option.
Reducing Joint Pain
When the joints of the hand and wrist are overworked by full-time manual labor, arthritis can set in as early as during a person’s thirties. Softening the effects of repeated stress of your work on these important joints can help. Flexible braces can be helpful by supporting problem joints. One such help is the short thumb spica. These surround the wrist and support the base of the thumb, helping to eliminate thumb pain. If you have arthritis in your wrist or suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist braces like these can help control the motion of your wrist. Bracing is not limited to the wrists and hands, of course. Many arthritic joints, from ankles to segments of the spine, can benefit from bracing.
While bracing can help manage arthritis, because it restricts joint motion, it can also produce weakened muscles. The potential ill-effects of bracing can be avoided through regularly performing various stretching and strengthening techniques.
Responding to Finger Trauma
For those hands-on types, finger injuries can be frightening. Even though your life is not in danger, the fear that your livelihood might be can be crippling. Perhaps that’s part of the reason many people panic more readily when they experience trauma to their fingers than they do with similar injuries to their hips, knees, ankles, or other joints. Whether a finger is crushed, sliced, or jammed, it will probably heal and return to full functionality soon.
If you try to bend and straighten your finger and have success, you can be assured that the tendons and other support structures are all in good working order. Of course, that ability may be lessened due to swelling—something fingers tend to do quite well! Because fingers are extremely slow to drain, swelling can continue for months after an injury. If you experience continued pain and bruising in addition to the swelling, you may want to have your injury evaluated and x-rayed. You’ll want to check with your doctor before you resume use of your injured finger, but as long as you’re cleared, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by keeping it out of commission for longer than needed. If you do overly baby your digits, stiffness and hypersensitivity can result.
Even though the thought of discontinued hand or finger use can be a frightening one, discussing your concerns with your doctor or physical therapist can help you know how to handle pain and trauma to these important joints. Knowledge can indeed be powerful in waylaying your fears.
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C.
Daniel Baumstark and his professional team of physical therapists operate a boutique physical therapy office in downtown Washington, D.C. From athletes to government officials, and from ballerinas to corporate executives, PhysioDC helps people recover, strengthen and return to healthy living. Visit their website at www.PhysioDC.com or call them at 202-223-8500.