Hand & Forearm Injury Interventions
Do you work with your hands? Gripping, pulling, pushing, lifting, carrying, keying, mousing, twisting, turning, opening/closing - we use our hands for countless actions each day. Repetitive movements create micro-traumas, which over time may develop into a 'repetitive stress injury' (RSI) - defined as damage and pain associated with inflammation, tissue damage and muscle strain from repeated tasks. There are some common RSIs you may have heard from your doctor including 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome' and 'Lateral/Medial Epicondylitis' (a.k.a. "Tennis/Golfer's Elbow"). These are very common soft tissue injuries we see in clinic and may impact many dimensions of anatomy (e.g. fascia, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and vessels).
Our soft tissues are a continuum that work in concert to create movement. When an injury occurs, the trauma causes restriction between these structures. At this point of injury, tissues become "congested", "gummy", or "restricted" which may limit mobility and create pain. The techniques outlined in this article are meant to a help with pain and improve mobility in the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. We can improve mobility through the manipulation of soft tissue layers, restoring muscle strength and improving neuromuscular stability.
To restore proper movement, we must work on mobility on a segmental level (i.e. the elbow joint), AND on an integrated level (i.e. the mobility of all joints even remotely connected to the elbow - elbow, radio-ulnar, shoulder, scapulo-thoracic, acromio-clavicular, spine, hips - and the list goes on!). Said another way, to heal from an isolated injury, we must restore proper movement in that isolated area, segmental, as well as in other parts of the body further away from the area, integrated mobility.
Below I share with you two examples of the application of 1) soft tissue mobilization and 2) integrated corrective exercises, to improve soft tissue mobility associated with upper extremity injuries.
VIDEO 1: Forearm Soft Tissue Technique
Frequency - perform 2-3 x/week ('as needed')
Intensity - "mild to moderate", avoid painful movements
Movement - move slowly through wrist/hand/finger flexion and extension
Repetitions - perform 6-8 reps of each movement at each trigger point
Sets - move through 2-3 trigger points for each set
Focus/Goal - create 'mild to moderate' pressure at each trigger point increasing mobility of wrist/hand/fingers
*** Avoid painful movements during and following technique
VIDEO 2: Upper Extremity Corrective Exercise
Utilize this daily hygiene corrective exercise to improve range of motion of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, while integrating control through the lower body, pelvis/hips, and spine. As I mentioned, our body does not operate in isolation. But rather, it is a continuum of integrated soft tissues, organs and bones.
Frequency - 1-5 x/day
Intensity - "mild to moderate"
Hold - 6-8 second holds at highest 'tension' point
Repetitions - perform 6-8 reps of each movement
Sets - 1 series of movements each bout
Focus/Goal - to create 'active tension' through the body using musculature from the feet, hips, spine, shoulders and head. It is not simply putting a 'stretch' on a single area of the body (i.e. chest stretch).
For more information on how we can help please contact us directly.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to replace Medical advice from a Physician. Consult a Physician prior to beginning any new exercise, dietary or lifestyle changes.