One of the most difficult joint pains that you could ever have is that which you feel on your hands and wrists. Unlike your elbow or your ankle, the hand consists of more bones, to be exact 27 bones. So, when you experience discomfort in your hand, life is harder. We need our hands in almost anything and everything that we do, especially if your job entails you to be in front of a computer on a daily basis. Pain on your wrists can impinge you from moving properly and can actually make you less productive in your work. Athletes will also experience the same thing. If athletes have joint pain on their wrists, playing their favourite sport can be harder.
In gymnastics, your hand is used a lot. Your wrists bear tremendous weight. You use your wrists with forces that exceed normal daily activities. A gymnast’s wrist is more inclined to injuries because of the routines of your chosen sport. How? You place the body’s weight on the wrist, you jolt your wrists because of the fast movement required by the sport and because of these can result to injuries which can be acute or chronic. You are more prone to fractures, dislocations and sprains. Some wrists injuries can be treated ordinarily with rest, ice, compression and elevation. Chronic injuries like dorsal wrist impingement can be more serious and require specific treatment.
What is Dorsal Wrist Impingement?
If you are a gymnast this is the most common injury that you can experience. It is because of repetitive combinations of hyperextension and axial loading. The extending or straightening of the joints beyond its normal range of motion and placing too much force on the wrist joints can cause dorsal wrist impingement. You will usually experience this type of injury during routines like walkovers and handsprings. If you do a lot of vault or balance bean, the injury can intensify because of the weight you put on the wrist specifically during a handstand. The symptoms are felt when there is pain and tenderness on the backside of the wrist. This pain usually subsides after the routine.
Make sure you have your wrists x-rayed immediately. Immediate diagnosis is needed so that the fractures can be identified by a physician if there are fractures. Have your injury evaluated when the pain is first felt. Do not postpone visiting the physician because this can lead to more serious injury and recovery can be longer.
What to Do When You Have It?
Here are some ways to treat Dorsal Wrist Impingement. First off, there are the tried-and-true methods of dealing with any joint pain.
REST – Since the pain is felt because of internal inflammation, the immediate solution is to take the weight off the joint for long periods and keep the inflamed area from being used. Rest is something that should always be part of when you are trying to recover from a wrist injury.
ICE – Ice is a similarly sensible response to inflammation of any sort. This will help keep the swelling down and reduce the sensitivity of the muscles as well, hopefully bringing down the level of pain.
ELEVATION – Elevation is usually used in tandem with the above two, as it helps keep swelling down. Even something as simple as putting a pillow under the wrist when one is seated (with the leg extended) will help.
MEDS – Anti-inflammatory medication tends to be a good partner for any or all of the above treatments. NSAIDs that your doctor recommends are your best bet – don’t self-medicate, as some may have side effects that disagree with your constitution.
After this initial phase, some follow-up treatments can be found to be helpful as well.
- Deep tissue massage has been identified as a necessary step for treatment before moving on to the next level. Frequent massage will be helpful – a daily one for advanced runners and two to three times a week. It is of course preferred that one get a massage from a certified therapist, but some can use foam rollers for the same purpose.
- Stretching is often paired with the deep tissue massage, although this must be designed and done properly to prevent aggravation of the condition.
Strengthening the Wrists
After some time you may have to strengthen your hands again so that you can go back to your usual activities. Gather enough strength built up to be able to do eccentric strengthening, which will work out for your actual sport. Follow a program set by your physical therapist to make your recovery faster.
Wearing Compression Garments help alleviate the pain caused by Dorsal Wrist Impingement. Wearing compression gloves during the early stages of the condition can even prevent it to worsen. Experts and doctors advice people who experience this kind of injury wear such garments to promote blood circulation in the affected area and allow faster recovery from an injury.
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