We talk a lot about healthy hearts, healthy hair, healthy skin, and a healthy gut. While these are all great, important things to take care of, we focus on these popular body parts and neglect others that we put under large amounts of stress every day. So today we’re bringing your hands out from under the table and into the light for a quick examination.
When is the last time you thought about how to care for your hands? Hand health is more than clipping your fingernails, washing after using the restroom, and applying lotion. We actively use our hands in nearly everything we do, and those that we don’t likely involve your hands playing a supporting role.
Because they are always either on stage or waiting in the wings for their cue, your hands can take quite a beating. Before you know it, your fingers are cramped and your tendons are inflamed up to your elbows–neither of which feels all that lovely.
What Causes Hand Inflammation and Pain?
Because we use our hands constantly, even to gesture as we speak passionately about a topic, it may be difficult to pin down exactly what is causing the pain in your fingers, hands, or wrists. However, you can usually suspect repetitive or strenuous activities that focus on the use of your hands. Things like practicing the violin, typing on a keyboard, extensive writing, or playing tennis can all result in conditions like tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
But the main causes of these conditions that also perpetuate the symptoms?
- Overuse – Doing too much? You may experience warmth and redness in the area first.
- Erroneous Ergonomics – Being lazy or silly? You might notice grinding in your joints.
- Injury – Already present swelling could be present elsewhere as you compensate for the use of your hand.
How Can You Treat Hand Conditions?
If you notice any of these symptoms present in your fingers, hands, wrists, or forearms, do yourself a favor: STOP. Take a moment to be smart about how you’re treating yourself. Ask yourself if any of these solutions will bring you relief and/or eliminate the problem altogether.
Rest – Give your hands a break from the activity causing you pain. Immobilize the offending joint(s), then take further action if needed. Apply ice, use a brace, or take anti-inflammatory medication as directed.
Correct Ergonomics – Learn how you should be positioning your hands and work on changing your bad habits immediately. It’s definitely helpful to invest in ergonomically beneficial products like foam pads to use with your current set up or a new keyboard, chair, or desk.
Medical Procedures – If your condition is too far along, specialists like BHD Orthopedic Surgery can help you assess the extent of your damage, then recommend solutions that may include a cortisone shot or a surgical procedure to relieve pain like a trigger finger or carpal tunnel release.
How Can You Prevent Future Hand Problems?
Now that you’ve begun to treat the condition, it’s time to make a few changes in your hand habits. Continue using those new ergonomic gadgets that help you most. You should also start taking frequent breaks where your hands can recuperate from the steady strain.
And before you begin a strenuous activity, you should warm up those muscles and tendons you use most. Just like your body with an intense sport, you should be stretching and strengthening the muscles and ligaments in your hands so they can hold up when they are in the middle of the action.