Repetitive use injuries are among the most common injuries that you can experience, no matter what industry you work in. Among the most common are repetitive hand-use injuries. After all, everyone uses their hands!
The most common repetitive hand-use injuries include:
- Tendinitis: Tendinitis is an injury that impacts the hand and wrist. This injury occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed due to repetitive stress. Tendons are cords of tissue that help connect the bones and muscles together. Inflammation can lead to pain, tenderness, and swelling. Tendonitis is extremely common in individuals who use their hands, and may worsen after physical activity.
- De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: Similar to tendonitis, De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis occurs when there is irritation in the tendons. This injury involves swelling to the tendons that run from the thumb to the wrist, which irritates the thin sheath that protects them. The result is swelling, pain, and tenderness. This injury is common in individuals who use their hands for fine movements, such as using small tools, knitting, or lifting.
- Stenosing Tenosynovitis: This injury is sometimes called “trigger finger”, because it causes a finger to be stuck in the bent position. Stenosing Tenosynovitis occurs when the sheath-like coating on the flexor tendons (located on the palm) are constricted. The constriction causes pain during flexing of the fingers, and may impede flexing altogether.
- Capsulitis: Our joints are surrounded by ligaments, which are bands of fibrous, tough connective tissue. Ligaments help protect joints and ensure they function properly. When ligaments become inflamed, the entire joint can be compromised. This inflammation is called capsulitis. Capsulitis can occur in any joint of the body, and causes pain, stiffness, and swelling.
If you work in an occupation that requires repetitive use of your hands, you may have experienced any of these injuries. Many repetitive use injuries get worse over time. Always consult a healthcare provider if you believe you have been injured due to your occupation.