Gardening should be an enjoyable, minimally stressful activity. It’s a good way to keep busy in an outdoor environment and is great for physical and mental health. For gardeners, wrists and hands are the most important tools you have, but because of this, they are also the most susceptible to pain and injury.
Our director, Dr Anne Wajon (PhD), has just been inaugurated as the President of the International Federation of the Society of Hand Therapists (IFSHT). at the recent Triennial Congress in Buenos Aires.
Many people who enjoy knitting may experience pain or discomfort in the hands or wrist at some point. The repetitive actions involved with knitting exposes one to the development of a number of conditions, the foremost being Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, trigger thumb or De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.
Ulnar neuritis, also known as ulnar neuropathy or cubital tunnel syndrome, is the inflammation or compression of the ulnar nerve which can cause symptoms such as pins and needles, numbness or weakness in the hand and arm. The ulnar nerve is one of the three main nerves in the arm and it supplies sensation and muscle power to the little finger, ring finger and half of the forearm.
What is it?
Basal Thumb Strain – also known as CMC osteoarthritis – is a condition that develops gradually over time. Pain at the base of the thumb is particularly common in post-menopausal women in the fifth to seventh decades of life. It is frequently located either at the palmar surface of the trapeziometa-carpal joint, or more dorsally, between the base of the first and second metacarpals.
The finger is a perfectly balanced anatomic structure. There are many important factors at play which ensure normal finger movement and correct positioning. When something disturbs this balance, the finger’s normal alignment and function may also be disturbed. This can result in what is called a ‘swan neck’ deformity where the finger becomes crooked due to a collapse in the equilibrium of structures supporting the finger.
What is a wrist injury?
A wrist injury can occur from different mechanisms. It may develop over time or it can be from a specific incident like a fall. An injury to the wrist can cause pain, numbness, and fatigue as well as affect the way in which you move your hand and the ability to be able to use it. A hand therapist will be able to assess your wrist to determine the cause of the injury and administer appropriate treatment.
The thumb is an extremely mobile joint that demonstrates a wide range of movement. A thumb injury can be broadly defined as anything that causes pain or discomfort in the thumb – sometimes this occurs without direct impact to the area itself. The scenario above sounds like a soft tissue injury at the base of the thumb, but this is just one of many common thumb injuries.
Giving a careful history and having a clinical examination from a hand therapist will assist in confirming the diagnosis. Read more
What is it?
Elbow tendinopathy – commonly known as tennis elbow or epicondylitis – is an injury to the muscles that extend from the elbow to the wrist. Pain can manifest in different places down the arm (and sometimes even in the neck), generally in the lateral epicondyle, which is the bony outer part of the elbow where muscles from the hand and wrist are attached. Symptoms lasting more than 6 weeks are considered sub-acute, whereas those lasting more than three months are considered chronic.