Wrist & Hand Conditions

Learn more about the shoulder injuries and conditions we treat using physiotherapy:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the hand and wrist, causing numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand through a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel, becomes compressed or irritated.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow pathway in the wrist formed by bones and a thick ligament. It houses not only the median nerve but also several tendons that control finger movement.

When there is swelling or inflammation in the wrist, it can put pressure on the median nerve, leading to the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  1. Repetitive hand movements: Activities that involve repetitive motions of the hand and wrist, such as typing, using a computer mouse, or working with vibrating tools, can contribute to the development of CTS.
  2. Wrist position: Maintaining an awkward or flexed wrist position for prolonged periods, especially during activities like using a computer keyboard, can increase the risk of CTS.
  3. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, obesity, and hormonal changes during pregnancy, can increase the likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

What are the signs and symptoms of CTS?

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome typically begin gradually and may include:

  1. Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and ring finger.
  2. Pain or aching in the hand or forearm that may radiate up the arm.
  3. Weakness in the hand, causing difficulty in gripping objects or performing fine motor tasks.
  4. Sensation of swelling in the fingers without visible swelling.
  5. Symptoms may be more prominent at night.

What physiotherapy treatment is available for CTS?

Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), especially in mild to moderate cases. Physiotherapy aims to alleviate symptoms, improve hand function, and prevent further progression of the condition. Here are some common physiotherapy approaches for CTS:

  1. Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques such as joint mobilization, myofascial release, or massage may be used to reduce muscle tightness and improve circulation in the wrist and hand.
  2. Nerve Gliding Exercises: These exercises are designed to help the median nerve slide more freely within the carpal tunnel. Your physiotherapist will guide you through a series of movements and stretches to improve nerve mobility.
  3. Wrist and Hand Strengthening: Strengthening the muscles around the wrist and hand can help stabilize the wrist joint and reduce pressure on the median nerve. Your therapist may recommend specific exercises using resistance bands, hand grippers, or other equipment.
  4. Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle exercises to improve wrist and hand flexibility can be beneficial in reducing stiffness and pain associated with CTS.
  5. Posture and Ergonomics: Your physiotherapist may assess your work or daily activities to identify any ergonomic factors contributing to your CTS. They can then provide guidance on proper posture and ergonomics to reduce strain on the wrist.
  6. Bracing or Splinting: Wearing a wrist splint or brace, especially at night or during activities that worsen symptoms, can help keep the wrist in a neutral position and alleviate pressure on the median nerve.
  7. Education and Lifestyle Modifications: Your physiotherapist will educate you about CTS, including how to modify your daily activities to reduce strain on the wrist. This may involve changing your hand positions, taking breaks, or using assistive devices.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of physiotherapy for CTS can vary depending on the severity of the condition and individual factors. If you are suffering from CTS and would like to book an appointment with one of our experienced FCAMT physiotherapists, click here!

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

What is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, also known as De Quervain’s syndrome or De Quervain’s disease, is a painful condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist.

It occurs when the tendons that control the movement of the thumb become irritated or inflamed, typically as they pass through a tunnel-like structure on the side of the wrist. These tendons are responsible for the abduction and extension of the thumb, allowing it to move away from the hand.

What causes De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

The primary cause of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is overuse or repetitive motions of the thumb and wrist, which can lead to irritation of the tendons and their surrounding sheath (tenosynovium).

Common activities that can contribute to this condition include repetitive grasping, pinching, or twisting motions, which are often associated with certain jobs or hobbies.

What are the signs and symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

Symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis may include:

  1. Pain and Tenderness: Pain is typically felt along the thumb side of the wrist, particularly when moving the thumb or wrist or when applying force with the thumb (such as when gripping or twisting objects).
  2. Swelling: The affected area may become swollen, and a noticeable lump or thickening of the tendons may be felt.
  3. Difficulty with Thumb and Wrist Movements: Activities that require abduction or extension of the thumb, like making a fist, grasping objects, or holding a cup, can be painful and limited in range of motion.
  4. Catching or Snapping Sensation: Some people may experience a “catching” or “snapping” sensation in the thumb when moving it.

What physiotherapy treatment is available for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

Physiotherapy can be a valuable component of the treatment plan for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Physiotherapists can help patients manage pain, improve thumb and wrist mobility, and reduce the risk of recurrence through various interventions and exercises.

Here is an overview of the physiotherapy approach for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis:

  1. Initial Assessment: The physiotherapy process typically begins with a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the extent of the condition, identify any contributing factors, and develop a customized treatment plan.
  2. Manual Therapy: The physiotherapist may use manual techniques, such as soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, and myofascial release, to alleviate pain and improve tissue mobility.
  3. Pain Management: In the early stages, the focus may be on pain management. This can involve modalities like ice or cold therapy, ultrasound, and potentially the use of anti-inflammatory medications, as directed by a healthcare provider.
  4. Rest and Immobilization: Resting the affected hand and using a thumb or wrist splint to immobilize the thumb and wrist can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  5. Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle range of motion exercises are introduced to maintain or improve thumb and wrist mobility while avoiding overuse of the affected tendons. The physiotherapist will guide you through passive and active-assistive exercises.
  6. Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening exercises may include exercises for the muscles that control thumb and wrist movement. Resistance bands, hand exercises, and isometric exercises can be employed to improve strength.
  7. Posture and Ergonomics: Education on maintaining proper hand and wrist posture and body mechanics is essential for preventing recurrence. The physiotherapist may provide guidance on workstation ergonomics and daily life adjustments.
  8. Activity Modification: The physiotherapist will work with you to modify or adapt activities that contribute to De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, ensuring that you can safely perform them without exacerbating the condition.
  9. Home Exercise Program: Your physiotherapist will design a customized home exercise program for you to perform regularly between therapy sessions. Consistency with these exercises is essential for recovery.
  10. Technique and Grip Training: The physiotherapist may provide instruction on proper gripping and hand techniques to prevent overuse of the thumb and wrist.

The goal of physiotherapy for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is to improve thumb and wrist function, reduce pain, and prevent recurrence. It’s essential to work closely with your physiotherapist, adhere to their recommendations, and progress at a pace that’s appropriate for your individual situation.

The specific exercises and treatment plan will be tailored to your needs and the severity of your condition. Early intervention and consistent rehabilitation can help manage symptoms and promote recovery.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

What is Dupuytren’s contracture?

Dupuytren’s contracture, often referred to as Dupuytren’s disease, is a hand condition that involves the gradual thickening and tightening of the fascia, a layer of connective tissue beneath the skin of the palm.

This thickening and tightening can result in the fingers becoming permanently bent toward the palm, making it difficult to fully extend them. The condition typically affects one or more fingers and can vary in severity.

What causes Dupuytren’s contracture?

Dupuytren’s contracture is most common in older adults of Northern European descent but can affect people of any background. The exact cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is not well understood, but it is believed to have a genetic component and may be influenced by other factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. It tends to progress slowly over several years.

What are the signs and symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture?

Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture may include:

  • Nodules or lumps in the palm, typically at the base of the finger(s).
  • Thickening and tightening of the fascia, which can lead to the finger(s) being pulled into a bent position.
  • Difficulty in fully extending the affected finger(s).
  • Gradual progression of the condition, which may result in greater contracture over time.

The severity of Dupuytren’s contracture can vary from mild, where the finger(s) can still be straightened to a certain degree, to more severe, where the finger(s) are significantly bent and limit hand function.

What physiotherapy treatment is available for Dupuytren’s contracture?

Physiotherapy is not the primary treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture, as this condition primarily involves the thickening of fascia tissue in the palm and fingers.

However, physiotherapy and hand rehabilitation can play a valuable role in the post-operative recovery phase for those who undergo surgical intervention to treat Dupuytren’s contracture, specifically after a fasciectomy or other hand surgeries.

Physiotherapy can help improve finger function, range of motion, and strength while minimizing complications. Here is an overview of the physiotherapy approach after surgery for Dupuytren’s contracture:

Post-Surgical Physiotherapy:

  1. Initial Assessment: The physiotherapy process typically begins with an assessment to evaluate the extent of the contracture, the type of surgical procedure performed, and the patient’s post-operative condition.
  2. Wound Care: Monitoring the surgical wound and ensuring it heals properly.
  3. Scar Tissue Management: The physiotherapist may employ techniques to improve the flexibility and appearance of surgical scars. This can involve scar tissue massage and specific exercises to mobilize the operated area.
  4. Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle range of motion exercises are introduced to improve finger and hand mobility. These exercises often start with passive movements and progress to active-assisted and active exercises to increase flexibility and function.
  5. Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening exercises are used to improve finger and hand strength. Resistance bands, hand exercises, and isometric exercises may be recommended to enhance grip strength and hand function.
  6. Functional Movements: The physiotherapist will guide you through exercises that mimic daily activities and specific finger movements to help the patient regain the ability to perform these tasks safely and effectively.
  7. Proprioception and Neuromuscular Training: These exercises aim to improve joint stability, coordination, and functional movement patterns. They may include balancing drills and functional activities.
  8. Stretching Exercises: Stretching exercises may be used to enhance flexibility in the fingers and hand.
  9. Pain Management: Modalities such as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation may be used to manage post-operative pain and inflammation.
  10. Technique Training: Education on proper hand and finger techniques, such as grasping, gripping, and using tools, can help prevent overuse and exacerbation of symptoms.
  11. Home Exercise Program: A customized home exercise program is provided for the patient to perform regularly between therapy sessions. Consistency with these exercises is essential for recovery.

The goal of post-surgical physiotherapy for Dupuytren’s contracture is to improve finger function, reduce pain, and minimize the risk of complications or recurrence.

It’s essential to work closely with your physiotherapist and adhere to their recommendations to achieve the best possible outcome. Rehabilitation is a critical component of the post-operative recovery process and can help patients regain hand function and mobility.

It’s important to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a physiotherapist, to determine the cause of your vertigo and create an appropriate treatment plan. VRT is most effective when tailored to your specific type of vertigo, and consistency with prescribed exercises is essential for achieving positive outcomes.

With proper guidance and commitment, many individuals with vertigo can experience significant relief and improved balance through physiotherapy treatments. To book your assessment with one of our FCAMT Physiotherapists, click here.

Skier’s Thumb

What is Skier’s thumb?

Skier’s thumb, also known as gamekeeper’s thumb or ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury of the thumb, is a specific type of injury that affects the UCL of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of the thumb.

This injury is often associated with sports or activities that involve forceful gripping and a sudden or hyperextension of the thumb, such as skiing, snowboarding, or falling while holding a ski pole.

The term “gamekeeper’s thumb” originally referred to a similar injury in Scottish gamekeepers who frequently used their thumbs to kill small game.

The ulnar collateral ligament is responsible for stabilizing the MCP joint of the thumb and preventing excessive sideways or valgus movement. When the UCL is damaged or torn, it can lead to instability in the thumb, making it challenging to grip objects and perform everyday activities.

What causes skier’s thumb?

Common causes of skier’s thumb include:

  1. Fall While Skiing: During a fall in skiing or other activities, the thumb can get caught in the ski pole strap, leading to hyperextension and UCL injury.
  2. Forceful Thumb Abduction: Any activity that involves a sudden forceful abduction of the thumb (moving the thumb away from the hand) can result in UCL injury.

What are the signs and symptoms of skier’s thumb?

Symptoms of skier’s thumb may include:

  • Pain and tenderness at the base of the thumb.
  • Swelling and bruising in the thumb and the surrounding area.
  • Weakness in the thumb and difficulty gripping or pinching objects.
  • Instability in the thumb joint, with possible sideways movement (valgus instability).

What physiotherapy treatment is available for skier’s thumb?

Physiotherapy can be an essential part of the rehabilitation process for skier’s thumb or ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury of the thumb. The specific physiotherapy program will depend on the severity of the injury and whether the patient has undergone surgery.

Here is an overview of the physiotherapy approach for skier’s thumb rehabilitation:

Non-Surgical Physiotherapy (Conservative Treatment):

  1. Initial Assessment: The physiotherapy process starts with an evaluation to determine the extent of the UCL injury, the patient’s functional limitations, and to identify any contributing factors.
  2. Immobilization: Initially, the thumb may need to be immobilized with a thumb splint or brace to protect the UCL and allow it to heal. The physiotherapist will monitor this.
  3. Pain Management: Pain management techniques, such as ice or cold therapy, may be employed to alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation.
  4. Range of Motion Exercises: Once the thumb is no longer immobilized, gentle range of motion exercises are introduced to improve thumb mobility. These exercises often start with passive movements and progress to active-assisted and active exercises.
  5. Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening exercises for the thumb and hand may be recommended. These exercises target the muscles that control thumb movement. Resistance bands, hand exercises, and isometric exercises can be used to improve strength.
  6. Functional Activities: The physiotherapist will guide you through exercises that mimic daily activities and specific thumb movements to help regain the ability to perform tasks safely and effectively.
  7. Proprioception and Neuromuscular Training: These exercises aim to improve joint stability, coordination, and functional movement patterns. They may include balancing drills and functional activities.
  8. Stretching Exercises: Stretching exercises may be used to enhance flexibility in the thumb and surrounding hand muscles.
  9. Technique Training: Education on proper thumb techniques, such as gripping and pinching, can help prevent overuse and exacerbation of symptoms.
  10. Home Exercise Program: A customized home exercise program is provided for the patient to perform regularly between therapy sessions. Consistency with these exercises is essential for recovery.

Post-Surgical Physiotherapy (if surgery was required):

In cases where surgical repair was necessary, the physiotherapy approach may involve the following in addition to the above:

  1. Wound Care: Monitoring the surgical wound and ensuring it heals properly.
  2. Scar Tissue Management: Employing techniques to improve the flexibility and appearance of surgical scars.

The goal of physiotherapy for skier’s thumb rehabilitation is to improve thumb function, reduce pain, and minimize the risk of complications or recurrence. It’s essential to work closely with your physiotherapist, adhere to their recommendations, and progress at a pace that’s appropriate for your individual situation.

The specific exercises and treatment plan will be tailored to your needs and the severity of your skier’s thumb injury. Early intervention and consistent rehabilitation can help manage symptoms and promote recovery.

It’s important to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a physiotherapist, to determine the cause of your vertigo and create an appropriate treatment plan. VRT is most effective when tailored to your specific type of vertigo, and consistency with prescribed exercises is essential for achieving positive outcomes.

With proper guidance and commitment, many individuals with vertigo can experience significant relief and improved balance through physiotherapy treatments.   To book your assessment with one of our FCAMT Physiotherapists, click here.

TFCC Tear (Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear)

What is a TFCC tear?

A TFCC tear, or Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex tear, is an injury that affects the triangular fibrocartilage complex, a group of structures in the wrist that provide stability and cushioning.

The TFCC is located on the ulnar (pinky finger) side of the wrist and consists of various ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. It plays a critical role in stabilizing the wrist joint and enabling smooth movement.

What causes a TFCC tear?

TFCC tears can occur as a result of various factors, including:

  1. Trauma: Falls on an outstretched hand, sports injuries, or direct blows to the wrist can cause TFCC tears.
  2. Repetitive Stress: Activities that involve repetitive wrist motions, such as playing racquet sports, golf, or activities that require gripping and twisting, can lead to overuse and TFCC injuries.
  3. Degeneration: Over time, the TFCC can naturally degenerate, becoming more susceptible to tears.
  4. Aging: As a person ages, the TFCC may become more prone to wear and tear, increasing the risk of injury.

What are the signs and symptoms of a TFCC tear?

TFCC tears can vary in severity, from partial tears to complete ruptures. Common symptoms of a TFCC tear may include:

  • Pain on the ulnar side of the wrist, especially during gripping, twisting, or weight-bearing activities.
  • Swelling and tenderness at the site of the injury.
  • Weakness in the wrist and difficulty performing certain movements.
  • A clicking or popping sensation when moving the wrist.
  • Limited range of motion, particularly in the twisting or pronation/supination movements of the forearm.

Diagnosis of a TFCC tear typically involves a physical examination by a healthcare provider, often an orthopedic specialist. Additional imaging studies like MRI or arthroscopy may be used to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of the tear.

What treatment is available for TFCC tears?

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation of a TFCC (Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex) tear, helping patients regain wrist strength, mobility, and function, while reducing pain and minimizing the risk of recurrence. 

Treatment for a TFCC tear may involve both non-surgical and surgical approaches, depending on the severity of the injury. The options include:

  1. Non-Surgical Treatment: In cases of mild or partial tears, non-surgical approaches may be recommended. These can include rest, immobilization with a splint or brace, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy to improve wrist strength and mobility.
  2. Corticosteroid Injections: In some instances, a healthcare provider may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  3. Surgical Repair: For more severe or complete TFCC tears, surgery may be necessary. Surgical procedures can involve repairing the torn TFCC, removing damaged tissue, or, in some cases, fusing the ulnar head (bone at the end of the forearm) to the radius to stabilize the joint.

Here is an overview of the physiotherapy approach for TFCC tear rehabilitation:

Post-Surgical Phase (if surgery was required):

  1. Immobilization: If surgery was performed, the wrist is typically immobilized in a cast or splint for a period determined by the surgeon to allow for initial healing.
  2. Pain Management: In the early stages following surgery, the focus may be on managing pain and reducing inflammation. Modalities like ice or cold therapy may be used.
  3. Wound Care: The physiotherapist monitors the surgical wound and ensures it heals properly.

Post-Immobilization Phase (whether surgery was performed or not):

  1. Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle range of motion exercises are introduced to maintain or improve wrist mobility while avoiding overuse or excessive stress on the healing TFCC. These exercises often start with passive movements.
  2. Strengthening Exercises: As the wrist begins to heal, the focus shifts to strengthening exercises. These exercises target the muscles around the wrist and forearm to provide support and stability. Resistance bands, hand exercises, and isometric exercises may be used.
  3. Functional Movements: The physiotherapist will introduce exercises that mimic daily activities and specific movements to help the patient regain the ability to perform these tasks safely and effectively.
  4. Proprioception and Neuromuscular Training: These exercises aim to improve joint stability, coordination, and functional movement patterns. They may include balancing drills and functional activities.
  5. Stretching Exercises: Stretching exercises are used to improve flexibility in the wrist and surrounding muscles. These stretches may target the wrist, forearm, and fingers.
  6. Pain Management: Modalities such as ice or heat may be used to manage pain and inflammation.
  7. Activity Modification: The physiotherapist will work with the patient to modify or adapt activities that contribute to TFCC injuries, ensuring that they can be performed without exacerbating the condition.
  8. Home Exercise Program: A customized home exercise program is provided to the patient to perform regularly between therapy sessions. Consistency with these exercises is essential for recovery.
  9. Technique and Grip Training: The physiotherapist may provide instruction on proper gripping and wrist techniques to prevent overuse and re-injury.

The goal of physiotherapy for TFCC tear rehabilitation is to improve wrist function, reduce pain, and prevent recurrence. Working closely with your physiotherapist, adhering to their recommendations, and progressing at a pace that’s appropriate for your individual situation are crucial for a successful recovery.

The specific exercises and treatment plan will be tailored to your needs and the severity of your TFCC tear. Early intervention and consistent rehabilitation can help manage symptoms and promote recovery.

It’s important to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a physiotherapist, to determine the cause of your vertigo and create an appropriate treatment plan. VRT is most effective when tailored to your specific type of vertigo, and consistency with prescribed exercises is essential for achieving positive outcomes.

With proper guidance and commitment, many individuals with vertigo can experience significant relief and improved balance through physiotherapy treatments.   To book your assessment with one of our FCAMT Physiotherapists, click here.

Trigger Finger

What is trigger finger?

Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis or simply “trigger thumb” when it affects the thumb, is a condition that affects the tendons in the fingers or thumb, making it difficult to bend or straighten the affected digit. This condition is characterized by a snapping or popping sensation when attempting to move the finger, similar to the action of a trigger being pulled and released.

What causes trigger finger?

The condition is typically caused by irritation or inflammation of the tendon sheath that surrounds the flexor tendons in the fingers or thumb. The tendons allow the finger to flex or bend. When the tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, it can create resistance when the finger is flexed or extended, causing it to snap or “trigger” suddenly.

Common causes and risk factors for trigger finger include:

  1. Repetitive Hand Movements: Repeated, forceful hand and finger movements, such as gripping or gripping tools, can increase the risk of irritation and inflammation in the tendons.
  2. Medical Conditions: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and gout can contribute to the development of trigger finger.
  3. Age and Gender: The condition is more common in women and is more likely to occur in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60.

What are the signs and symptoms of trigger finger?

Symptoms of trigger finger may include:

  • Pain or discomfort at the base of the finger or thumb.
  • A clicking, popping, or snapping sensation when moving the finger.
  • Stiffness or difficulty straightening or bending the affected digit.
  • The finger may lock in a bent position, and manual assistance may be needed to straighten it.

What physiotherapy treatment is available for trigger finger?

Physiotherapy can be beneficial in the management of trigger finger, particularly when conservative treatments are recommended or after surgical intervention. Physiotherapy aims to improve finger mobility and strength, reduce pain, and address any contributing factors. Here’s an overview of the physiotherapy approach for trigger finger:

Non-Surgical Physiotherapy:

  1. Initial Assessment: The physiotherapy process begins with a comprehensive evaluation to assess the extent of the condition, identify any contributing factors, and develop an individualized treatment plan.
  2. Pain Management: Pain management techniques, such as ice or cold therapy, may be used to alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation.
  3. Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle range of motion exercises are introduced to improve finger mobility. These exercises often begin with passive movements and progress to active-assisted and active exercises to increase flexibility and function.
  4. Strengthening Exercises: Exercises to improve finger and hand strength may be recommended. Strengthening the finger muscles can help support proper movement patterns and reduce strain on the tendons.
  5. Functional Activities: The physiotherapist will guide you through exercises that mimic daily activities and specific finger movements to improve function and coordination.
  6. Stretching Exercises: Stretching exercises may be employed to enhance flexibility in the finger and surrounding hand and forearm muscles.
  7. Manual Therapy: The physiotherapist may use manual techniques, such as soft tissue mobilization or joint mobilization, to alleviate pain and improve tissue mobility.
  8. Technique Training: Education on proper hand and finger techniques, such as grasping, gripping, and using tools, can help prevent overuse and exacerbation of symptoms.
  9. Home Exercise Program: A customized home exercise program is provided to the patient to perform regularly between therapy sessions. Consistency with these exercises is crucial for recovery.

Post-Surgical Physiotherapy (if surgery was required):

If surgical intervention is necessary, physiotherapy can play a vital role in the post-operative recovery process. In addition to the non-surgical techniques mentioned above, the physiotherapist may also focus on:

  1. Wound Care: Monitoring the surgical wound and ensuring proper healing.
  2. Scar Tissue Management: Employing techniques to improve the flexibility and appearance of surgical scars.

The specific physiotherapy plan for trigger finger will be tailored to the patient’s needs, the severity of the condition, and any surgical procedures that were performed. Physiotherapy can help patients regain finger function, reduce pain, and improve overall hand health.

It’s essential to work closely with your physiotherapist and follow their recommendations to achieve the best possible outcome. Early intervention and consistent rehabilitation can help manage symptoms and promote recovery.

It’s important to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a physiotherapist, to determine the cause of your vertigo and create an appropriate treatment plan. VRT is most effective when tailored to your specific type of vertigo, and consistency with prescribed exercises is essential for achieving positive outcomes.

With proper guidance and commitment, many individuals with vertigo can experience significant relief and improved balance through physiotherapy treatments.   To book your assessment with one of our FCAMT Physiotherapists, click here.

Wrist Fractures

What kind of wrist fractures are there?

A wrist fracture, also known as a broken wrist, is a common orthopedic injury involving the bones of the wrist. The wrist is made up of multiple bones, including the two long forearm bones (the radius and ulna) and a group of smaller bones called carpal bones. A wrist fracture can occur when any of these bones is broken or fractured, and the type and location of the fracture can vary.

Wrist fractures are often the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand, a direct impact, or a high-energy injury, such as a car accident. There are several different types of wrist fractures, including:

  1. Colles’ Fracture: This is one of the most common types of wrist fractures and involves a break of the radius bone at the distal end, near the wrist joint. It typically results from a fall onto an outstretched hand with the wrist extended backward.
  2. Smith’s Fracture: This is another fracture of the radius, but it occurs when the wrist is flexed, often due to a fall on the back of the hand.
  3. Scaphoid Fracture: The scaphoid is one of the carpal bones, and a fracture of this bone is relatively common. It often occurs with a fall on an outstretched hand.
  4. Barton’s Fracture: A fracture that involves both the radius and the carpal bones and may result from high-energy trauma.
  5. Ulnar Styloid Fracture: This involves a fracture of the ulnar styloid process, a bony projection at the end of the ulna.

What are the signs and symptoms of a wrist fracture?

Symptoms of a wrist fracture can include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the wrist.
  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Difficulty moving the wrist.
  • Deformity or an abnormal appearance of the wrist.
  • Numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers, which may indicate nerve involvement.

What physiotherapy treatment is available for wrist fracture?

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation of a wrist fracture, helping patients regain strength, mobility, and function in the affected wrist and hand. The specific physiotherapy program will depend on the type and severity of the wrist fracture, whether surgery was required, and individual patient factors.

Here is an overview of the physiotherapy approach for wrist fracture rehabilitation:

Post-Cast or Post-Surgical Phase:

  1. Initial Assessment: The physiotherapy process typically begins with a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the extent of the injury, the type of fracture, and the patient’s current functional limitations.
  2. Pain Management: The focus in the initial phase may be on managing pain and reducing inflammation, which can involve modalities such as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation.
  3. Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle range of motion exercises are introduced to maintain or improve wrist and finger mobility. Passive exercises may be initially used to minimize stress on healing structures.

Recovery Phase:

  1. Strengthening Exercises: As the wrist heals, the focus shifts to strengthening exercises. These exercises target the muscles of the forearm, hand, and wrist. Resistance bands, hand exercises, and isometric exercises may be used to improve grip strength and wrist stability.
  2. Functional Movements: The physiotherapist will introduce exercises that mimic daily activities and specific wrist movements to help the patient regain the ability to perform these tasks safely and effectively.
  3. Proprioception and Neuromuscular Training: These exercises aim to improve joint stability, coordination, and functional movement patterns. They may include balancing drills and functional activities.
  4. Stretching Exercises: Stretching exercises are used to improve flexibility in the wrist, fingers, and forearm. These stretches may target specific muscle groups that may have become tight or contracted.
  5. Scar Tissue Management: If surgery was required, the physiotherapist may use scar tissue massage techniques to improve the flexibility and appearance of the surgical scars.
  6. Pain Management: Modalities such as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation may continue to be used as needed for pain and inflammation management.
  7. Technique Training: The physiotherapist may provide instruction on proper hand and wrist techniques to prevent overuse and re-injury.
  8. Home Exercise Program: A customized home exercise program is provided for the patient to perform regularly between therapy sessions. Consistency with these exercises is essential for recovery.

Late Phase:

  1. Gradual Return to Activities: The physiotherapist will work with the patient to create a gradual return-to-activity plan, which may include resuming specific sports or activities when strength and mobility have been sufficiently restored.

The goal of physiotherapy for wrist fracture rehabilitation is to improve wrist and hand function, reduce pain, and minimize the risk of complications or recurrence.

It’s essential to work closely with your physiotherapist, adhere to their recommendations, and progress at a pace that’s appropriate for your individual situation.

The specific exercises and treatment plan will be tailored to your needs and the severity of your wrist fracture. Early intervention and consistent rehabilitation can help manage symptoms and promote recovery.

It’s important to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a physiotherapist, to determine the cause of your vertigo and create an appropriate treatment plan. VRT is most effective when tailored to your specific type of vertigo, and consistency with prescribed exercises is essential for achieving positive outcomes.

With proper guidance and commitment, many individuals with vertigo can experience significant relief and improved balance through physiotherapy treatments.   To book your assessment with one of our FCAMT Physiotherapists, click here.

Sternoclavicular Injury

What is a sternoclavicular injury?

A sternoclavicular (SC) injury, also known as sternoclavicular joint (SCJ) injury or SC joint dislocation, occurs when there is damage to the sternoclavicular joint.

The sternoclavicular joint is the point where the clavicle (collarbone) meets the sternum (breastbone) in the front of the chest. It is one of the four joints that make up the shoulder complex and is responsible for connecting the upper limb to the axial skeleton.

SC joint injuries can vary in severity, and they are typically classified into three categories:

  1. Sternoclavicular Joint Sprain: This is the least severe type of SC joint injury. It involves stretching or minor tearing of the ligaments that support the joint, without dislocation of the clavicle. This type of injury may cause pain, swelling, and discomfort but usually doesn’t require surgical intervention.
  2. Anterior Sternoclavicular Dislocation: In this type of injury, the clavicle is displaced in front of the sternum. It can result from a significant traumatic event, such as a direct blow to the shoulder or a fall on an outstretched hand. Anterior dislocations are often more painful and may require reduction (repositioning of the clavicle) in a hospital setting.
  3. Posterior Sternoclavicular Dislocation: This is a rare and more severe injury where the clavicle is displaced behind the sternum. Posterior dislocations can be associated with life-threatening complications, as they can compress vital structures in the chest, such as blood vessels and the trachea. Immediate medical attention is required for posterior dislocations, and reduction may be necessary.

What causes a sternoclavicular injury?

Sternoclavicular injuries, particularly dislocations, are often caused by significant traumatic events or overuse of the shoulder joint. Common causes of sternoclavicular injuries include:

  1. Direct Impact: A direct blow to the front of the chest or shoulder, such as during a car accident, a fall, or contact sports, can force the clavicle to dislocate at the sternoclavicular joint.
  2. Falls: A fall onto an outstretched hand or onto the shoulder can transmit a significant force to the sternoclavicular joint, potentially causing an injury.
  3. Motor Vehicle Accidents: The impact during a car crash, especially a frontal collision, can lead to sternoclavicular injuries due to the sudden deceleration and forces involved.
  4. Sports Injuries: Contact sports like football and rugby, as well as sports with a high risk of shoulder impacts or falls, can result in sternoclavicular injuries. Athletes involved in these sports may experience anterior dislocations if they are tackled or fall on their shoulder.
  5. Weightlifting: Overhead weightlifting exercises, such as the bench press, military press, or overhead squats, can put stress on the sternoclavicular joint. Lifting heavy weights with poor form or overexertion may lead to joint injury.
  6. Repetitive Overuse: Activities that involve repetitive overhead arm movements, such as swimming, tennis, or baseball, can place stress on the sternoclavicular joint and its supporting structures over time. This may result in joint instability or the development of chronic pain.
  7. Muscle Imbalances: Muscle imbalances in the shoulder girdle can also contribute to sternoclavicular injuries. Weakness or instability in the surrounding muscles can affect the joint’s stability and increase the risk of injury.
  8. Congenital Factors: In some cases, individuals may be born with congenital conditions that make them more susceptible to sternoclavicular instability or dislocation due to the joint’s anatomical characteristics.

It’s important to note that sternoclavicular injuries are relatively uncommon compared to injuries involving other joints in the shoulder complex, such as the acromioclavicular joint or the glenohumeral joint. However, when they do occur, they can be associated with significant pain and complications, particularly in the case of posterior dislocations. Seeking prompt medical evaluation and appropriate treatment is essential for the management of sternoclavicular injuries.

What are the signs and symptoms of a sternoclavicular injury?

The common symptoms of a sternoclavicular injury may include:

  • Pain and tenderness at the sternoclavicular joint.
  • Swelling and bruising in the front of the chest and shoulder.
  • Limited range of motion in the shoulder and arm.
  • A visible deformity if there is a significant dislocation.
  • Pain with movements of the arm and shoulder.

What physiotherapy treatment is available for sternoclavicular injuries?

Physiotherapy can be a valuable part of the treatment and rehabilitation process for sternoclavicular injuries, particularly after the acute phase when immediate medical care may be required for severe dislocations.

The specific physiotherapy program for a sternoclavicular injury will depend on the type and severity of the injury. Here are some general principles of physiotherapy for sternoclavicular injuries:

  1. Initial Assessment: The physiotherapy process typically begins with a thorough assessment of your condition to determine the extent of the injury, including any associated damage and potential complications.
  2. Pain Management: The initial focus may be on managing pain and inflammation, which can involve modalities like ice or heat application and potentially the use of anti-inflammatory medications as directed by a healthcare provider.
  3. Immobilization: Depending on the severity of the injury and the treatment recommended by a medical specialist, you may need to immobilize the joint with a sling or brace to allow for proper healing and to prevent further injury. Your physiotherapist will provide guidance on when it’s safe to remove the immobilization.
  4. Range of Motion Exercises: Once you’re ready, your physiotherapist will guide you through gentle range of motion exercises to prevent stiffness and improve mobility in the shoulder and arm.
  5. Strengthening Exercises: As your condition improves and the joint becomes more stable, strengthening exercises will be introduced. These exercises will target the muscles around the sternoclavicular joint, including the deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, and scapular stabilizers. Gradual progression is key to avoid overloading the healing tissues.
  6. Proprioception and Neuromuscular Training: These exercises help improve joint awareness and control, which is crucial for preventing future injuries. Balancing exercises, plyometrics, and functional training can be included.
  7. Stretching and Flexibility Exercises: Stretching exercises can help improve the flexibility of the shoulder and chest muscles. They may include stretches for the chest, anterior shoulder, and neck.
  8. Posture Correction: Education on maintaining proper posture and body mechanics is important for preventing recurrence of sternoclavicular injuries. The physiotherapist may provide guidance on good posture and ergonomic considerations for daily activities.
  9. Activity Modification: The physiotherapist will help you modify or adapt activities, especially sports or work-related tasks, to ensure that you can safely perform them without aggravating the injury.
  10. Home Exercise Program: Your physiotherapist will design a customized home exercise program for you to perform regularly between therapy sessions. Consistency with these exercises is essential for recovery.
  11. Progressive Return to Activities: If the injury was related to a specific sport or activity, your physiotherapist will work with you to create a gradual return-to-sport or work plan. This involves ensuring you have the necessary strength and mobility to resume these activities safely.

It’s crucial to work closely with your physiotherapist, adhere to their recommendations, and progress at a pace that’s appropriate for your individual situation. The goal of physiotherapy is to facilitate the healing process, restore functionality, and reduce the risk of future sternoclavicular injuries.

It’s important to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a physiotherapist, to determine the cause of your vertigo and create an appropriate treatment plan. VRT is most effective when tailored to your specific type of vertigo, and consistency with prescribed exercises is essential for achieving positive outcomes.

With proper guidance and commitment, many individuals with vertigo can experience significant relief and improved balance through physiotherapy treatments.   To book your assessment with one of our FCAMT Physiotherapists, click here.

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