May 1, 2019

Preventing overuse injuries of the hand, wrist or elbow

Hand, Wrist and Elbow


Overuse injuries are one of the most common causes of pain in the hand, wrist and elbow. This is primarily due to the repetitive motion related to sports, work or even some hobbies.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Whitaker, an OrthoIndy hand, wrist and elbow specialist, the repetitive motions such as typing at a computer all day or repeatedly swinging a tennis racket can have some serious consequences.

“Usually overuse injuries gradually occur over a long period of time, with symptoms slowly worsening,” said Dr. Whitaker. “Sometimes symptoms will go away on their own or at least go away for a short period of time. However, it’s important to see a hand, wrist and elbow specialist if conditions get worse or don’t get better.”

Most common hand, wrist and elbow overuse injuries (repetitive strain injuries)

Elbow overuse injuries

Wrist overuse injuries

Hand pain from overuse

Preventing overuse injuries to the hand, wrist and elbow

“Elbow, hand or wrist pain isn’t normal,” said Dr. Whitaker. “However with some occupations such as a painter, factory worker or athlete, overuse injuries seem inevitable; but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of an overuse injury.”

  • Make corrections: Make sure your form and technique are correct when you are exercising or participating in a sport. Ask a coach or even a physical therapist what you need to change if you are experiencing pain.
  • Check your equipment: See if you are using the correct sports or job-related equipment for your position or task. For example, make sure your computer desk is set up to be comfortable and put less strain on your body.
  • Take breaks: Take breaks from your sport to participate in other activities or regularly take breaks from your job-related tasks at least once an hour, even for five minutes.
  • Use a brace: Braces can take pressure off your hand, wrist or elbow and make it easier for you to heal or less likely for you to be injured.

“If you notice symptoms of overuse injuries such as pain, numbness or a weakened grip you can try anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen or use the R.I.C.E. method to treat your injury at home,” said Dr. Whitaker.

“Usually overuse injuries will heal on their own, however, if symptoms persist or worsen, make an appointment with a specialist right away.”

Relieve pain from hand, wrist or elbow injuries

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Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

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Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan Golden worked at OrthoIndy from 2012 to 2019, where she wrote a variety of content for our blog, magazines and inbound campaigns. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor.

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