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Optimal Physical Therapy helps patients with many different conditions. Please see the diagram below for information on common conditions we treat and how physical therapy can help you.

About Wrist Fractures

Fractures in the wrist and forearm area are common with falls, as the tendency is to protect oneself in an attempt to break the fall with your arm. Common fractures occur in the bones of the forearm near the wrist called the radius and ulna. Two common fractures are called Colles fracture and Smith’s fracture. Colles fractures typically occur from falls onto an outstretched hand and Smith’s fractures occur from falling backward onto an outstretched hand.

Another common fracture of the wrist and hand is a scaphoid fracture, which is a small bone in the hand. The scaphoid bone connects to the radius bone of the forearm. Scaphoid fractures are more difficult to heal due to poor circulation to the bone itself.

Fractures are managed medically and depending on the type of fracture and severity you may be placed into a cast or surgically repaired with pins, plates, or screws.

How physical therapy helps:

During the healing phase typically in a cast or after surgery, the fingers, wrist and elbow become very stiff, range of motion and strength are lost. Physical therapy is very important in the rehabilitative process to help you regain normal range of motion, reduce swelling, resolve pain, and regain function of your hand and wrist.

Physical therapists understand the need to be gentle and the importance of maintaining motion and strength. With physical therapy, you can make a complete recovery in a safe manner. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn more about how we can help you fully recover after a fracture.

Elbow Pain, Wrist Pain, Hand Pain

Elbow pain can come from a variety of sources, but typically occurs due to an overuse of the elbow joint from repetitive activities. Often bad posture with typing, writing, lifting, or sports makes the tissues around the elbow become irritated.

The elbow actually has quite a few different joints that move in very unique ways. The same bones (radius and ulna) that make up the elbow also form the wrist and play a key role in the movements of the hands. Most of the muscles that make your wrist and fingers move are actually located in the elbow extending to the forearm.

Poor posture, repetitive activities such as typing, gripping, and twisting can cause tightening in the muscles and tissues of the forearm. This can affect the mobility of the elbow, wrist and even hands. This can lead to chronic inflammation and irritation to these areas.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy helps to relieve elbow, wrist, and hand pain by examining the mechanics of your joints and muscles. By identifying where you are having limitations, analyzing your daily activities, and assessing the strength of certain muscle groups, the root cause of your pain can be determined.

A comprehensive plan is then built to improve your range of motion, reduce your pain, improve your joint mobility, and strengthen your muscles. In addition, we provide education on techniques, adaptations, and exercises to prevent future injury. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help relieve your elbow, wrist or hand pain.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a common term for lateral epicondylitis. You do not have to play tennis to develop this condition, it frequently happens with repetitive tasks  involve gripping and extending the wrist such as when holding a paintbrush or hammer. This occurs because the muscles that extend your wrist and fingers attach to the bony outside of your elbow.

Typically with tennis elbow, severe tenderness will be present around the bony area on the outside of the elbow. This can cause pain with gripping objects, lifting objects, and twisting of the forearm.

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is a general term for medial epicondylitis. This is similar to tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), except that it is on the inside bony area of the elbow. Reasons for this occurring are similar to that of tennis elbow where there is an overuse of the muscles that flex your wrist and fingers. These muscle tendons attach to the inside elbow bony area, and overuse results in irritation.

How physical therapy helps:

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow can be treated very effectively with physical therapy. Modalities such as ultrasound, heat, and ice can assist with reducing pain quickly in the irritated tendons. Furthermore, hands on therapy for the tissues and joints helps to restore normal joint movement, break up any scar tissue, and bring circulation to the area to promote healing.

As the pain subsides, the focus is shifted to making sure range of motion in the elbow and wrist are returned to normal. Strengthening programs are initiated to help support the affected and surrounding areas. In addition, we educate you on proper posture and techniques to manage work and repetitive activities to reduce the likelihood of reinjury. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help relieve your tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow pain.

About Nerve Injuries

There are many nerves traveling along the elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. With injuries to the hand, wrist, forearm, or elbow the nerves can also be damaged. Symptoms can range from numbness or tingling to altered muscle function.

Many nerve injuries occur because of overuse and chronic swelling. This does not allow proper circulation to the nerves which can potentially affect their function. Poor posture while doing common activities can cause overuse injuries and chronic swelling. If you have significant nerve sensations into your arm, wrist or hand, it is important to follow up with us and your physician.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is very important to the healing aspect of nerve injuries. Whether mild from a small injury or severe after surgery, our physical therapists work with you and your physician to facilitate your recovery.

The emphasis of physical therapy is on removing pressure from around the nerve by restoring normal tissue movement, joint mobility, and range of motion. Our hands-on therapy serves to soothe and improve circulation, while stimulating nerves to restore normal function. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help relieve your nerve pain and restore normal function.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a very common condition and is becoming more frequent. The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel in the wrist where major arteries and nerves pass from the forearm to the hand. One of the primary nerves that pass through this area is called the median nerve. When the pressure is applied to the median nerve, typically due to inflammation at the carpal tunnel, tingling, pain and even loss of sensation to the thumb and first two fingers of the hand can occur.

One of the primary causes of carpal tunnel syndrome is repetitive activities such as typing at a computer. The direct pressure on the wrist from the desk along with the repetitive movement of the fingers can lead to an inflammation at the carpal tunnel causing pressure on the median nerve. 

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is one of the first lines of defense in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. It is non-invasive and effective in eliminating symptoms and stopping them from returning.

Our physical therapy treatments focus on improving the mobility of the wrist joints and spacing of the carpal tunnel so the pressure is relieved on the median nerve. Hands-on treatment mobilizes tight joints and stretches soft tissues. Modalities can reduce deep swelling and relieve pressure on the nerve. Finally, strengthening and range of motion exercises can support the wrist helping to restore the normal function of the median nerve.

We also focus on long-term results by providing you with specific exercises to perform at home. Additionally, we provide education about proper postural alignment and environment modifications to prevent re-injury. Call Optimal Physical Therapy  today to learn how we can effectively treat your carpal tunnel syndrome.

About Tendon Repair & Post-surgery Rehab

Common surgeries in the elbow, wrist, and hand involve repair of the vast amount of tendons and ligaments in these areas. Depending on the type and extent of your surgery, your surgeon will recommend physical therapy to help you recover completely from your surgical procedure.

The fingers, hand, and wrist are very tightly packed with tendons, ligaments, and intricate structures. This means that swelling is very common in these areas after surgery and the joints can become stiff leading to loss of range of motion impacting your dexterity and ability to grip impacting normal functioning during daily activities. 

How physical therapy helps:

We work closely with your physician and their protocol to ensure a complete recovery from your surgical procedure. Our gentle and specialized hands-on therapy manages the swelling, helps reduce scar tissue formation, and maintain joint mobility. Per your surgeon’s rehab protocol, we will progress your range of motion and eventually begin strengthening exercises.

Our goal is to make sure you have a complete recovery with proper use of your fingers, hand, wrist, and elbow for everyday tasks. For more details on our post-surgical rehab program, call Optimal Physical Therapy today.

About Sprain / Strain

Sprains and strains are very common in the hand, wrist, and elbow. Sprains refer to injuries of the ligaments (connecting bone to bone) and strains refer to injuries of the muscles or tendons (connecting muscles to bone). Sprains and strains occur from quick overstretching of the tissues which cause injury through tearing of the tissue. The tears can range from micro to full thickness which may require surgical intervention. When the tear occurs, swelling begins as part of the inflammation process, causing pain and difficulty with movement. The first step in treating sprains or strains in the wrist, elbow, hand, or fingers typically is to rest, ice, and elevate the arm. 

How physical therapy helps:

In most cases, physical therapy can effectively help you recover from a sprain or strain. We first evaluate the injured area to determine the extent of the injury and ensure that the ligaments or tendons are intact. After we pinpoint the injured area, we formulate a treatment plan that will relieve your swelling, pain, and begin restoring your range of motion.

The goal of physical therapy is to restore your normal range of motion and strength. We work closely with you to maximize your recovery so you can return to the activities you love to do. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can effectively treat your sprains or strains.