The thumbs, hands, and wrists are among the most used parts of the human body. They allow us to do everything from opening a door or getting dressed to playing sports and writing letters. To facilitate such a wide range of functions, the thumbs, hands, and wrists consist of many bones, muscles, and ligaments.
The two bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) meet the carpus of the hand to form the wrist. The wrist actually comprises several joints to allow flexible movement where the bones of the arm and hand come together.
The carpus is made up of the carpal bones—eight small bones at the base of the hand. The hand also contains five metacarpal bones in the middle. Each finger consists of three phalanges (and three joints), while the thumb has two phalanges and two thumb joints.
Other structures in the hands and wrists include cartilage on the surfaces of the bones in the joints, ligaments to support and connect the bones and keep them in place, and tendons to attach muscles to bones.
If any of these components becomes injured or damaged, it can cause pain and loss of function in the hands and wrists.
Because they perform so many duties, the hands, thumbs, and wrists are especially prone to injury. The wrists, in particular, can become sprained or fractured, while the fingers experience strains and sprains due to trauma or overuse. Of course, medical conditions such as arthritis cause pain and inflammation throughout the joints of the hand and wrist.
Some of the most common thumb, hand, and wrist injuries and complaints include:
Injury or pain in the hands or wrists can seriously impact a person’s activities and quality of life. To avoid this problem, it’s a good idea to protect and support the joints and bones as much as possible.
Whether you want to stop joint damage from happening in the first instance, or you would like to relieve the symptoms of an existing injury, a range of tips and techniques can help you achieve your goals.
Just like any other body part, the hands and wrists benefit from regular exercise. Physical movement enhances blood flow to bring fresh oxygen and nutrients to the soft tissues. The best exercises stretch and strengthen the muscles to improve flexibility and prevent injury. Hand and wrist exercises also play a vital role in recovery and rehabilitation.
Additionally, pain in the thumbs, hands, and wrists can respond remarkably well to several therapies. Some of these therapies are often the first-line treatments for conditions such as sprains, strains, and arthritis. Use them for quick relief from pain, swelling, and redness.
Along with specific exercises and therapies, several products can protect and support the thumb, hand, and wrist to facilitate healing or prevent injury. Therapy putty and hand and finger strengtheners are great for people with joint stiffness, while splints and braces provided targeted compression for those with swelling and pain. Several other devices enable people with limited mobility and dexterity to more easily carry out everyday tasks and activities.
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