Have you had an injury to your wrist? Written by Hand Therapist Bethany Butler

This week, we’re giving a big shout out to our resident Hand Therapist – Bethany Butler -Bethany is Sports & Spinal’s physiotherapist with a special interest in the upper limb – shoulder, elbow, wrist & hand conditions. We’ll be celebrating all things wrist & hand this week with special articles on how to best recover from an upper limb injury.

Hand Therapist work with a wide variety of people, including athletes, manual labourers, new mothers, elderly people, and children, basically, they’re our hidden heroes getting people back to the things they love after significant trauma & loss.

Bethany would like to share her blog with you all:

Have you had an injury to your wrist and you now find it difficult to weight bear through your hand and wrist during activities such as Pilates, Boxing or Gym training? Or, do you experience pain when simply pushing up from a chair?

You may be experiencing pain localised to the side of your wrist (below your little finger – see image below) with twisting motions of your wrist such as: wringing out wet clothes; turning a doorknob; lifting or carrying an object with your palms turned upwards? These are all symptoms of an injury to the ulnar side of your wrist.

Specifically, you might have a TFCC ligament injury. The Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex (commonly called the TFCC) is one of the most commonly injured structures from a fall on an outstretched hand or with a heavy twisting motion of the wrist. An injury to the TFCC may also occur at the same time you break your wrist and is quite often missed by the emergency department if they’ve only done an x-ray to check the bone injury. The TFCC is the main ligament and support structure on the ulnar side of the wrist that stabilises the forearm against load and rotational forces (such as twisting and grasping objects) TFCC injuries are painful, especially when lifting, carrying objects and loading on your wrist to push/pull.

Consultation with a Hand Therapist is recommended to determine whether you have a TFCC injury, or pain on that side of your wrist to help diagnose the specific problem. Hand Therapists have the specialised skills required to examine a painful wrist and use their knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to prescribe appropriate treatment for each different wrist injury. They can also determine whether you need to see your GP for X-rays, ultrasound or MRI.

Hand Therapy for a TFCC injury may involve:

  • Assessment of your wrist to determine the appropriate treatment approaches specific to your injury
  • Educate you on the specific biomechanics and activities that will aggravate your symptoms – so you can adjust and reduce your pain & allow the injured structure to heal
  • Prescribe the correct splint/orthoses for your needs:
    Option 1: to provide a larger wrist splint to immobilise the wrist (for example a thermoplastic custom-made orthoses)
    Option 2: prescribe a Wrist Widget® splint which takes over for the TFCC and prevents the radius and ulna from spreading which provides pain relied & may allow you to continue training and using your wrist for daily activities while it heals
  • Prescription of graded postural and stabilising exercises at the right stage of your rehabilitation and in a graded-manner, which has been shown to improve pain, strength, stability, and coordination to help you regain normal use of your wrist after injury.
Meet Bethany:

Bethany has almost finished her post-graduate study to become an Accredited Hand Therapist (AHT) through the Australian Hand Therapy Association. Hand Therapists are best positioned to help people recover full hand and arm function back after injury.

After completing her physiotherapy degree in Brisbane at the Australian Catholic University, Bethany moved up to the Sunshine Coast and has always worked within the private physiotherapy clinic setting treating all areas of the body. She has since continued her study in predominately treating shoulder, wrist & hand conditions, but still integrates Clinical Pilates and gym-based rehabilitation into her treatment of the upper extremity.

Bethany loves to see people take control of their health in a holistic manner and loves treating complex injuries. She values building long-term relationships with patients, doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals; working cohesively together to achieve optimal results for her patients. In her downtime, Bethany loves to spend time writing music, surfing & living an active lifestyle outdoors – enjoying the best of the Sunshine Coast has to offer.

Bethany is available for Physiotherapy appointments at our Sippy Downs location.

If you would like any more information on Hand Therapy please click here.