Overusing Your Arms: 5 Injuries to Watch For

Overuse injuries are the result of small, repetitive forms of trauma to the structures in your arm. Whether you’re an elite athlete or work with a computer daily, learning about upper extremity overuse injuries can help you practice caution and know when to seek professional medical help.

Common overuse injuries affecting the upper extremity include:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: These conditions involve the median and ulnar nerves of the forearm. Prolonged or repetitive bending or flexing of the wrist or elbow can cause pressure in the carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel that compresses the related nerve. The symptoms include numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand and fingers.

Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, and Pitcher’s Elbow: These conditions involve the inflammation of the tendon structures surrounding the elbow joint. Repeating the same swinging or throwing motion over and over causes damage, leading to pain and tenderness inside and around the elbow.

De Quervain’s Tendinosis: Tendinosis refers to inflammation of the tendons. De Quervain’s syndrome occurs in a tendon structure in the wrist involving pain or swelling near the base of the thumb and difficulty grasping things. This is common for gardeners, golfers, and racket sport players.

Tendonitis (Tendinitis): Tendons attach muscles and bones, and this condition is characterized by inflammation of the tendon that causes pain in the area around a single joint or multiple joints. Common types of tendonitis include wrist tendonitis, pitcher’s shoulder, and swimmer’s shoulder.

Tendon Tears: Overuse and frequent stress from continuous motion can fray tendons to the point of partial or complete tearing. Rotator cuff tears in the shoulder are often caused by wearing down over time.

If you have long-term pain or limitation in any part of your upper extremity, see one of our hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder specialists. Request an appointment online or call (559) 256-5200 to schedule an appointment at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics.