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Preventing and Treating Wrist Tendonitis

Any time you see the suffix itis, it indicates the inflammation of a particular part of the body (think appendicitis, which is inflammation of the appendix, or arthritis, which combines the Greek word for joint–arthro–and itis). And inflammation usually means pain. So in the case of wrist tendonitis, there is pain associated with the inflammation of the tendon or tendons of the wrist, typically due to trauma of some kind or repetitive stress.

In order to treat wrist tendonitis, you must first identify its cause. Once you do, you can then either stop this activity altogether or modify your body mechanics to prevent it from reoccurring. One common example would be switching to an “ergonomic keyboard” to improve your typing posture. This may reduce stress to your wrist tendons and eliminate the inflammation and its associated pain.

Home treatment for wrist tendonitis may include icing the affected area to reduce inflammation, the use of over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen, or exercise to strengthen the affected area to prevent recurrence.

If home treatment doesn’t achieve the desired effect, professional treatment may be required. This may include the use of splints to immobilize the joint, cortisone injections to reduce inflammation, or surgery to permanently repair the joint.

Don’t Let Your Laptop Ruin Your Posture

fb_laptop_blogLaptop computers are everywhere. They’re portable and lightweight – so much so, that many people use them throughout the day, be it at work, at home, or at the local coffee shop. But laptop use can lead to posture problems, if you’re not careful.

The very thing that makes a laptop computer so popular – its convenient all-in-one design – also makes it a potential hazard. Unlike a desktop computer, a laptop’s keyboard and screen are attached to each other. Ergonomically speaking, an optimal computer setup would have your monitor in your direct eye line, your keyboard near your waist, and your forearms at a 90-degree angle to your upper arms. But due to its attached screen, this is not possible with a laptop.

With a laptop, you make sacrifices. Your typing position may be too high, which can cause issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome. And your monitor position may be too low, which can cause neck- and shoulder-strain issues.

To minimize laptop-related issues, you should consider the following suggestions:

  • Purchase a docking station and external monitor for your laptop. Not only will this monitor be larger and easier to read, it can be adjusted to a proper ergonomic level.
  • Consider a second keyboard. A second keyboard can be placed in a keyboard tray under your desk that can help you maintain an optimal 90-degree elbow angle.
  • Try to find a chair that can be adjusted to provide the best compromise between monitor angle and keyboard position.
  • If you are unable to work at an ergonomic laptop station, make sure you take frequent breaks—usually every 20 minutes or so. This will help minimize joint and muscle strain.
  • Be aware of warning signs. If you notice tingling, numbness, or pain, take a break. If it persists, see a doctor.
  • And, finally, never use a laptop on your lap. Not only does this force you to look down at your monitor at a very awkward angle, it also creates the risk of heat damage. Modern portable computers have become thinner and smaller as they’ve become more powerful. This means they generate more heat with less space to dissipate it. Consequently, laptops get extremely hot, especially when used for intensive tasks or for long periods of time. In fact, this risk of burning your skin is why laptops are no longer called laptops but are instead referred to as notebook computers by the computer industry.

For more information on laptop ergonomics visit our workstation tips page.

Hoverboard Injuries Segment on FOX59 News with Jeffrey A. Greenberg, MD

FOX59 News reporter Kyle Inskeep visited the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center to do a segment on hoverboards and the dangers of using them.  Jeffrey A. Greenberg, MD provides information on how to prevent injuries and what type of injuries we are seeing at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center.


Hoverboards Causing Large Number of Broken Wrists and Other Injuries

One of the best selling gifts of the holidays were hoverboards (also called FloBoards or Handsfree Segway) and they are landing children and parents in the emergency room.  Hoverboards are a hands free device that riders balance on and are propelled by two wheels.  As of December 28 there were 70 reports of emergency room visits due to hover boards, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in a CNN article. Common injures from hoverboard accidents include fractures, strains, contusions and lacerations.

Hoverboards have been in the news after being banned from airlines and causing a variety of explosions and fires.  Amazon stopped selling some models due to quality concerns.  However, despite the bad press they remained one of the top selling must have gifts for Christmas this year.  The post Christmas novice hoverboard riders are flying off the somewhat mercurial boards, landing on their wrists, and then landing the patient a visit to the emergency room.  One emergency room in Indianapolis had 7 broken wrists from hoverboards the day after Christmas.  Comedian Stan Boardman , Boxer Mike Tyson and Congressman Carlos Curbelo are the better known adults who have fallen victim to hoverboard accidents. A search of the hashtag #hoverboardfail on social media is a trending topic on Twitter and Instagram.

“The Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center is seeing a significant number of these injuries locally.  We are an internationally recognized center for upper extremity care and would like to make sure parents and their children aware of the increased number of injuries from this new toy.” says Greg A. Merrell, M.D.

Dr. Merrell suggest the following precautions:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Wear wrist braces, elbow and knee pads
  • Have a spotter with you as you learn to ride
  • Practice on a carpeted surface to learn the feel of the board