Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist & Hand

Shoulder Injury Rehabilitation

A common shoulder injury is rotator cuff damage. A rotator cuff is actually a group of four muscles in the shoulder region whose main goal is to keep the ball of the shoulder joint aligned in the socket at all times. Some of these muscles' tendons are vulnerable to injury because their blood supply is not ideal and because the tendons are very close to bone structures. As a person moves his or her arm overhead, these tendons can get squeezed between bone structures, resulting in minor injury. These minor injuries only occur when patterns of movement are not normal or when bone spurs have developed. Repeated minor injuries can result in major damage over time. Once your shoulder is causing you pain, it is time to make a change.

Our shoulder injury treatment approach is simple: remove obstacles that prevent normal smooth movement. To achieve this, we often need to stretch the structures (ligaments, muscle, tendon, and capsule) that have tightened. We also need to strengthen weak muscles and train the muscles and joints to work together in harmony. We need to promote blood flow in the area of the injured tendon. Of crucial importance is educating our patients about the origin of their shoulder pain and our approach to resolve the problem. Our treatment plans change as the patient heals. At Dynamic Physical Therapy, we are experts at keeping your treatment plan in sync with the healing injury.

The upper extremity works in an open chain, which means the hand is not attached to a solid object. The lower extremity works in a closed chain since the foot is typically connected to the ground. This difference is the foundation of our treatment approach for injuries to the upper extremity. Our treatment plan for an upper extremity injury is entirely different in design than a treatment plan for the lower extremity because they function in drastically different ways.

Another shoulder injury we help rehabilitate is shoulder dislocation. This happens when a shoulder has popped out of the socket. It often presents itself physically by appearing visibly out-of-place and can be accompanied by serious bruising/swelling and difficulty moving the joint. Among the most common causes of shoulder dislocation are sports injuries or falls. 

Elbow Injury Rehabilitation

The elbow is an integral body part for daily activities. Most people have heard of tennis elbow, which is a common injury found in many people who have never played tennis. Tennis elbow is a condition where the tendons that control the wrist and elbow are adversely affected. Previously thought to be an inflammatory condition, experts now believe it is unlikely that inflammation is the major cause of this condition. The pain is felt at the outside of the elbow and researchers think the origin of the pain is caused by structural changes in the tendon and muscles resulting from repeated small injuries. These small injuries are likely the result of overuse. Repeated strong contractions of these muscles can result in repeated minor damage in the tendon and where the tendon and muscle join. Elbow treatment plans are comprehensive. Dynamic Physical Therapy will address various components based on the findings from the physical examination and patient interview.

A common component of these custom-designed treatment plans includes manual therapy to eliminate movement restrictions and re-education of muscle groups. Other parts of the treatment plan can include icing, ultrasound treatment, iontophoresis, and electrical stimulation. An individually designed exercise program is another important component of a comprehensive treatment approach for tennis elbow. It is important that people with tennis elbow understand what is causing or encouraging their pain. Patient education is a primary component in our treatment plans for this condition.

Wrist & Hand Injury Rehabilitation

The wrist and hand are some of the most amazing parts of the human body. The intricacy of design and function is extensive and complicated. Amazingly, a structure so intricate can sustain so much ‘abuse’ without injury. Of course, sometimes injury occurs anyway, and we are here to help. Common injuries to the wrist and hand include fractures, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

A thorough interview and physical examination will take place when the patient first visits our office with a wrist or hand problem. After analyzing all the information from this interview and examination, we design a treatment plan based on this analysis. Each treatment plan for every patient is different because every person and condition is unique. However, there are some elements that are central to our successful approach for hand and wrist injuries. This includes education; it is essential for a successful treatment plan that the patient plays an active role in his or her treatment.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a rather common wrist condition that occurs when the nerve in your carpal tunnel becomes affected by increased pressure and causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the hand. Physical rehabilitation can improve mobility in the wrist.

Manual therapy often plays a role when movement restrictions are present. Quite simply, if the wrist or hand does not move freely, healing will be impaired. Exercise is important as well in order to allow the joints and muscles of the hand and wrist to resume working in harmony; often this takes time and considerable effort.

Dynamic Physical Therapy proudly serves the Northern Michigan region including Buckley, Cadillac, Gaylord, Manistee, Marion, Traverse City, and surrounding areas.