Wrist pain in Nurses

The wrist joint is a complex joint formed between the distal ends of the radius and ulna bones and the eight carpel bones. The wrist connects the forearm to the hand and allows for a good range of motion. Repetitive or forceful or sustained or even awkward use of the hands may however lead to injury.

With the fire code, the heavy door we now had to twist a lever after we punched in a code and this constant twisting after using our hand for other things, this constant twisting of going in and out in the nursery. We started to notice symptoms in other nurses as well as myself. Some of the LVNs were having symptoms in both hands, some in one. One LVN even calculated on a night shift, not day shift but night shift that she was going in and out of the door 100 times in a 12 hour shift. This constant turning and pushing was increasing her symptoms. Several nurses decided to have surgery. I decided rather than have surgery to talk to the nurse manager about perhaps changing the door handles going to the lever system versus the door knob system. It took about six months for the door knob handles to be changed and subsequently for those of us that didn’t have surgery our symptoms diminished.

Of the three nerves that pass from the forearm across the wrist and into the hand, it is the median nerve that is affected by carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS. The median nerve passes through the carpel tunnel and splits into four branches supplying the sensational feeling to the thumb, the index finger, the middle finger and the inter-half of the ring finger. This is where the development of carpal tunnel syndrome occurs. In carpel tunnel syndrome, the nerves, blood supply and tendons that runs through the carpel tunnel get irritated and swell. Any increase in pressure within the carpel tunnel may reduce blood flow to the nerves leading to the loss of nerve function and producing numbness in the affected fingers. Medical conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy, hypothyroidism or tumors or cysts on the wrist may also generate carpel tunnel syndrome.