Does it Hurt to Shake Hands?
Finger Extensor Muscles
There are several finger extensor muscles. They include Digitorum, Indicis, and Digiti Minimi. If you have knots (trigger points) in any of these muscles you will feel it down the forearm into the hand and fingers and up to the elbow.
If you have trigger points in the extensor digitorum, you will have pain in the middle finger, the
wrist and up the forearm but most of the pain will be in the hand. You may complain of stiffness and soreness in the hands and fingers thinking you have arthritis. The pain can also mimic tennis elbow. You will have a little tenderness with deep pressure, but a lot of tenderness with tapping.
The extensor indicis muscle trigger points will cause pain on the top of the wrist and hand but not into the fingers.
Other symptoms may include pain and/or weakness when shaking hands, difficulty writing, working dentistry or typing.
Causes of Pain
Back in the day women used to get trpts in the extensors by constantly holding up their long skirts. Today people get trpts in the extensors by overuse of repetitive finger movements like those of musicians, typists or mechanics. A fracture of the forearm will also most likely cause tpts in the extensors.
To test for tension and trigger points in the extensors as well as stretch them, you can do the Artisan’s Finger stretch exercise. Begin with the top of the forearm facing up (hands down) and the hand and fingers open. Turn the forearm so the hands start facing towards each other and close the fingers in a smooth, continuous movement starting with the pinky and ending with the thumb wrapped around the fingers and the wrist fully flexed as if you are popeye showing off your tattoo.
To get rid of the pain, do not do anything that causes pain for 3-6 weeks and only gradually go back to doing what you were used to doing before the pain. If pain starts, back off!
When doing motions such as opening a jar or playing tennis, cock your wrist up rather than down for more support. Try shaking hands with your palm up until you feel better. (Although I think this is kind of weird…probably because I read somewhere a long time ago that when people shake hands like that the person with palm down is trying to be dominant over the other).
Avoid testing painful movements until you give it at least 3 weeks. You will also want to be very careful when you sleep. Avoid sleeping with your wrist flexed. They do make some good braces that you can sleep in as well as type or whatever else you might need it for. Sleeping with your wrist flexed is a really good way to get carpal tunnel.
Try One of These Wrist Splints while you sleep to avoid flexing it. After 4-6 weeks it shouldn’t hurt to shake hands anymore!