Do you experience painful forearms every time you move your arms, bicep curl or punch? You could be experiencing tight forearms. In this article, we explore the possible causes of this and how to fix it.
You can have forearm tightness, irrespective of the kind of work that you do or the workout you practice. The muscles of your wrist move your fingers and wrists. Due to this, engaging in activities that involve the strong use of your fingers and wrists will lead to tightness developing in your arms.
REASONS YOU HAVE TIGHT FOREARMS
The following are the reasons why you feel that pain in your forearm.
YOUR POST ACTIVITY
If you have had a busy day at work or have had a tough workout session, you will experience straightforward tight forearm. A heavy workout or doing many other new activities such as DIY will cause your muscles to work much harder.
This will create a little inflammation on your forearm, leading to symptoms like tightness, tenderness and stiffness.
The good thing is, these symptoms will only last up to 24 hours. Your forearm will loosen up after 24- 48 hours (1-2 days). This will give them enough time to recover from the exercise.
The tenderness and stiffness lasting for 1-2 days are referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and play a very crucial role in the strengthening process of your forearm muscles.
If you are in sports, you probably refer to this tightness as “pumped” feeling because your forearm usually seems so hard to touch, feels a little achy and looks bigger than normal.
LOADING YOUR FOREARM CONTINUOUSLY
Loading your forearm continuously without allowing it some time to recover may cause tight forearms. This is extremely dangerous, especially since it can lead to long term tightness.
The load talked about here can be related to sports or repetitive manual work.
This causes will lead to a specific type of forearm tightness known as chronically tight forearm. The long-term tightness of this kind can manifest itself as reduced flexibility in your wrists.
For example, you will have difficulties in bending your wrists forward or backwards or both, compared to the time before applying the load.
It can also manifest as fingers that are flexed more than usual and some slight elbow pain. Immediately after your work, your forearm will feel a little bit pumped but this will go away almost immediately as it started.
This type of forearm tightness should be addressed because it tampers your balance in the muscles around your elbows, fingers and wrists.
TIGHTNESS ON THE NERVES THAT SUPPLY YOUR ARM
If the nerves that supply your forearm tightens up, you will experience a neuromuscular forearm. In this type, your arms will also feel pumped like, but it will not go away that easily, unlike the other types.
Failing to use your forearm for longer periods of time may also lead to this type of tight forearms.
As mentioned before, this tightness is caused by the tightening up of the nerves that supply your forearm. If you apply pressure on the nerve along its path, it can cause the muscles that it supplies to tighten up.
You will also tend to report your arm’s feeling tiring long before you embark on the actual activity and even if you have not been overusing your forearms.
The tightness on the forearms will feel worse with certain neck movements.
The pressure you feel on your nerves can result from wear and tear of your nerve, where it exits the spinal cord.
You can also get this type of forearm tightness from poor neck posture. Poor neck posture is usually responsible for tightness in the neck, shoulders and pectoral muscles that are overlying the nerves.
If you are involved in an arm dominant sport such as climbing, rowing and tennis, this can lead to further tightness in your neck and forearms.
In a neuromuscular forearm, long term compression of the forearm can lead to numbness, feelings of pins and needles, loss of power and more dire and debilitating injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
INCREASED PRESSURE IN THE COMPARTMENTS OF YOUR ARMS
Increased pressure within your arms’ compartments will lead to impaired blood flood and thus a type of forearm tightness known as chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) or carpal tunnel syndrome.
If the compartments of your forearms are pressured, your forearms will quickly tighten up. However, unlike the others, your forearm will feel very painful after performing gripping activities.
This will occur at a specific time, when you’re are doing the gripping activity and will ease after periods of ample rest.
INJURIES TO YOUR ARMS
Injuries such as fractures can lead to tight forearms. Your forearm consists of two bones called the ulna and the radius. These two joins to form your wrist.
Any sort of injuries to these bones or the muscles near them can lead to forearm tightness.
Underlying medical conditions such as arthritis will result in tight forearms.
Arthritis will cause the protective cartilage in your joints to wear down, exposing your bones to friction. As the bones rub against each other during movements, your forearm will tighten.
WEAKNESS IN YOUR ARM
This could result from activities such as frequent training sessions, that are longer and more intensive.
They lead to tight muscles that are always on the move to tighten up to adapt to the heavy work they are subjected to.
Also, the weakness can be a result of lack of enough blood circulation in the nerves of your forearms. This will be a result of adding more weight to your arms without allowing it some resting time.
SYMPTOMS OF TIGHT FOREARMS
Your forearms will feel differently depending on what causes the tightness. However, the symptoms can be as mild as slight pains which last for 1- 2 days, minor itching and aching to as extreme as numbness or burning sensation.
Other possible symptoms that are associated with tightness include:
Your fingers and forearms swelling, numbness in both your fingers and forearms, affected strength such as weak grips, poor range of motion and an elbow or wrist that clicks or catches with the movement.
HOW TO FIX TIGHT FOREARMS
Ample rest for a tight forearm should be among the first steps to ring in your head. Allowing your muscles ample time to rest after an intense workout session or tough lifting work will enable them to heal.
Icing the affected area with a cloth covered in icepack for 10 to 15 minutes may help reduce your forearm swelling. This is according to an article published on Healthline.
PAIN RELIEVING MEDICATION
Taking over the counter pain-relieving medication such as ibuprofen or Tylenol will help in the swelling of your forearm and any discomforts.
SPLINTS OR BANDAGES
Splints or bandages will also help you to limit the range of movement of your tight forearm. This will help them recover even faster.
Forearm exercises such as wrist extensor stretch and wrist turns will come in handy in relaxing the tight muscles in your forearms.
However, be keen to start slow and increase their speed as you continue, until your forearm is completely recovered.
SURGERIES OR INJECTIONS
When the situation gets worse, your doctor may recommend injections or even surgeries to help release your tight forearm muscles.
Examples of these surgeries include tendon release and carpal tunnel release.
Most people with forearm tightness can successfully treat the symptoms without extreme measures like surgeries.
Alternatively, consider resting your forearm when the tightness begins and see your doctor if the symptoms persist.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]