Open Accessibility Menu

National Women's Health and Fitness Day 2022

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
National Women's Health and Fitness Day 2022

Prioritize Your Health and Avoid Injury on National Women’s Health and Fitness Day

National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is celebrated every year on the last Wednesday of September, as a way to promote the importance of health awareness and fitness for all women. HOI spoke with orthopedic surgeon and hand, wrist, and elbow specialist Joanne Zhang, MD MBA, on the importance of prioritizing your health, no matter the day, and tips and stretches to avoid injuries of the hand and wrist.

Q: What made you interested in becoming an orthopedic doctor/surgeon?

A: I feel that when patients understand their diagnosis, it helps motivate them to have a hand in their recovery process, which is crucial to healing. I felt with orthopedic surgery, specifically of the hand and wrist, that I can explain things to help patients understand what they’re going through and develop a great relationship from there.

Q: What inspires you in your practice?

A: I love when patients come in with questions after researching what is going on because I feel that they are already involved and invested in their care and it becomes a highly productive appointment. For me, I really enjoy the little things throughout the patient journey, such as the patient progressing in their care or seeing improvement at a follow up appointment.

Q: What are a few tips you'd like to share with everyone in support of National Women's Health & Fitness Month?

A: Something that a lot of people overlook, and I can too, is that it is easy to forget to take the time or skip time to stretch and warm up or cool down. Stretching before and after exercise, no matter the exercise, is really helpful to avoiding injury. When you give your muscles time to adjust, it can go a long way in preventing injuries down the line.

Specifically for the hand and wrist: Patients who work with their hands a lot can notice that their hands and wrists can get stiff throughout the day. A common misconception is that using a stress ball can increase your range of motion. While a stress ball is good for increasing strength in your grip, it does not help with your range of motion. Other exercises, including using your hands by pushing your fingers down into a fist, or making fists without the stress ball, can go a long way to improve your range of motion.

Q: What are the most common injuries you see as a hand and wrist surgeon?

A: The most common injuries we see are related to overuse, specifically with tennis and paddle tennis. Epicondylitis, commonly known as Tennis elbow, is the most common upper extremity injury we see – either from a patient playing too much, or too hard too often. Injury can be avoided or minimized if you take time to stretch your wrist up and down. One easy stretch is to hold your arm out straight, then use your other hand to pull opposite wrist down to flexion, which stretches your forearm. The second most common injury is golfer’s elbow, which you can help avoid injury by flipping your palm over and stretching the inside of your elbow and forearm.

Q: What's something you want your patients to know about you as a doctor?

A: I hope patients can understand that although I am a surgeon by training, I believe surgery should be a last resort and we should avoid doing it until absolutely necessary. It’s important that patients understand all of their treatment options – the step ladder of options so to speak – that are non-invasive (such as stretching, bracing and splinting, physical therapy), then minimally invasive (injections) then surgery, unless there is an acute injury.

Dr. Zhang recently joined HOI after completing her hand and upper extremity fellowship at the University of Chicago. Prior, Dr. Zhang completed her Doctor of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and graduated with her Master of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She graduated Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in history of science and history of medicine.