We need our hands in everything we do, from brushing our teeth in the morning to driving, working, eating, showering, and going to bed. Because we use our hands in so many daily activities, our hands, fingers, and wrists are prone to injury.
If you develop a chronic ache or unbearable pain in your hand that is not being relieved with normal home remedies and pain-relief medicine, you may need to see a hand surgeon for an evaluation. Let’s talk about some of the main hand conditions that are treated by hand surgeons and who can address your own symptoms.
Conditions Often Treated by a Hand Surgeon
Some of the most common conditions that warrant an evaluation by an experienced hand surgeon include the following:
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it can worsen over time with the repetitive use of your joints – including your fingers, hands, and wrists. Osteoarthritis is due to “wear and tear” of the joints, whereby the protective cartilage that prevents bones from scraping against each other during movement begins to wear down and degrade. This loss of cushiony cartilage allows the bones to rub together, causing inflammation.
Arthritis in the hands can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. If osteoarthritis is left untreated, the condition can become worse and may cause significant joint dysfunction and disability.
Your hand surgeon may inject the painful joints with cortisone to provide relief, and they may have you wear a splint. The physician can treat arthritis surgically by removing loose fragments of bone in the joint, smoothing out cartilage, and performing joint resurfacing to alleviate inflammation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that occurs when the median nerve – which runs through the tunnel in the arm to the hand – is compressed in the wrist area. This nerve enables movement in all fingers except the pinkie, so compression can cause feelings of numbness and weakness in the fingers and all the way to the shoulder.
It is possible to treat carpal tunnel syndrome without the need of surgery, especially if it is caught early before it develops further. Treatments include wearing a splint, taking anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy.
However, if the symptoms get worse despite nonsurgical treatment, your hand surgeon may recommend open-release surgery or endoscopic carpal tunnel release. These operations relieve pressure on the median nerve by opening up the carpal tunnel.
You can break your hand due to a fall, sports injury, car accident, or an awkward twisting of your hand. If you notice any deformity or chronic pain in your hand, a hand surgeon may need to realign and stabilize the broken bones in your hand and fingers.
If your fingers seem to be stuck in a curled position, this may be Dupuytren’s contracture. This occurs when the tissues underneath the skin in the palm of the hand thickens, thereby causing your fingers to bend inward toward your palm.
Dupuytren’s contracture typically develops slowly over the years. Your hand surgeon may be able to provide relief via minimally invasive procedures whereby the thickened tissues are severed, providing relief and the ability to straighten your hand again. Do not attempt to do this yourself, as you are likely to permanently damage a nerve in your hand and cause permanent disability.
Hand Surgeon in St. Charles County
If you are experiencing any of the conditions above, don’t let pain prevent you from doing what you love. The orthopedic specialists at Advanced Bone & Joint are here to help restore the condition of your hands through innovative treatment and personalized patient care.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic physicians, contact us today by calling us at (636) 229-4222 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you get your hand back!