Hand Diagnosis

At the Hand Center we can provide diagnosis and treatment for many specialty areas including arthritis, vascular disorders, Dupuytren’s Disease, tumors, cysts, sports injuries, mallet finger and sprains.

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  Arthritis

Arthritis in the hand occurs when joints are inflamed and may occur at the base of the thumb (the trapeziometacarpal joint), the middle joint of a finger, (the PIP joint) or in the metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint. The most common forms include osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis in the hand may be quite painful and greatly affect normal everyday activity. Symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, swelling and pain.

Treatment of arthritis may include anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections and individualized hand therapy involving a combination of exercises and splints. Surgery is indicated when these more conservative treatments fail and the patient has too much pain or cannot function well. Surgery can involve joint fusion or joint reconstruction. Your hand surgeon will help determine the best course of treatment for you.

  Nerve Compression Syndromes

Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting. Often, damaged nerves can be repaired, either by suturing two ends back together, or, if a piece is missing or badly damaged, by using a nerve graft to fill a gap. After surgical repair of the nerves, the fibers can begin to heal and re-grow. This process can take weeks to months, and proper follow up and hand therapy is generally necessary to ensure acceptable results.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is essentially a pinched nerve at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is the space where the median nerve and tendons pass from the forearm to the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is swelling in this tunnel putting pressure on the median nerve. Symptoms include numbness, tingling and pain. Symptoms may be relieved through therapy or wearing wrist splints. Steroid injections are also an option. If these treatments do not improve the condition, surgery may be required to release the carpal tunnel and take away pressure on the median nerve.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is characterized by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow (this is sometimes called the “funny bone”.) Pressure on the ulnar nerve can cause numbness, tingling and pain in the elbow, arm, hand and/or fingers. Depending on the severity of this condition, it can be treated non-surgically with therapy. If therapy does not improve the condition, surgery may be required to relieve the pressure on the ulnar nerve.

  Repetitive Motion Injuries

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is essentially a pinched nerve at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is the space where the median nerve and tendons pass from the forearm to the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is swelling in this tunnel putting pressure on the median nerve. Symptoms include numbness, tingling and pain. Symptoms may be relieved through therapy or wearing wrist splints. Steroid injections are also an option. If these treatments do not improve the condition, surgery may be required to release the carpal tunnel and take away pressure on the median nerve.

De Quervain's Tendonitis

De Quervain’s tendonitis is irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb. This condition makes grasping or holding objects or making a fist painful. Some treatments for this condition include wearing a splint, cortisone injections or making adjustments in movements which aggravate the condition. If these treatments do not improve the condition, surgery may be recommended to make more space for the inflamed tendons.

Epicondylitis

There are two types of epicondylitis: lateral and medial. Lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, is the more common of the two. Both are typically overuse injuries, causing pain and inflammation of the tendons near the elbow that attach to the humerus (the upper arm bone). Treatment can include activity modification, medications, splinting, therapy, and/or surgery.

Trigger Finger (Tenosynovitis)

Trigger finger is an irritation of the sheath that surrounds the flexor tendons, sometimes causing the tendon to catch and release like a trigger. It can be corrected during an outpatient procedure under local anesthetic, and it generally takes less than 1 hour.

  Sports Injuries

At The Hand Center – Plastic Surgery we can provide treatment for many types of sports injuries which affect the hand and upper extremity, including “tennis elbow”, “skier’s thumb”, rotator cuff injuries, sprains and fractures.

  Tumor & Cysts

A tumor or mass in the hand can range from those on the skin, such as a mole or wart, to those underneath the skin in the soft tissue or bone. The most common tumor in the hand and wrist is the ganglion cyst.

  Vascular Disorders

Vascular disorders may cause a lack of blood flow to the hand and/or fingertips. Vascular disorders in the hand may result from trauma such as knife wounds which damage blood vessels, from aneurysms or blocked blood vessels, Raynaud’s disease, or vascular malformations. Symptoms include pain, color changes in the fingertips, and numbness or tingling in the fingertips. Treatment depends upon the severity of the problem, and ranges from medical therapy to surgical repair.

Please contact The Hand Center at (414) 955-HAND (4263) for additional information.

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