Put your hand pain behind you

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Our hands allow us to perform a wide range of activity, from precise tasks such as threading a needle to the ability to grip and lift heavy objects. And they’re particularly vulnerable to injury, because of frequent repetitive motion and contact with potentially harmful objects. When something in your hand hurts, it can affect your ability to do tasks of daily life. Getting relief means knowing what to look for, and when to seek treatment from an orthopedic specialist.    

Dr. Devon Banda, a fellowship trained orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon who recently joined the medical staff at McLaren Port Huron, explains some of the common hand and wrist injuries and how to treat them.

Fractures or broken bones of the upper extremity are common. The most commonly injured bone in the upper extremity is the distal radius, one of the two bones that make up the forearm and wrist. Fractures are typically caused from trauma such as a fall or accident and are diagnosed through physical exam and X-ray. Treatment will depend on the extent of the fracture from simple splinting or casting to surgical intervention with plates and screws.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis and is often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis. In joints with OA, the protective cartilage between bones starts to wear away, which allows for the bones to rub together, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. Arthritis is often diagnosed through physical exam and x-ray. Treatment typically starts with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Sometimes surgery is appropriate to improve quality of life.

Tendon-related issues
Trigger finger is a common tendon condition in which a finger gets stuck in a bent position and then snaps straight. Symptoms commonly include stiffness, a clicking or popping sensation and tenderness in the affected finger. Treatment for trigger finger can include splinting, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, surgery.

Nerve compression
Two common nerve compression conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pinched or compressed at the wrist. Common symptoms include numbness and tingling in the palm, thumb, index and middle finger. 

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve, which passes through the cubital tunnel on the inside of the elbow, becomes inflamed, swollen, and irritated. Common symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hand, ring and little finger, numbness at night and weak grip due to muscle weakness in the affected arm.

Both carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome are commonly diagnosed through physical exam, x-ray and nerve conduction studies. Treatment typically begins with nighttime splinting, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and in some cases, surgery is recommended.

“I perform both open and endoscopic technique for treating carpal tunnel syndrome,” says Dr. Banda. “Many patients report less pain, a shorter recovery period and quicker return to work with endoscopic carpal tunnel release technique.” 

Put your hand and upper extremity pain behind you. Click here to make an appointment with Dr. Devon Banda today.