Hand Injury: Introduction
Writing, typing, cooking, waving. Just think how often we use our hands and wrists throughout the day. If you’re experiencing pain in this region, even at rest, a hand wrist specialist at AOSMI can help.
The wrist and hand is a highly complex collection of bones, joints, muscle tendons and nerves that perform an astonishing variety of activities from fine motor control such as in sewing, to highly strenuous activities such as manual labor or weight lifting. Since your hand and wrist are used in numerous activities, this area is prone to a variety of injuries and disorders.
Hand and Wrist Pain Causes
Hand and wrist pain can be caused by a multitude of reasons.
- Trauma – Caused by direct impact or a fall, sometimes resulting in a fracture
- Lacerations – Accidents at work and at home result in numerous cuts to the hand and wrist every year, some of which are severe and require urgent attention
- Overuse and Repetitive Stress – Often injures the ligaments, tendons and nerves around the wrist
The most common diseases affecting the hand and wrist include:
- Infection – We’re at risk of cuts and scrapes in our everyday activities, which can lead to infection
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels from the forearm into the hand. This usually causes numbness, pain and weakness
- Arthritis – Degeneration and inflammation of the joints involving the fingers and the wrist
- Trigger Finger – Caused when the tendons that bend the fingers get caught up and cause the fingers to catch or get stuck in position as they are used, which can be painful
- Tendinitis – Caused by inflammation of various tendons
- Nerve Damage – The nerves around your wrist and hand are subject to injuries as well, which can cause pain, numbness and loss of function
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, otherwise known as “Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy” – A disease affecting many body areas, but often the hand, characterized by severe pain and sensitivity that can often result from an injury
AOSMI will start your wrist and hand evaluation with a detailed history and physical examination. We may perform specialized tests like Tinel’s test and carpal tunnel compression test to search for nerve problems. Other manual tests may be performed to look for instability or looseness of your joints.
X-rays are obtained to look for fractures, arthritis or abnormalities with the bone. Further studies such as MRI of the wrist and hand can be helpful, as well as CT-scan to look at a more three-dimensional representation of the structures. Electrodiagnostic studies such as EMG nerve conduction study are often very helpful in looking at nerve problems. Sometimes your neck can cause the pain in your wrist and hand, in which case your neck and arm must be examined also to get a complete picture of the problem.
Most problems of the wrist and hand respond well to conservative treatments.
- Splinting and casting – Used for fractures or inflammation, as well as other injuries, and can be helpful for nerve problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Injections – Steroid injections are often employed for trigger finger, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Occupational therapy and massage – Can be helpful in the treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
If your condition is severe, you may require surgical procedures performed by the Top Hand Doctors in NJ, including:
- Open reduction or internal fixation –Wrist fracture treatment that uses plates and screws. The fractures are sometimes treated with external fixation as well, using pins attached to a frame that sits outside the skin.
- Decompression – For tendon and nerve problems such as release of trigger fingers and releasing the carpal tunnel
- Re-approximating the injured structures – Useful in repairing injuries to the hand where the structures, such as tendons and nerves, are severed.
- Replantation – Procedure performed when an entire finger or limb needs to be reattached
Pain or injury of the wrist and hand can be an enormous disruption to your daily life. Whether you know the cause of your pain or you have no idea why you’re experiencing such discomfort, hand surgery specialists at AOSMI can diagnose and treat your problem. Call today to schedule an appointment with our team of expert Hand doctors in NJ.