Suffering With A Hand or Wrist Injury?: The Most Common Hand and Wrist Injuries
Whether it’s a sports injury, hand arthritis, or a the result of a slip around the home, many individuals suffer from serious hand and wrist injuries and defects and don’t even know it. Are your hands and wrists giving you trouble? Is this a hand sprain or something more serious?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the medial nerve as this nerve passes through the wrist and into the hand. If left untreated, medial nerve compression may cause nerve damage and lead to severe complications.
Hand and Wrist Arthritis
Osteoarthritis affects millions of people and unfortunately many don’t even know it. The loss of cartilage as a result of wear and tear minimizes the space between your bones and can make hand and wrist movements painful and difficult.
As the name suggest, flexor tendons within the hand control the inward flexion of your fingers and thumbs. Injuries to these tendons may result in pain and the inability to fully grasp objects or flex your digits. Trigger finger (also known as stenosing tenosynovitis) is a common tendon condition caused by the narrowing of the tendon sheath.
Fractures of the Wrist and Hand
Fractures of the hand, wrist, and digits are all common injuries from falls, sports injuries, and car accidents. We offer an array of hand and wrist surgeries to treat everything from boxer’s fractures and wrist fractures (distal radius fracture) to scaphoid fractures and stress fractures.
A Full Range of Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Care for Your Hand or Wrist Injury
At Sports Medicine Oregon, we understand that every hand and wrist injury is unique. With this in mind, we take a personalized and methodical approach to your hand or wrist injury and then design a plan of action. After all we are here to treat our patients not just their symptoms.
The Sports Medicine Oregon orthopedic care capabilities include everything from cutting edge regenerative injections to joint replacement surgery and individually tailored strength training and physical therapy regimens. A treatment program focused on pain alone won’t remedy the underlying problem.
So what are your treatment options? It all starts with a detailed history of your problem and an exam by a board certified orthopedic or sports medicine physician and ends with a personalized plan of action specific to your hand or wrist injury.
At Sports Medicine Oregon, we’ve treated thousands of hand and wrist injuries and it all starts with a thorough history of your problem and examination at our state of the art facility. We will diagnose the root cause of your pain and instability and then design a strategy to help you restore your active lifestyle.
Simply put: Different types of hand and wrist pain will indicate different types of injuries. What is your body trying to tell you? Your specific symptoms and your activity level will give us a clear way to help you manage hand and wrist pain, swelling, stiffness and instability in a manner that will avoid further injury to your hand.
Once we’ve established your diagnosis, one of our board certified orthopedic and sports medicine physicians will assess and diagnose the cause of your hand and wrist pain symptoms. An accurate diagnosis is paramount to the shortest possible road to recovery.
Return to Play Guidelines
Understanding how often and how aggressively you can go about your normal activity regimen will depend on your injury, your lifestyle, and your hand and wrist diagnosis. Many symptoms can be adequately managed with strengthening and activity adjustments. At Sports Medicine Oregon, we call these personally tailored instructions your “Return to Play” guidelines.
Integrated Physical Therapy
Have you adjusted your lifestyle but your hands and wrists are still holding you back? Physical therapy can strengthen the surrounding muscles and increase flexibility. It is often a necessary step to take when your underlying hand or wrist injury is capable of healing without surgical intervention. Our on staff physical therapists will work directly with your physician to assure that your time is well spent.
Today, we are witnessing a true renaissance in sports medicine treatment and the latest biotech solutions can regrow healthy tissue and set you free from reduced range of motion and chronic pain in your hands and wrists. Is platelet rich plasma (PRP), prolotherapy, or stem cell (bone marrow aspirate concentrate) therapy right for you?
Imaging and Interpretation
If the previous treatment options haven’t adequately managed your symptoms it may be time to address the structural cause of your hand or wrist pain. Fortunately, we can image and diagnose many common hand and wrist injuries on-site.
Minimally Invasive Corrective Surgery
Unlike more invasive “open” surgery, arthroscopic hand and wrist surgery involves less pain, less swelling and shorter recovery times. After outpatient hand and wrist arthroscopy, patients return home the same day and can back to their active lifestyle in a minimal amount of time.
Total Joint Replacement
Are you experiencing bone on bone pain or joint popping and clicking? As a last resort, joints damaged by severe arthritis are often treated with total joint replacement surgery. If it turns out that this is the best option for you, our board certified orthopedic surgeons are leaders in the field.
Hand and Wrist Swelling, Hand and Wrist Pain: Time to See an Orthopedist
There are many common hand injuries each with a range of symptoms and degrees of severity. It’s important to understand exactly what these hand pain symptoms signify. What is your body trying to tell you?
Symptoms associated with less severe injuries (namely bumps, bruises, and mild hand and wrist sprains) can often be managed with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, structural injuries and more severe conditions will require professional treatment. Are these pain symptoms signs of a sprained wrist or a potentially more serious injury?
Hand and wrist pain? Tingling in the hands and fingers?
From stress fractures to ligament inflammation, swelling and general hand pain are associated with a vast range of common hand and wrist injuries. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis often include swollen wrist, hands, and fingers.
Nerve conditions in the arm, wrist, and hand may lead to tingling in the hands and wrists. Those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome often mention a tingling in the hands or a burning sensation in the hands and fingers. These sensations may radiate through the palm and out toward the tips of the fingers.
Stiff Wrists and Fingers? Fingers Locking?
Many sports injuries, conditions, and defects may reduce the overall mobility of the hands, wrists and fingers. Trigger finger specifically may make it painful to extend the affected finger and may even result in locked finger at times. Hand and wrist arthritis also often cause stiff joints and reduced range of motion. Similarly, tendon and ligament damage may too limit hand and wrist mobility.
Numbness in Hands and Wrists? Loss of Grip Strength?
Common nerve conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome may cause nerve damage over time. Eventually carpal tunnel sufferers may experience numbness in the hands, fingers, and thumbs and this may make fine motor skills such as holding a glass or shoe tying difficult. Fractures and tendon injuries may make finger flexing difficult leading to reduced hand function.
Wrist Popping and Clicking? Bone on Bone Pain?
Arthritis may lead to many hand and wrist complications over time. The loss of cartilage in the hand, wrist, and digits will lead to increased joint instability, bone pain as well as bone popping and cracking. Trigger finger symptoms also typically include bone grinding and grating.
Best Hand and Wrist Injury Treatment Options
Depending on your age and activity you may not need to undergo surgery. Fortunately, at Sports Medicine Oregon, we offer many non surgical hand and wrist treatment options for your hand or wrist injury including personalized rehabilitation at our state-of-the-art outpatient physical therapy center.
Your specific symptoms as well as your lifestyle activity level will give us a clearer idea of the treatment options to consider moving forward.
Accurate Diagnosis and Return to Play Guidelines
Once your hand or wrist injury has been assessed and diagnosed by our board certified orthopedic and sports medicine surgeons, we can determine your Return to Play guidelines. These treatments will establish specific rules regarding your expectations and limitations until you return to your active lifestyle.
While competitive athletes and active individuals may need surgery, less active individuals often benefit from the same techniques used to treat high-level athletes, such as physical therapy, strength training, and assistive braces alongside general lifestyle adjustments. In fact, hand and wrist injuries often respond well to nonsurgical treatment.
From hand arthritis to sprained wrists, your nonsurgical options will be determined by the severity of your injury or joint inflammation. With this in mind, those in the preliminary stages of osteoarthritis can greatly benefit from the full spectrum of nonsurgical treatments.
Physical therapy will allow you to strengthen the surrounding muscles and also increase range of motion. Based on your hand or wrist injury we will determine a plan of action create a strength training regimen based on you and your activity goals.
For decades, patients were exceedingly limited to cortisone and steroid injections designed to treat hand and wrist pain. Today, that has all changed and there are many state of the art biological regenerative injections (including PRP therapy and stem cell therapy) to regrow and build joint tissue. Come in today and let’s talk about your regenerative injection options.
When Hand or Wrist Surgery is the Best Option for Your Hand or Wrist Injury
Let’s say you’ve changed your lifestyle and your hands and wrists are still holding you back. If your symptoms cannot be managed with nonsurgical treatments or your functional plateau is keeping you from your active lifestyle it may be time to consider hand or wrist surgery.
Hand and Wrist Fracture Surgeries
If casts and immobilization cannot correct your hand, digit, or wrist fracture surgery is often necessary. Hand and wrist fracture surgery is used to correct, support, and align the fractured bones.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery
As noted previously, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. To treat this syndrome, your surgeon will perform a standard carpal tunnel release. This surgery involves cutting surrounding tissue to reduce this median nerve compression.
Trigger Finger Release
Trigger finger is caused by the narrowing of the tendon pulley located along the base of the affected digit. To correct this, the surgeon will open this tendon pulley allowing the pulley to extend properly without triggering or catching.
Hand and Wrist Arthritis Surgery
From arthritis surgeries used to correct appearance deformities to those designed to improve hand function, there are many hand and wrist arthritis surgeries to consider. Basal joint surgery is a common procedure used to correct or rebuild the basal joint joint. This surgery helps individuals who are experiencing difficulty maintaining a steady grip due to arthritis.
Tendon repair is used to correct a ruptured of partially torn hand tendon. During the procedure, your surgeon will carefully trim the ends of the affected tendons and then reattach the damaged or torn hand tendons.
Hand and wrist ligaments support and stabilize your joints and damaged or torn ligaments can lead to hand and wrist instability. Ligament surgery is used to repair or reattach damaged or torn hand and wrist ligaments.
Hand and Wrist Arthroscopy: Minimally Invasive Hand and Wrist Surgery
Today there are many outpatient wrist and hand arthroscopy options and typically patients are free to return home just hours after the procedure. Unlike more invasive procedures, arthroscopic hand and wrist surgeries do not require large incisions, reducing swelling and recovery times. These surgeries are geared toward tendons, ligaments, and joint preservation not joint replacement.
What exactly is arthroscopic hand and wrist surgery? During a typical procedure, the surgeon guides a small camera (arthroscope -- hence the name) through the hand, wrist, or forearm via a small incision and uses this visual data and surgical instruments to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your hand and wrist pain.
Less Pain and Swelling
Unlike traditional arthrotomy surgeries (also known as “open surgeries”) wrist and hand arthroscopy involves small incisions to treat the underlying problem. This means less swelling, less damage to normal tissue, and less pain after surgery.
Smaller incisions often enable shorter recovery times allowing you to get back to your normal daily activity faster.
Decreased Risk of Infection
These smaller incisions minimize the overall healing time and also reduce patient’s risk of infection.
Almost all arthroscopic procedures are performed as outpatient surgeries and patients are normally free to return home just 1-2 hours after the surgery.
What Is the Arthroscopic Hand and Wrist Surgery Recovery Time?
Now that the surgery is over, it’s time for the healing process to begin. Knowing what to expect during the recovery process can help us set realistic goals beforehand. What’s the average arthroscopic hand and wrist surgery recovery time? How long does swelling last after hand and wrist surgery?
Patients are able to return home an hour or two after surgery. At home, it’s important to keep the arms, wrist and hands elevated and apply ice packs as needed to minimize any swelling and pain. Moving the fingers can also help minimize swelling and stiffness after the procedure.
Most patients with less strenuous jobs can return to work a fews day following hand or wrist surgery. A full recovery following arthroscopic surgery will take between 4-6 weeks. Active individuals can expect to return to their competitive lifestyles about a month after surgery. During this time, your doctor will design a physical therapy regimen. These hand and wrist rehab exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint and also increase flexibility to restore your active lifestyle.