The anatomy of our hands is complex, and they are a vital part of our everyday lives, allowing us to function and carry out our daily activities. The hand has many bones, along with muscles, joints, bones, tendons and ligaments. Any of these structures can become injured, whether by accident or do to overuse. Hand pain can also be caused by diseases, such as arthritis and blood vessel disorders. The wrist is the most commonly injured joint in the body. The wrist is composed of eight carpal bones. As the hand and wrist are connected, many problems affect the two together, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.
Any problem causing pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness or a tingling sensation, or abnormal shape of the hand or wrist that persists for more than two or three days should be evaluated by your doctor to establish the cause, and allow treatment as early as possible. Early diagnosis and early treatment generally give the best results, let alone offering a quicker path to reduced pain.
You rely on the use of your hands for almost everything you do on a daily basis. However, when you have constant pain and discomfort in your hands and wrists, these simple tasks become more difficult and uncomfortable. Two big culprits of this type of pain that we treat are carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and arthritis.
The carpal tunnel is on the palm side of your wrist, surrounded by bones and ligaments. It protects a main nerve to your hand, known as the median nerve, as well as the nine tendons that bend your fingers. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except your little finger. It also provides nerve signals to move the muscles around the base of your thumb. This condition causes symptoms of tingling and numbness in your fingers and hand. This sensation can even wake you up from sleeping and may extend from your wrist up your arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome stems from anything that crowds, irritates or compresses the median nerve, such as a wrist fracture, swelling, or inflammation.
People with this disorder can ease discomfort by taking frequent breaks to rest their hands and wrist, and avoid activities that worsen your symptoms, and use ice to reduce any swelling and inflammation. If these don’t relieve your symptoms within a few weeks, a visit to a hand and wrist specialist is necessary to avoid further complication, and to relieve pain. The doctor may recommend additional options such as wrist splinting, medications, or surgery, depending on how advanced the disorder is.
Arthritis manifests itself in a number of painful, limiting ways. The most common joints affected by arthritis are the hands, spine, knees, and hips. Technically, pain is considered chronic when it lasts three to six months or longer, but arthritis pain can last a lifetime. The symptoms of arthritis depend on the type that you have and the location. While there are multiple types of arthritis, the two main types are called rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
From conservative treatment to the most advanced surgical techniques available, the specialists at Orthopaedic Associates will work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. While we make every effort to treat your conditions non-surgically, there will be times that surgery is the best or only approach. Delicate networks of nerves, tendons, and supporting structures of the hand and wrist make this part of the body particularly challenging to treat. Our team of doctors offers minimally invasive techniques, such as arthroscopy, to accurately evaluate your condition and treat it accordingly.
To learn more about when to visit a specialist to help with conditions affecting the wrist and hand, call Orthopaedic Associates at (440) 892-1440 to request an appointment.