Hand surgery is a medical specialty that addresses the problems and conditions that occur in your hand, all the way to your wrist, forearm and shoulder. Given their extensive, specialized training, a hand surgeon is an expert in more than just surgery. So what conditions does a hand surgeon treat, and how might they care for their patients besides surgery? If you are experiencing any sort of pain in the hand or upper extremity area, it will quite helpful to know what a hand surgeon can do to help you to manage your pain, and beyond.
Why a Hand Surgeon?
When it comes to the nuances and conditions of the hand and arm, there is no medical professional more adept and trained than a hand surgeon. Even before they see their first patient in their specialty, hand surgeons need to have completed all their academic and medical training, plus at least one year of rigorous specialty training, passed several milestones and must be a recognized as a member of the American Society of Surgery for the Hand. These are some of the conditions that your hand surgeon can help treat – regardless if the condition requires surgery.
With 27 bones in the hand and eight in the wrist, your hand is one of the most complex parts of your body. From sprains and sprains to fractures and dislocations, hand surgeons are experts in many of the general conditions that affect the hand and upper extremity area and have more training in that area than a general orthopedist.
Reuse Syndrome Injuries
Reuse Syndrome Injuries – RSIs – are very common among the hand and upper extremities and come in the form of carpal tunnel in the wrist; tennis, golfer’s and pitcher’s elbow; and rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder. It is not uncommon for hand surgeons to treat overuse injuries first with pain management techniques, from physical therapy and adaptative equipment such as splints; to cortisone injections and, if the condition continues to be painful or worse, surgery.
Arthritis and Other Tendonitis
Some conditions that affect the hand and upper extremities – Dupuytren’s Disease, de Quervain’s Tendonitis, and Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex – have fancy names but really are all about inflammation. Likewise, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and osteoarthritis are also conditions with uniquely identifying names and conditions, all of which are treated by a hand surgeon. Again, your hand surgeon will start with conservative treatments before determining if more invasive procedures are merited.
Severe cuts or trauma
Any type of trauma to the hand – from an accident to dog bites – might affect the integrity of your nerves, veins, ligaments, tendons or cartilage and may ultimately affect your mobility and quality of life. That’s why it’s important to evaluate any laceration or injury of your hand by a hand surgeon if possible.
Should your joints wear out over time or become damaged, reconstructive surgery may be needed. A hand surgeon is the ideal candidate to remove the damaged bone or structures and replace them with implants or artificial joints. This can not only alleviate pain, but can also improve your mobility and help you maintain the overall function of your hand.
If you or a loved one is suffering from orthopedic issues, specifically affecting your hand, contact the experts at Orthopaedic Associates. With cutting-edge therapies and a trustworthy staff, we’re here to help you work your way back to being a better you. For more information – or to schedule your consultation – call us at (440) 892-1440.