Nonsurgical and Surgical Treatments for Hand and Wrist Pain
Our hands do a lot, which makes hand and wrist pain and injuries very common. When the hand or wrist are in pain, the most routine tasks can be agonizing.
Muir Orthopaedic Specialists (MOS) takes a multi-faceted approach to treating hand and wrist pain, debilitating conditions and injuries. This includes surgical and nonsurgical treatments and physical therapy to relieve pain associated with various conditions and to improve function.
Hand and wrist movements are controlled by muscles and tendons located in the fingers, hand, wrists, elbow and arm. The hand is made up of 27 bones, which accounts for about one-fourth of all our bones. The wrist is made up of two parts that work together to function as one unit and allows one to flex or extend the hand.
Our physicians specializing in hand, wrist and finger orthopedics have undergone a minimum of five years of residency training, as well as fellowship training including microsurgery techniques for the hand. Our orthopedic surgeons and their physician assistants are uniquely trained and experienced in treating every condition in the hand and wrist, from the simplest infection to the most complex surgeries.
The first step is an exam and consultation to identify the issues. This can include imaging tests that allow our orthopedists to properly diagnose the particular hand or wrist condition or injury. After discussing different treatment options, our physicians will design a customized plan based on each patient’s needs.
Common hand & wrist injury problems and conditions we treat
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Dupuytren’s contracture.
- Finger or wrist dislocation.
- Ganglion cysts.
- Kienbock’s disease.
- Mallet/baseball finger.
- Mucous cysts.
- Nerve injury.
- Repetitive motion/stress syndrome.
- Sprains and strains.
- Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis).
- Writer’s cramp.
Our leading-edge treatments for hand & wrist pain, conditions and injuries
Immobilization and bracing
An orthopedic specialist may place the patient’s hand, finger or wrist in a splint, cast or brace to stop movement. Keeping the hand stabilized prevents additional harm and promotes healing.
While resting the hand, wrist or finger, our physicians often recommend medication that can help with inflammation. Any over-the-counter medications taken by the patient during this time should be approved by the orthopedist.
Physical therapy can help a patient who is suffering from swelling, stiffness or pain in the hands or wrist. Depending on the condition, our physical therapist will give the patient specific exercises to reduce symptoms.
Physical therapy can also be given after surgery to aid in increasing movement.
The most common injection for hand or wrist pain is a corticosteroid shot. It can be used to reduce the side effects of tendonitis, trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and arthritis.
When surgery is needed and when possible, the surgeons at MOS use a minimally invasive approach called arthroscopic surgery. The main advantage of surgery over some of the other treatment options is that it can provide long-lasting pain relief, better hand function and improve the appearance of the hands.
The most common hand and wrist surgeries include:
- Carpal tunnel release. To ease the pressure on the carpal tunnel nerve, surgery is done to split the carpal tunnel ligament.
- Dupuytren’s contracture fasciectomy. Surgery to remove tissue forming in the palm of the hands and finger. At times, surgery cannot fully remove all the deformed tissue.
- Ganglion removal. This surgery removes fluid that may leak out of the joint or tendon sheath causing a ganglion, which is an abnormal swelling. If the ganglions are painful or reduce movement, they can be drained using a needle or be removed with a minor surgery. It is likely that they will come back.
- Knuckle replacement. Rheumatoid arthritis of the knuckles, also known as the metacarpophalangeal or MCP joints, may cause damage and deformity that results in the fingers shifting away from the thumb. In a knuckle replacement, the surgeon will use an artificial joint to replace the knuckle to regain movement and reduce pain.
- Nerve repair. This is usually completed by nerve regeneration, nerve grafting or nerve transfers. A nerve injury could need reconstructive surgery if one of the less invasive surgery techniques mentioned above did not work to improve the nerve damage.
- Tendon repair. A tendon rupture, which is when the tendon tears or snaps, requires surgery to fix the damaged tendon. It is common for surgeons to use an undamaged flexor tendon from another finger to repair the ruptured tendon.
- Trapeziectomy. This surgery will remove the trapezium, the bone in the wrist at the base of the thumb. If a person has arthritis in this joint, basic tasks can become very difficult and cause pain.
- Trigger finger release. Surgery is done to increase the space for the flexor tendon to move.
- Wrist fusion. Used when the wrist is badly damaged, a wrist fusion fixes the wrist bone to the bones in the hand. It reduces pain but usually stops the ability to move the wrist up and down.
- Wrist joint replacement. This surgery aims to keep some wrist movement while getting rid of the pain by replacing damaged parts of the wrist bones with artificial components.