Hand & Wrist Problems
Fractures and joint injuries
Fractures of the hand and wrist are extremely common. Wrist bones are the most commonly broken bones in patients. Symptoms of hand and wrist fractures include pain and swelling around the affected area, as well as deformity of the wrist, in wrist fractures.
Typically, treatment for hand and wrist fractures involves the use of casts or splints. However, surgery may be considered in some situations to re-align the bones, keep them in place and aid healing.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is pinched in at the wrist. The median nerve is the main connection from the brain and spinal cord down to the finger tips. This nerve controls sensory information on the palm of the hand and the fingers. Squashing (compression) of the nerve will prevent the nerve from working properly.
Symptoms may include pain around the hand, and numbness, tingling, itching or burning sensation on the skin. A muscle weakness around the wrist can also occur. Medications can be used to reduce inflammation. If the problem continues, an operation (carpal tunnel release) may be performed as a day-case surgery.
Tendonitis and tenosynovitis
Wrist tendonitis (tenosynovitis) is a common condition, involving irritation and inflammation of the tendons around the wrist joint. DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis is one type of wrist tendonitis, which affects tendons at the base of the thumb. Common symptoms of tendonitis are pain over the affected area and swelling of the surrounding soft-tissues.
Patients may be given anti-inflammatory medicines and cortisone injections to treat the condition. If these fail, surgery can be used to release the tight tendons, and to remove the inflammatory tissue, to allow more space for the tendon.
A ganglion cyst is the most common type of swelling on the hand. Ganglion cysts are not cancerous and while they may vary in size, they will not spread to other parts of the body.
Some ganglion cysts can become inflamed, putting pressure on nearby nerves, and may become unsightly. One method of removing ganglions involves inserting a needle into the ganglion cyst and extracting the fluid, however the cyst often returns. Surgery tends to be a more effective way of removing ganglions.
Trigger finger is a common condition that occurs when a finger gets stuck in a bent or flexed position, and then suddenly snaps straight – like pulling a trigger. Trigger finger is caused by a nodule, or knot developing in a tendon connecting the finger bone to the muscle of the forearm.
A trigger finger may resolve on its own. Steroid injections into the tendon can be used to treat the condition. Surgery can also be used to release the tendon.