The hand is an elaborate instrument that is both tough and delicate. It is responsible for sensations and motions that allow us to experience and control the world around us. When an injury or condition affects the hand, it can impact your ability to function in a variety of ways. It can also produce cosmetic issues, as some problems can be quite disfiguring. At the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, our hand surgery specialists treat a wide range of hand injuries and conditions, restoring both form and function for many of our patients.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This common and painful condition affects the median nerve in the wrist and is typically caused by repetitive motions like typing. Symptoms of this condition might include numbness or tingling in your hand, particularly at night. Mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome may be treated with nonsurgical methods like medication or splinting the wrist at night. However, when patients do not achieve enough relief from these measures, surgery may be necessary to release the ligament that forms the root of the carpal tunnel to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
This condition affects the ulnar nerve on the inside of the forearm, also known as the “funny bone” nerve. The disorder can lead to numbness or tingling of the small finger and the forearm. Weakness in the hand is also a symptom. Cubital tunnel syndrome may be treated with rest and stabilizing the area at night in some cases. Severe conditions may require surgical intervention, which involves releasing or moving the nerve or removing a portion of the bone to relieve pressure.
Gamekeeper’s Thumb/Skier’s Thumb
This condition is commonly associated with work or sports injuries and occurs when the thumb is pushed away from the index finger, causing ligament tearing. It was dubbed skier’s thumb because the damage often occurs to skiers as they take a fall while holding onto their pole. The condition can lead to significant pain and disfigurement, as the thumb can appear as though it is out of its normal position. In some instances, the injury will heal without surgical intervention, but some patients will require surgery to achieve full correction.
Trigger finger is a sometimes painless but often disfiguring condition that results in a finger “locking” into a bent position. The culprit in trigger fingers is the sheath on the palm side of the hand, in which the tendons of the thumb and fingers pass through. Some diseases and overuse activities can cause a thickening of this sheath, irritating the tendon and causing it to swell. Pain, catching and eventual locking of the finger will occur. If anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections fail to provide relief, surgery to open the sheath can also be done.
This disorder occurs when the ligament in the palm thickens and develops nodules. When the problem becomes severe, it makes it impossible to straighten the fingers completely. The ring and small fingers are the most common ones involved. When the deformity is mild, and there is no functional loss, surgery is not generally required. However, when the contracture is significant and interferes with function, surgical removal of a portion of the ligament is the optimal treatment to restore function and prevent further deformity.
Ganglion cysts are benign growths that form in the joints of the fingers and hand. They are commonly seen on the wrist or around a finger joint. While the lumps are usually painless and harmless, if they grow large enough, they can interfere with the function of the hand. Cysts that press on a nerve can also cause pain, and the lumps can become a cosmetic concern. In these instances, treatment may be required to eliminate the bump. Treatment may include aspiration of the cyst or surgical incision.
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
Tendonitis on the wrist by the thumb can be both painful and disabling. This condition occurs when the tendons to the thumb become inflamed as they pass under the ligament, leading to pain with even the slightest movement of the wrist. Treatment may consist of rest, medication and possibly, a periodic steroid injection. However, when these treatments do not produce the desired relief, surgery may be necessary to release the inflamed tendons.
Injuries and conditions of the hand and wrist can be painful, debilitating and unsightly. With a variety of treatments available, these concerns can be effectively addressed to reduce discomfort and restore form and function to the limb. To learn more about your options in hand and wrist procedures, contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio today at 419-222-6622.