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Hand & Wrist: Complex Marvels

The hand and wrist are a complex and amazing group of 27 bones, muscles and tendons. When they're healthy and working well, you can easily grasp a steering wheel or a child's hand, control tiny tools or heavy-duty equipment, and enjoy a variety of entertainment - from the precise work required of many hobbies to the powerful grasp you might need for sports.

But when hand and wrist conditions affect the bones, muscles, tendons or nerves, it can prevent you from doing the things you want and need to do. That's when you need the expertise of hand and wrist specialists here at The Hand Center.

We're experts at diagnosing the cause and creating a treatment plan to help you:

  • Reduce pain
  • Increase movement (range of motion)
  • Gain strength
  • And get back to work and fun.

Hand and wrist conditions are often the result of accidents or injuries, over-use, age and diseases such as arthritis. Many times, people are born with conditions that affect the use of their hands and wrists, either at birth or as they grow older. But even everyday activities - from hobbies to work - can cause injury or pain.

Your treatment plan might include hand therapy with a trained therapist, exercises to do at home, medicines or surgery - or a combination of these. When necessary, we can also help you learn new ways to perform tasks so that you prevent re-injury or so you are better able to do the activities that you both need and want to do.

Common Hand and Wrist Conditions

Arthritis of the Hand

Most common in the hands and fingers, arthritis results when joint surfaces that normally move smoothly become irregular and/or inflamed.

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Arthritis of the Base of the Thumb

The joint at the base of the thumb provides a wide range of movement. When the cartilage layer that covers the end of that bone wears out, bones directly contact one another, creating arthritis pain and potentially deformity.

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Brachial Plexus Injury

Brachial plexus nerves control the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.  Injuries to this nerve system can prevent the arm and hand from working correctly and may cause a loss of feeling.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Often described as a pinched nerve at the wrist, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers.

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de Quervain Syndrome

de Quervain syndrome refers to pain from the thumb side of the wrist often felt when grasping or twisting.

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Dupuytren's Disease

Dupuytren's Disease is not typically painful.  Rather its lumps and pits that start in the palm of the hand and extend into the fingers make every day tasks difficult to perform.

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Extensor Tendon Injury

Minor cuts and finger jams may injur the Extensor Tendons.  Since these tendons run down back of the hand (allowing fingers & thumbs to straighten), they do not have much protection and are often treated with stitches or splints to return normal function back to the hand.

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Flexor Tendon Injuries

Flexor Tendons run from the elbow to the fingers, allowing fingers to bend. A large cut to the palm side of the wrist, hand, or fingers may not look serious from the outside, but can create serious damage to the flexor tendons.

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Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion Cysts occur in the wrist and fingers.  They may or may not be painful and are not cancerous.  Affecting any age, these cysts are very common.  The cause is unknown, sizes vary, and they may disappear on their own.

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Hand Fractures

Hand fractures occur when enough force is applied to a bone in the hand to break it.  They vary in complexity and may cause pain and lack of movement.

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Nerve Injuries

Because nerves transmit messages from the brain, when they are injured, the muscles in the shoulder/arm/hand stop working and may lose feeling. Most injured nerves can be fixed with surgery.

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Replantation

When a finger, hand, or arm has been severed, surgical reattachment or replantation, is possible. The procedure is only performed when use can be given back to the damaged area. In some cases, the part is too damaged for replantation to be possible.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Most common in the wrist and knuckles, Rheumatoid Arthritis causes the tissue to become inflamed and swollen. Joints may feel hot and have a reddish color to them.

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Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger inhibits the movement of fingers and thumb and may cause pain, discomfort, or a popping/catching feeling at the base of the finger/thumb.  Often associated with diabetes, rhumatoid arthritis, and gout, there is actually no known cause for this condition.

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Wrist Sprains

Force to the wrist may cause a sprain of the wrist ligaments.  Often resulting from sports activities, falls and severe twisting are common causes for a wrist sprain.

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For a more comprehensive list of finger to shoulder conditions, visit the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.