You likely take your hands for granted until pain prevents you from doing an everyday activity. Your hands perform thousands of tasks for you, from long days typing on a keyboard to swinging a hammer if you’re a carpenter.
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jonathan Shults, with Coastal Empire Orthopedics, treats many patients with various hand problems. Following are five common hand complaints and how we treat them. The type of treatment depends on the severity of the condition.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, your median nerve, a large nerve running down your arm through your wrist and your hand, is inflamed. Rest, ice, pain medication, and altering ergonomics that affect your hand and arm often help resolve symptoms.
If you have severe inflammation, we can administer a cortisone shot to calm it, provide a splint during the day and night, and follow up with physical therapy if needed. If conservative methods don’t work, we can perform a simple operation to make room for your median nerve and tendons by cutting a ligament.
Arthritis in your hand may prevent you from accomplishing everyday tasks. This condition, characterized by inflammation, swelling, and stiffness, is common among seniors, but others with hand trauma or rheumatoid arthritis can have a problem at any age.
Medication, injection, physical therapy, and splinting or bracing are nonsurgical options that can lessen pain, help avoid joint deformity, and increase joint stability. If you need surgery, we advise you on the best surgical approach for your hand.
De Quervain’s disease
Suppose you have pain and swelling around your thumb and have difficulty grasping a coffee cup, turning your wrist, or using a pinching motion. In that case, the diagnosis may be De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Treatment is similar to that of carpal tunnel—rest, ice, and medication help. We provide a cortisone shot if your pain is severe. A splint immobilizes the thumb and wrist, letting the tendons rest. Once the inflammation has subsided, we may prescribe physical therapy, strengthening your muscles and reducing your pain.
Early treatment helps avoid surgery. If you need surgery, we release the tissue around the affected tendon, allowing it to glide freely as you use your thumb and wrist.
You may develop tendonitis, which means you have small tears in the tendons or the tissue surrounding them. Your hand is likely tender and weak.
Treatment is similar to that for carpal tunnel or De Quervain’s disease. If you need surgery, it’s often a minimally invasive procedure in which we can use local anesthesia to repair the tendon.
Trigger finger or thumb
If you have a trigger finger or thumb, the affected digit becomes bent and won’t straighten out. Your tendons have swollen, or some of the tendon tissue may have formed a lump from irritation.
Conservative treatment is similar to that for the above conditions. Rest, medication, and wearing a splint can help ease the pain. We can give you a cortisone injection if needed. We give you very gentle stretching exercises to do once the initial inflammation has eased.
We may perform an in-office needle procedure in which we numb your hand and use a needle to separate tissue preventing your tendon from moving. If you need surgery, we make a tiny incision to open the tendon sheath.
Call Coastal Empire Orthopedics or book an appointment through our online portal today if you have troubling hand pain, weakness, or numbness. We provide prompt diagnosis and expert treatment to restore movement.