Tag Archive: hand specialist

Conditions That Affect Hand Function

The hands are vital parts of the human body and without them, very little essential and social activities can be performed such as feeding, being productive to be able to make a living and support dependents, and interactions with others. Losing the ability to use one’s hand can be a very emotional and debilitating problem that can lead to increased stress and anxiety that may result in the development of mental health issues such as depression. Therefore, the proper diagnosis and management of conditions affecting hands is extremely important.

The following are conditions that can result in the hands becoming unable to function properly and how they are managed.

Dupuytren’s contracture Hand SurgeryDupuytren’s contracture

  • Progressive thickening of the tissue in the palm of the hand results in shortening of this tissue and causes flexing contractures of the fingers (makes the fingers close).
  • The most commonly affected fingers are the fourth and fifth digits and this can be quite a disabling condition.
  • Management includes physical and occupational therapy and surgical intervention in severe cases.

Trigger finger

  • Referred to in medicine as stenosing tenosynovitis.
  • Trigger finger causes a similar issue to Dupuytren’s contracture. The difference though is that where the latter involves pathology of the tissue covering the palm of the hand, trigger finger is caused by thickening of the tissue that covers the tendons which allow the fingers to close.
  • The condition is characterized by the affected finger seeming like it is stuck in a trigger-pulling position. Since it is difficult for the finger to be straightened, when it becomes unlocked it resembles the pulling of a trigger.
  • Management includes trigger finger surgery and when the thumb is involved is referred to as trigger thumb surgery.
  • These surgeries may be performed through minimally invasive access or open procedures if the cases are severe.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • This condition is associated with compression of the median nerve through the carpal bones in the wrist.
  • Compression of the median nerve results in the decreased sensation of the thumb and first two fingers which can complicate and lead to decreased power in the hand with an inability to use the limb.
  • Management of this condition involves initial conservative therapy with pain relieving measure and the use of splints to help take pressure off the median nerve.
  • If these therapies are ineffective, or the case is severe, then carpal release surgery is performed.

Rheumatoid arthritis

  • An autoimmune condition where antibodies are produced by the immune system that attacks and damages the synovial tissue around joints, especially of the wrists and fingers.
  • This process results in damage to the joints leading to deformities of the fingers making them stiff and difficult to use.
  • Management of this condition includes using medications such as steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Early therapy may also include medications such as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like azathioprine, sulfasalazine, and methotrexate to help reduce disease progression as well as induce more remissions.
  • Surgical interventions may be warranted in cases where the medications are not working and the patient’s use of their hands has becomes severely debilitating.

All about Hand Fractures – Info from a Gilbert AZ Hand Surgeon

Anatomy of the Hand


A number of bones join together to make up the human hand. These bones also form and act as the appendage’s supporting framework which attaches the muscles together at the wrists and shoulder and enables the fingers and arm to move.

A considerable amount of pressure directly to a bone is needed to break it, i.e. a hand fracture hand wrist carpal tunnel pain photooccurs due to direct force to the hand. What usually comes next, is pain, swelling, and a decrease in usage of the injured hand.

Kinds of Hand Fractures

While some fractures may be considered as simple, with bone pieces being perfectly aligned and stable, there are other kinds of fractures that are just the opposite, where bone fragments tend to shift or lose their place. There are also some fractures that happen in the main body of the bone, while there are others that only break the surface of the joint.

Comminuted Fractures: These are fractures where the bone is broken into many pieces and is often highly unstable.

Open Fracture: Also known as the compound fracture, it usually happens when a bone fragment tears through the skin. There is a level of risk associated with this type of fracture.

Signs and Symptoms of a Hand Fracture

If you have a hand fracture, you will experience;

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of movement

To help determine the exact plan of action to take in the case of a hand fracture, your orthopedic hand surgeon in Gilbert or Chandler will first undertake a medical evaluation and x-rays. A number of treatment options will be made available to you, depending on what type of fracture you are suffering from.

Treatment Options for Hand Fractures

In order to treat a fracture that isn’t displaced, a splint or cast is usually recommended. Your orthopedic hand specialist may also prescribe one to protect a fracture that has been set.

There are some fractures that need to be held in place with the help of wires or pins. This is known as a closed reduction and internal fixation, because no incision is made to carry out the procedure. On the other hand, some fractures require surgery known as open reduction.

Articular fractures or those that disrupt the joint surface require a precise setting of bone fragments to smoothly restore the joint.

In some cases, a bone graft might be necessary, especially when the bone is severely broken. In this procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will take bone fragments from another part of the body or from a cadaver and attach it to the area to be repaired, which provides stability to it. Depending on the case, substitutes for bone graft are also used at times, instead of taking it from the body part of the patient.

Once the fracture has been set and gains enough stability, your orthopedic surgeon will lead you through a range of motion exercises aimed at reducing stiffness and improving mobility with physical therapy.    

The top hand specialists in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa and Queen Creek are at OSPI. All types of nonoperative and operative treatment are offered at Orthopedic and Sports Performance Institute for hand injuries. Most insurance is accepted. Call OSPI today at (480) 899-4333!