While most people are familiar with some of the common ailments we see in clinic (like Carpal Tunnel), other conditions that we treat are not as well known to the general population. In this blog, we are breaking down the top hand and upper extremity conditions we treat at MSS to help make you more familiar with some of those less mainstream illnesses.
The Ones You May Know
Luckily, we already have you covered with past articles on some of the more well-known hand and upper extremity conditions! Check them out!
Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the hands caused by nerve compression at the wrist.
Occurs when the two tendons around the base of the thumb become swollen. This swelling can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain and numbness.
Condition in which a finger becomes stuck in a bent position, then snaps like the trigger of a gun being pulled.
Hand deformity in which knots of tissue grow beneath your skin to form a firm cord along your finger, keeping it from retracting and extending normally.
Broken fingers, hand, wrist, arm etc.
A noncancerous lump that forms on the wrist, hand, ankle, or foot that is filled with fluid.
The Other Common Conditions:
Tendonitis is the swelling of the tendons (tissue connecting muscles and bones) generally caused by overuse or an injury. Tendonitis is a more broad condition that can affect several parts of the body; causing pain and inflammation in the affected area. Trigger Finger and De Quervain’s are both types of tendonitis in the fingers. Some other types of tendonitis that are common in the hands and upper extremity include Golfer’s Elbow, and Rotator Cuff issues. In general, the most common non-surgical treatments for any kind of tendonitis include icing, changing body mechanics, splinting or possibly a steroid injection. Surgery is used if more conservative treatment methods fail.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease; caused by the breakdown of cartilage between the joints, resulting in the bones rubbing together. This grinding sensation causes pain, swelling, weakness and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is another disease that is not restricted to the hand and upper extremity, however, it is extremely common in those areas of the body. Age, activity level and past injury are all contributing factors to an osteoarthritis prognosis. Generally, OA can be diagnosed from an x-ray and additional hand evaluations. Lifestyle changes (including regular stretches, diet change and medication) are recommended as a first treatment option, followed by surgery to either reconstruct the joints, or fuse them.
Lesions of the Ulnar Nerve
This diagnosis is not quite as complex as it sounds. Lesions are regions of damage caused by injury or disease. The Ulnar Nerve is one of the main nerves of the arm, stretching from the hand, along the elbow, and all the way up to the neck. Cubital Tunnel is one of the more popular forms of Ulnar Nerve Lesions. In Cubital Tunnel, pressure on the nerve creates numbness and tingling along the forearm down through the ring and pinky fingers. While Cubital Tunnel is the more common among Ulnar Nerve Lesions, other ailments fall into this category as well, like Tennis Elbow, secondary damage from an elbow fracture or dislocation, arthritis and overuse of the hand, wrist and bending of the elbow. Much like the other conditions, lifestyle adjustments and occupational therapy are step one to treatment with possible surgery (depending on the origin of the injury) being step two.
Mallet Finger is characterized by the inability to extend the tip of a finger. The last joint of a finger (the one closest to the finger nail) becomes bent without the ability to uncurl fully due to an injury of the extensor tendon or if a fragment of bone breaks away. This condition tends to occur from over use, or from repeated jamming (common in basketball players). Typically, using a splint to straighten the finger for several weeks is the best course of treatment for a Mallet Finger condition. Surgery may be recommended if there is a segment of displaced bone, but it is not as common as the conservative treatment method.