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Proper functioning of the hands and wrists (parts of the body that are also called the "upper extremities") – is necessary for daily activities. Writing, grabbing, driving, or lifting are severely limited if the muscles, nerves, joints, and bones in these areas are not working properly.

hand-diagram-orthopedic-surgery.

The design of the hands and wrists and their daily use put them at risk for injury. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, one-third of all acute injuries treated in emergency rooms involve the upper extremities.

Many injuries to these areas can be treated without surgery, and at BMC, physicians explore such options before considering surgery. However, there are times when surgery can be the better option. BMC surgeons are fellowship-trained in hand and wrist surgery and have extensive expertise in caring for the hands and wrists.

Conditions of the Hand

Carpel tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve which runs from the arm to the hand through the carpal tunnel. The median nerve controls the muscles around the base of the thumb. The tendons that bend the fingers and thumb, called flexor tendons, also travel through the carpal tunnel. When the median nerve is pinched or compressed, numbness, tingling, and pain can occur in the arm and hand. There are a wide range of causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, including: anatomical issues (small wrists), heredity, certain inflammatory conditions, pregnancy and its related hormonal imbalances, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid gland imbalance, age, and repetitive movement such as operating a jackhammer.

Endoscopic surgery offers relief to patients suffering from severe carpal tunnel syndrome. This is one of the most common procedures performed by BMC's orthopedic hand surgeons.

Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

Electromyography (EMG)

A single-fiber electromyography measures the electrical energy traveling between the brain and muscles.

Nerve Conduction Study

A nerve conduction study measures how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

Ultrasound

Diagnostic ultrasound, also called sonography or diagnostic medical sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions. Most ultrasound examinations are done using a sonar device outside the body, though some ultrasound examinations involve placing a device inside the body.

MRI

This test uses a magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of body structures in multiple places. You may be injected with a contrast agent for better imaging, and you will most likely lie on a moving table as pictures are taken. MRI is a more detailed tool than x-ray and ultrasound and for certain organs or areas of the body, it provides better images than CT. MRI may not be recommended if you have a pacemaker or other metal implants.

 

Blood Tests

A common tool for disease screening, blood tests provide information about many substances in the body, such as blood cells, hormones, minerals, and proteins.

Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Bracing / Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

A class of medications, including but not limited to aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, that are used for reducing pain and redness, swelling, and heat (inflammation) in arthritis and other painful inflammatory disorders.

Activity Modification

Physicians may prescribe general lifestyle changes to a patient, in order to help relieve the symptoms of their condition and improve their overall physical function and well-being. Depending on the medical condition being treated, activity modification may include: decreasing or increasing one's level of physical activity; added rest; beginning a new activity or exercise program; changing sleep habits; or modifying one's physical environment at home, in their vehicle, or at work.

Corticosteroid injections

Also known as cortisone shots, these are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of the body. Cortisone shots are most commonly given into joints — such as the ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine, and wrist.

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Carpal tunnel release surgery is performed to decompress the median nerve at the level of carpal tunnel (wrist). There are two main types of carpal tunnel surgery: open and endoscopic. Both are outpatient procedures. Most carpal tunnel surgeries are performed using the "open" technique, which involves a 1-2 inch incision in the palm. Endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery can be performed under regional or general anesthesia and is sometimes associated with less pain and faster recovery.

Physical Therapy

Sometimes referred to simply as "PT," this is a type of rehabilitative treatment that uses specially designed exercises and equipment to help patients preserve, regain, or improve their physical abilities following injury, disability, disease, or surgery. Physical therapy can include therapeutic exercise, massage, assistive devices, and patient education and training.

Occupational Therapy

Sometimes referred to simply as "OT," this is a type of therapy that focuses on engagement in meaningful activities of daily life (as self-care skills, education, housework, or social interaction). The goal of occupational therapy is to enable or encourage participation in these everyday activities despite a patient's physical or mental challenges.

Cubital tunnel syndrome (also known as ulnar neuropathy) is a nerve compression syndrome which affects the ulnar nerve that runs along the inside of the elbow. The ulnar nerve passes close to the skin's surface in the area of the elbow commonly called the "funny bone." Its symptoms - numbness, weakness, tingling, and pain - are similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the elbow is held in a bent position for an extended period, such as during sleep or while holding a phone.

Diagnosing Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

Electromyography (EMG)

A single-fiber electromyography measures the electrical energy traveling between the brain and muscles.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

Treatments for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

A class of medications, including but not limited to aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, that are used for reducing pain and redness, swelling, and heat (inflammation) in arthritis and other painful inflammatory disorders.

Activity Modification

Physicians may prescribe general lifestyle changes to a patient, in order to help relieve the symptoms of their condition and improve their overall physical function and well-being. Depending on the medical condition being treated, activity modification may include: decreasing or increasing one's level of physical activity; added rest; beginning a new activity or exercise program; changing sleep habits; or modifying one's physical environment at home, in their vehicle, or at work.

Nerve Gliding Exercises

A series of exercises that encourage the nerves to glide normally as the joints are moved. They relieve pressure on the nerves of the arm and help prevent stiffness in the arm and wrist. These are often used post-surgery or as part of a rehabilitation program after an injury. Common areas for exercising include the hands, forearms, and neck.

Cubital Tunnel Release Surgery

An operation that is performed to increase the size of the cubital tunnel and as a result, decrease pressure on the nerve. In some cases the nerve can be simply decompressed; in other cases the ulnar nerve must be moved to a different position about the elbow. This procedure tends to work best when the nerve compression is mild or moderate.

Ulnar Nerve Anterior Transposition

An operation to treat patients with cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition affecting the inside of the elbow. During the procedure, the ulnar nerve is moved to a new place that keeps it from stretching when the elbow is bent. The nerve may be moved to lie under the skin and fat but on top of the muscle, or within the muscle, or under the muscle.

Medial Epicondylectomy

A surgery performed to release the cubital nerve, which runs along the inside of the elbow. During the procedure, a part of the medial epicondyle (found in the arm) is removed. This prevents the nerve from getting caught on the boney ridge and stretching when the elbow is bent.

Tendinosis (or tendonitis) means inflammation of a tendon; De Quervain's tendinosis is the irritation or inflammation of the tendons that run along the base of the thumb. Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the thumb and side of the wrist that can travel up the arm, particularly when gripping or twisting the wrist. Overuse can cause De Quervain's tendinosis, as can pregnancy and its related hormonal changes, and rheumatoid arthritis. This condition is most common in middle-aged women.

Diagnosing De Quervain's Tendinosis

Finkelstein test

To diagnose De Quervain's tendinosis, a physician may ask the patient to place his or her thumb against their hand, making a fist with their fingers closed over the thumb, and then bending the wrist toward the little finger. If the patient has De Quervain's tendinosis, this test is quite painful, causing tendon pain on the thumb side of the wrist.

Treatments for De Quervain's Tendinosis

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

A class of medications, including but not limited to aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, that are used for reducing pain and redness, swelling, and heat (inflammation) in arthritis and other painful inflammatory disorders.

Activity Modification

Physicians may prescribe general lifestyle changes to a patient, in order to help relieve the symptoms of their condition and improve their overall physical function and well-being. Depending on the medical condition being treated, activity modification may include: decreasing or increasing one's level of physical activity; added rest; beginning a new activity or exercise program; changing sleep habits; or modifying one's physical environment at home, in their vehicle, or at work.

Corticosteroid injections

Also known as cortisone shots, these are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of the body. Cortisone shots are most commonly given into joints — such as the ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine, and wrist.

Surgery for De Quervain's Tendinosis

This procedure is an option for patients with severe cases of De Quervain's Tendinosis, or whose symptoms do not improve. The goal of the surgery is to open the thumb compartment (covering) to make more room for the irritated tendons. Normal use of the hand usually can be resumed once comfort and strength have returned.

Flexor tendons help control movement in the hand. An injury to the forearm, fingers, thumb, wrist, or hand can damage the flexor tendons and affect movement. Symptoms include pain and the inability to move the hand, fingers, or thumbs. Injuries are usually caused by a deep cut, or an athletic injury, but rheumatoid arthritis can also weaken the flexor tendons, causing them to tear.

Diagnosing Flexor Tendon Injuries

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

Treatments for Flexor Tendon Injuries

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Surgery for Flexor Tendon Injuries

Tendons can tear straight across, at an angle, or be pulled right off of the bone, so there are many different methods surgeons use to repair them. All the methods involve sutures, also known as stitches. Flexor tendon surgery is typically an outpatient procedure; the doctor applies a dressing and splint, and the patient goes home on the same day of the surgery. The patient's fingers and wrist will be placed in a bent position to keep tension off the repaired tendon.

A ganglion cyst is a common, non-cancerous and fluid-filled cyst (growth). They are most often found on the top of the wrist but can also be found under the wrist, or at the base or end joint of a finger. They can grow larger with increased wrist activity and get smaller with rest. The cyst usually forms a noticeable lump and can come and go with no other symptoms, though sometimes it does press on nerves, causing pain. There is not a known cause, though women are more affected than men and they are more common in younger people age 15-40, as well as gymnasts, who frequently apply stress to their wrists.

Diagnosing Ganglion Cyst

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

MRI

This test uses a magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of body structures in multiple places. You may be injected with a contrast agent for better imaging, and you will most likely lie on a moving table as pictures are taken. MRI is a more detailed tool than x-ray and ultrasound and for certain organs or areas of the body, it provides better images than CT. MRI may not be recommended if you have a pacemaker or other metal implants.

Ultrasound

Diagnostic ultrasound, also called sonography or diagnostic medical sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions. Most ultrasound examinations are done using a sonar device outside the body, though some ultrasound examinations involve placing a device inside the body.

Treatments for Ganglion Cyst

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Aspiration for Ganglion Cysts

Used when ganglion cysts in the wrist and hand cause a great deal of pain or significantly limit daily activities. Most often performed on ganglion cysts on top of the wrist, the cyst is punctured with a needle so that the fluid can be withdrawn. Many times, aspiration doesn't completely eliminate the cyst, which, like a weed, will grow back if the root is not removed.

Surgery for Ganglion Cysts

Surgery may be an option for patients whose symptoms are not relieved by nonsurgical methods, or if the ganglion returns after one or more aspiration procedures. This surgical procedure is called an excision. It involves removing the cyst as well as part of the involved joint capsule or tendon sheath, which is considered the root of the ganglion. There is a small chance the ganglion may return following an excision.

Mallet finger, also known as baseball finger, happens when the tendon on top of the hand that straightens the finger (extensor tendon) sustains an injury, stopping the finger from straightening all the way and causing the tip to droop. Usually the injury happens when something strikes the tip of the finger, and sometimes a small fracture is evident as well. The long, ring, and small fingers of a person's dominant hand are most likely to be injured.

Diagnosing Mallet Finger

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

Treatments for Mallet Finger

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Surgery for Mallet Finger

It is not common to treat a mallet finger surgically, unless bone fragments or fractures are present. If that is the case, surgery is done to repair the fracture using pins to hold the pieces of bone together while the injury heals. Surgical treatment of the damaged tendon usually requires a tendon graft, where tendon tissue is taken (harvested) from another part of the body or, even fusing the joint straight.

Nerves carry messages between the brain and the parts of the body. Sensory nerves carry messages regarding feelings – pressure, pain, and temperature, while motor nerves help the body move. Nerves in the hands, fingers, and wrists are fragile and can be damaged through pressure, stretching, cutting, or any injury to the body. When nerve function is affected, it can result in loss of movement or feeling. Orthopedic surgeons help determine treatment options, which in severe cases, may include surgery to the affected area.

Diagnosing Nerve Injuries

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

Blood Tests

A common tool for disease screening, blood tests provide information about many substances in the body, such as blood cells, hormones, minerals, and proteins.

Electromyography (EMG)

A single-fiber electromyography measures the electrical energy traveling between the brain and muscles.

Treatments

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

A therapy that uses a low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. TENS is done with a battery-operated machine that's small enough to fit in a pocket. Usually, two wires that conduct electrical current are connected from the machine to the skin. They are often placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point, and they create a circuit of electrical impulses that, when delivered, decreases some patients' pain.

Surgery for Nerve Injuries

Procedure where the insulation around both ends of the injured nerve is sewn together. The goal in fixing the nerve is to save the insulating cover so that new fibers can grow and the nerve can work again. Once the insulating cover of the nerve is repaired, the nerve generally begins to heal three or four weeks after the surgery. In the case of nerve injury to the fingertips, the feeling of "pins and needles" is common during the recovery process. While this can be uncomfortable, it usually passes and it is actually a sign of recovery. Unfortunately most nerve injuries always have some permanent loss to the affected areas.

Osteoarthritis, or "wear and tear" arthritis, is a common degenerative disease that can affect any joint in the body. The hand has many joints that can become inflamed when the smooth cartilage (cushioning) at the end of bones begins to wear away. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and being unable to move the joint. If left untreated, the bones in the joint can lose their normal shape, resulting in more pain and less movement. Typically seen in older people, the condition comes on gradually over time and injury such as a fracture can increase the chance of developing it.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis of the Hand

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

MRI

This test uses a magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of body structures in multiple places. You may be injected with a contrast agent for better imaging, and you will most likely lie on a moving table as pictures are taken. MRI is a more detailed tool than x-ray and ultrasound and for certain organs or areas of the body, it provides better images than CT. MRI may not be recommended if you have a pacemaker or other metal implants.

Blood Tests

A common tool for disease screening, blood tests provide information about many substances in the body, such as blood cells, hormones, minerals, and proteins.

Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Hand

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Corticosteroid injections

Also known as cortisone shots, these are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of the body. Cortisone shots are most commonly given into joints — such as the ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine, and wrist.

Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Hand

There are many surgical options for osteoarthritis of the hand. If there is any way the joint can be preserved or reconstructed, this option is usually chosen. When the damage has progressed to a point that the hand will no longer work, a joint replacement or a fusion is performed. Joint fusions provide pain relief, but the fused joint no longer moves. Finally, the goal of joint replacement is to provide pain relief and restore function.

Osteoarthritis, or "wear and tear" arthritis, is a common degenerative disease that can affect any joint in the body. Arthritis in the thumb affects the joint at the base of the thumb, which becomes inflamed when the smooth cartilage (cushioning) at the end of the bones begins to wear away, causing friction. Symptoms include pain, swelling and immobility. If left untreated, the bones that make up the thumb can lose their normal shape, resulting in more pain and less mobility. Typically seen in older people, the condition usually comes on gradually over time, and injury such as a fracture can increase the chance of developing it.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis of the Thumb

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

MRI

This test uses a magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of body structures in multiple places. You may be injected with a contrast agent for better imaging, and you will most likely lie on a moving table as pictures are taken. MRI is a more detailed tool than x-ray and ultrasound and for certain organs or areas of the body, it provides better images than CT. MRI may not be recommended if you have a pacemaker or other metal implants.

Blood Tests

A common tool for disease screening, blood tests provide information about many substances in the body, such as blood cells, hormones, minerals, and proteins.

Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Thumb

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Thumb

This is an option when nonsurgical treatment methods are not working for the patient. The operation can be performed on an outpatient basis, and several different procedures can be used, including bone fusion, or removing part of the joint and reconstructing it using either a part of the patient's own tendon or an artificial substance.

Osteoarthritis, or "wear and tear" arthritis, is a common degenerative disease that can affect any joint in the body. Osteoarthritis of the wrist happens when the smooth cartilage (cushioning) at the end of the bones at the wrist joint wears away, causing friction and inflammation. Symptoms include pain, swelling and immobility. If left untreated, the bones that make up the wrist can lose their normal shape, resulting in more pain and less mobility. Typically seen in older people, the condition usually comes on gradually over time, and injury (like a broken wrist) can increase the chance of developing it.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis of the Wrist

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation with very high frequency and energy. X-rays are used to examine and make images of things such as the bones and organs inside the body.

MRI

This test uses a magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of body structures in multiple places. You may be injected with a contrast agent for better imaging, and you will most likely lie on a moving table as pictures are taken. MRI is a more detailed tool than x-ray and ultrasound and for certain organs or areas of the body, it provides better images than CT. MRI may not be recommended if you have a pacemaker or other metal implants.

Blood Tests

A common tool for disease screening, blood tests provide information about many substances in the body, such as blood cells, hormones, minerals, and proteins.

Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Wrist

Bracing/Splinting

A splint, also known as a brace, is a rigid device that holds a body part in place so that it is unable to move. It is usually used as a treatment for a suspected fracture, sprain/ligament damage, or other injury. It can be applied by first responders in the event of trauma. Splints can reduce pain, aid in proper healing, and can also prevent further injury. They can be worn for several days or weeks to hold the body part in place for the duration of healing time.

Activity Modification

Physicians may prescribe general lifestyle changes to a patient, in order to help relieve the symptoms of their condition and improve their overall physical function and well-being. Depending on the medical condition being treated, activity modification may include: decreasing or increasing one's level of physical activity; added rest; beginning a new activity or exercise program; changing sleep habits; or modifying one's physical environment at home, in their vehicle, or at work.

Corticosteroid injections

Also known as cortisone shots, these are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of the body. Cortisone shots are most commonly given into joints — such as the ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine, and wrist.

Medication

With trigger finger, the flexor tendon that controls finger and thumb movement gets stuck. This restricts movement of the finger or thumb, causing a tender lump in the palm, swelling, a popping or pain as the finger straightens, stiffness, or the finger/thumb to be stuck in a bent position. Certain repetitive hand uses and some illnesses like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can cause trigger finger, and it is most often seen in women.

Diagnosing Trigger Finger

Physical Exam

Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.

Treatments

Corticosteroid injections

Also known as cortisone shots, these are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of the body. Cortisone shots are most commonly given into joints — such as the ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine, and wrist.

Surgery for Trigger Finger

When nonsurgical treatment methods have failed, this procedure – which is usually done on an outpatient basis – may be performed to widen the opening of the tunnel so that the tendon can slide through it more easily. Most people are given an injection of local anesthesia to numb the hand for the surgery. A small incision is made in the palm, or sometimes, this surgery is done with the tip of a needle. When the finger heals following the surgery, the tendon has more room to move and the finger can more easily be flexed and extended.

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