Here is everything you need to know about common conditions and injuries of the hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder. Please be sure to make an appointment with one of our doctors if you feel you suffer from one of these and need more information.
Arthritis at the base of the thumb is a genetic predisposition: like graying and thinning of the hair, it comes with age and it shows up earlier in some families. Patients with arthritis of the base of the thumb report pain and weakness with pinching and grasping.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is essentially a pinched nerve in the wrist. There is a space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when swelling in this tunnel puts pressure on the nerve.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone” nerve), which can cause numbness or tingling in the ring and small fingers, pain in the forearm, and/or weakness in the hand.
Patients with de Quervain syndrome have painful tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Tendons are the ropes that the muscle uses to pull the bone. You can see them on the back of your hand when you straighten your fingers.
Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening of the tissue just beneath the skin known as fascia. This thickening occurs in the palm and can extend into the fingers. Firm pits, nodules and cords may develop that can cause the fingers to bend into the palm, in which case it is described as Dupuytren contracture.
Elbow fractures may result from a fall, a direct impact to the elbow, or a twisting injury to the arm. Sprains, strains or dislocations may occur at the same time as a fracture. X-rays are used to confirm if a fracture is present and if the bones are out of place.
Extensor tendons are just under the skin. They lie next to the bone on the back of the hands and fingers and straighten the wrist, fingers and thumb. They can be injured by a minor cut or jamming a finger, which may cause the thin tendons to rip from their attachment to bone.
The muscles that bend (flex) the fingers are called flexor muscles. These flexor muscles move the fingers through cord-like extensions called tendons, which connect the muscles to bone. Deep cuts can injure the tendons and nearby nerves and blood vessels.
Ganglion cysts are very common lumps within the hand and wrist that occur adjacent to joints or tendons. The most common locations are the top of the wrist, the palm side of the wrist, the base of the finger on the palm side, and the top of the end joint of the finger.
The hand is made up of many bones that form its supporting framework. This frame acts as a point of attachment for the muscles that make the wrist and fingers move. A fracture occurs when enough force is applied to a bone to break it.
A mallet finger is a deformity of the finger caused when the tendon that straightens your finger (the extensor tendon) is damaged. When a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb and forcibly bends it, the force tears the tendon that straightens the finger. The force of the blow may even pull away a piece of bone along with the tendon.
Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a painful condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow.
Trigger finger/thumb occurs when the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick and constricting around the tendon, making it hard for the tendon to move freely through the pulley. Sometimes the tendon develops a nodule (knot) or swelling of its lining.
The wrist is made up of eight small bones and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. Wrist fractures may occur in any of these bones when enough force is applied to the wrist, such as when falling down onto an outstretched hand.
The most common ligament to be injured in the wrist is the scapho-lunate ligament. It is the ligament between two of the small bones in the wrist, the scaphoid bone and the lunate bone. There are many other ligaments in the wrist, but they are less frequently injured.