Hand, Wrist, and Elbow
At All-Star Orthopaedics, we offer comprehensive treatment for one of the most delicate areas of the body – the hands. Injuries or diseases of the hands, wrists, or fingers can cause severe pain and discomfort. Dr. Michael K. Hahn is one of the most experienced hand surgeons in the region. He can diagnose your condition, determine the correct course of action, and perform skilled treatment to alleviate all symptoms.
Schedule a consultation to meet with our hand surgeon and begin the healing process with an experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable physician.
- Hand, Wrist, & Elbow Conditions
- Hand, Wrist, & Elbow Symptoms
- Hand & Wrist Surgery
- Hand & Wrist Surgery Recovery
Hand, Wrist, & Elbow Conditions
Some of the most common conditions that Dr. Hahn addresses include:
Arthritis affects millions of Americans and often manifests in the hands. Arthritis can develop if the cartilage that separates the joints in the hands begins to wear down or deteriorate. Without this protective level of cushioning, the bones can become inflamed and new protrusions of bone are created. Known as bone “spurs”, these protrusions can limit motion and cause mild to extreme discomfort. Some of the earliest signs of arthritis are called Heberden’s nodes, small protrusions that develop near the joints at the base of the thumbs or fingers. It is important to contact a hand specialist if you notice these lumps developing. Dr. Hahn can devise a treatment program to help ensure that your condition does not worsen and that any pain and discomfort is relieved. Treatments include anti-inflammatory and topical pain medications, glucosamine and/or chondroitin supplements, injections, splinting, or surgery.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur if the median nerve that passes through the wrist is squeezed or irritated. This irritation is a result of the tissue in the wrist swelling and rubbing up against the nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome often afflicts people who engage in repetitive motion in the workplace, such as typing. Many conditions can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, including pregnancy, obesity, and diabetes. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause numbness and pain and is typically treated by splinting, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, or in severe cases, hand surgery.
Wrist & Hand Pain
Sometimes other conditions besides arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome can cause discomfort in the hands and wrists. Conditions such as DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis and Dupuytren’s contracture can cause just as much pain even though they are not as well known. Dr. Hahn is skilled at identifying the source of the symptoms and will work to alleviate the condition without surgery if at all possible.
A broken bone on the hand, wrist, or elbow can be caused by a wide range of events, including recreational activity and sporting injuries, overuse, trauma (like a dog bite or another accident), or disease. Fingertips also commonly experience fractures and sprains from falls, crushing, or catching an object. Any one of the many small bones of the hands and wrist can experience a fracture, and determining the type and severity can allow our orthopaedic surgeon to provide the optimal treatment. Symptoms of a fracture typically include swelling, tenderness and pain, potential deformity, an inability to move or flex the area normally, or a knuckle depression. An X-ray can assist in diagnosing the condition and determining the ideal course of treatment. Many types of fractures can be addressed non-surgically, using a brace or splint for several weeks followed by light physical therapy or exercises. More severe fractures may require surgical repair.
Bent or Deformed Hand or Fingers
Bent or deformed hands or fingers can result from injuries or physiological conditions. Dr. Hahn can perform joint replacement or tendon reconstruction surgery to improve the shape of the hands or fingers in order to address both functional and cosmetic concerns. Prescription medications including corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs are also used for treatment.
Inflammation in the ligaments, joint linings, or tendon sheaths can cause ganglion cysts to appear. Although they are non-cancerous, these fluid-filled cysts are often removed because they are unattractive or uncomfortable for patients. Ganglion cysts typically develop on the backs of the wrists. In many cases Dr. Hahn can treat ganglion cysts by removing the fluid with a needle.
A mallet finger injury occurs when the finger is bent with such force that it becomes difficult to straighten. In this type of injury, the tendon and sometimes the bone are damaged and must be repaired. Mallet finger is typically treated with either a splint or surgery.
Bursitis / Elbow Pain and Fluid Buildup
The olecranon bursa is the name of the fluid-filled sac that lies between the tip of the elbow and loose skin. Bursitis is the condition that results if the olecranon bursa becomes inflamed or infected. Bursitis causes pain, fluid buildup, and in some cases restriction of motion. Treatments range from elbow pads and ice to splits, antibiotics, and surgery.
Normally the fingers made smooth continuous motions when closing or opening. However, Trigger finger causes the digits to catch and then suddenly snap forward in an abrupt movement. The pain and discomfort caused by this condition is typically relieved by medications, injections, or surgery.
Tennis elbow is a common condition that develops when the tendon that is attached to the outside of the elbow is irritated or inflamed. Although the injury affects the area near the elbow, the condition is caused by motions that involve the repetitive twisting of the wrist or forearm, such as playing tennis or using a screwdriver. Treatment includes topical analgesics, cortisone injections, and oral anti-inflammatory medicines. In some severe cases, surgery is necessary to repair the damaged tissue.
What Symptoms are Associated with Hand & Wrist Conditions?
Because our hands and wrists are so vulnerable, they are susceptible to debilitating symptoms, such as:
- Restricted motion
- A persistent “tingling” feeling
- Fluid buildup
- “Popping” or “snapping” sensations
These are only a few of many possible symptoms that may arise. If you notice any of these issues, we urge you to contact our practice. They could represent a concern that needs medical attention.
What Types of Hand & Wrist Surgeries are Available?
While the majority of the above conditions only require surgery in extreme cases, several types of hand and wrist surgeries are available for those with severe concerns. When such procedures are performed by a qualified surgeon, they can be extremely effective in restoring function to the hand and significantly easing discomfort. For instance, carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis can often be addressed with arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgery in which a small camera is inserted into the affected joint. From there, the surgeon watches from a monitor as he or she repairs the tissues of the wrist. In addition, a fracture may be treated with external fixation surgery, which involves the use of a specialized fixator to keep the fracture in place. The specific type of surgery recommended will be based on each patient’s unique concerns and conditions, and all options will be presented and explained before a treatment plan is developed. Dr. Hahn will decide upon the best course of action after a thorough examination of your condition.
Hand and wrist surgeries are delicate procedures that require a surgeon with years of training and specialized experience. Dr. Hahn, a graduate of Princeton University and Tufts University School of Medicine, has devoted his career to hand surgery. He has published numerous articles in several medical journals and is a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. His knowledge of hand and wrist anatomy and his advanced surgical skill enable him to perform complex procedures to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions.
What Does Recovery From Hand & Wrist Surgery Entail?
There are many different strategies for surgical repair of damaged hand and wrist tissues. As such, the course of recovery will depend on the surgery administered, the symptoms present, and other factors. In most cases, doctors will advise you to adhere to the trusted RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method following your surgery to reduce swelling and discomfort. Depending on the procedure, a splint or cast may also be required to encourage healing.
Dr. Hahn will provide you with personalized aftercare instructions to follow after your procedure. He will also schedule follow-up appointments to check on your progress.
Please contact All-Star Orthopaedics if you are experiencing symptoms of conditions outlined above. We can help you with a range of treatments designed to improve form and function of the hands.