Hand and Wrist
Injuries to the hand and wrist can be a common issue, often caused by trauma or overuse.
Our orthopedic surgeons are highly skilled and experienced in providing surgical and non-surgical treatments to adult and adolescent patients. Services include evaluation of all hand and wrist injuries, outpatient and inpatient surgery, hand therapy and rehabilitation.
Our surgeons are committed to using leading, state-of-the-art resources and techniques to determine the best procedures and recovery plans for each patient’s case. In this way, patients who come to the Lifespan Orthopedics Institute for hand and wrist surgery are assured the optimal care experience, individualized for them.
Resources at the Orthopedics Institute include instruments for arthroscopic and microvascular surgery, fracture fixation and tendon surgery.
What is the most common injury to the wrist?
Most injuries to the wrist are traumatic – typically wrist fractures (bone crack or break) and sprains (damage to the ligaments).
A distal radius fracture is the most common injury to the wrist. It is a break in the arm bone called the radius. It occurs when you fall on an outstretched wrist.
There are a host of sprains, with names that range from parts of the body to types of sports to the people who discovered the injury:
Thumb sprains are injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament.
Wrist sprains occur when you try to catch a fall and land on your palm, bending your wrist backwards, and possibly stretching or tearing the ligaments connecting the bones in your wrist.
Bone Fractures and Injuries
Bone fractures and injuries occur when a bone is pushed out of place so that it no longer aligns correctly at the joint.
Hand fractures are fractures of the metacarpals (the bones in your hand just before your knuckles) and your phalanges (the bones between the joints of your fingers).
Finger fractures, also called a boxer's fracture, are the most common fracture of the metacarpals, and occurs when you strike an object with your closed fist.
Scaphoid fractures result from fractures to the scaphoid bone, one of eight small bones that make up the wrist. These types of fractures may not be obvious at first and can be mistaken for a sprained wrist.
Finger dislocation is one of the most common injuries to an athlete's hand. It is an injury to the joint above the knuckle, the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. Injuries to the PIP joint occur when the finger is either hyperextended (forced backwards) or forced into flexion (downward into a bent position).
Soft Tissue and Closed Tendon Injuries
Tendons are a type of connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. A common injury of the tendon is called tendonitis, an irritation of the tissue.
DeQuervain's Syndrome is a common injury in racquet sports and in athletes who use a lot of wrist motion, especially repetitive rotating and gripping.
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is caused by overuse of the hand, which may eventually cause irritation of the tendons found along the thumb side of the wrist. This irritation causes the lining around the tendon to swell, making it difficult for the tendons to move properly.
ECU Tendonitis (extensor carpi ulnaris) tendonitis is another common sports-related closed tendon injury. ECU tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon that runs along the back of the wrist and is caused by repetitive twisting and backward flexion of the wrist.
Baseball Finger (or mallet finger) is an injury that commonly occurs when a ball hits the tip of your finger, bending it beyond its natural limit, tearing the extensor tendon that controls muscle movement in the affected finger.
Jersey Finger, (is not what you think it might be!), it’s the opposite of baseball finger and occurs when the fingertip, usually the ring finger, is forcibly extended. The name is derived from incidents when a player’s finger gets caught in an opponent's jersey. This causes the flexor tendon, which bends the fingertip, to be pulled away from the bone, leave you unable to bend your finger without help.
Boutonnière Deformity is an injury to the tendons that straighten your fingers. It occurs when your finger receives a forceful blow when it is bent. If damage is significant, the bone may pop out through a tear that resembles a buttonhole ("boutonnière" in French). If you have a boutonnière deformity, the middle joint of your finger will bend downward, and the fingertip end joint bends back. People with a boutonnière deformity cannot fully straighten their finger.
What are the early signs of arthritis in hands?
Arthritis is a disease that attacks the tissues of your joints. It occurs much less often in the hands and is more often tendonitis.
The most common forms are osteoarthritis (OA), when the protective cartilage in the joint breaks down, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), when the immune system attacks the joints. Early symptoms of arthritis include:
- Pain in the hands and fingers
- Swelling in your hand/wrist joints
- Stiffness in your joints and hands
- Weakness in your hands
The four areas of the hand most prone to arthritis are the:
- base of your thumb, where your thumb meets your wrist
- middle joints of fingers
- top joint of fingers nearest the nails
How do I know if I have carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis?
Symptoms such as nagging pain with tingling in your hands and fingers can be due to carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. The location of the pain and discomfort is different for each condition.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the compression of a nerve.
- Pain occurs on the palm side of the wrist
- The tingling moves to the thumb, index finger and middle finger
- Some people experience itching
- The pain is on the other side of the wrist
- There is numbness in the pinky finger
Do not ignore chronic pain in the hand and wrist area and do not self-diagnose. Seek a professional medical evaluation.