Common Hand Injuries
The hand is made up of 27 bones. Your wrist has eight bones. Your palm has five (the metacarpals) and the fingers are made up of 14 bones called phalanges. Fractures of the hand can happen in the metacarpals or phalanges. Breaks are usually the result of a fall in which you land on the hand, direct contact (usually during sports), or getting the hand crushed (in a door, window or machinery). Most hand fractures can be repaired without surgery. An orthopedist can realign the bones and a splint or cast can hold them in place. Some hand fractures will require surgery. Fractures that break through the skin or injuries from crushing accidents will require orthopaedic surgery and may require an orthopaedic surgeon to use wires, screws or plates to hold the broken bones in place. If the bone changes position while healing, you may permanently lose some function. Delay of treatment could result in ongoing joint pain or permanent stiffness in a finger or joint. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see an orthopaedic physician right away:
- Joint Pain
- Inability to move a finger
- Deformity (finger is crooked or has an unnatural bump in it)
- Finger looks shorter
- Depressed knuckle
- Difficulty forming a fist
Common Wrist Injuries
Distal Radius Fractures
The radius is the largest of the two bones in your forearm and is the most commonly broken bone in the arm. The end closest to the wrist is called the distal end. When the radius breaks near the wrist, it is called a distal radius fracture. The break is usually caused by a fall when someone tries to catch themselves on their outstretched hands. It can also happen in car accidents, bike accidents, and similar situations. If the other bone of the forearm (the ulna) is also broken, it is called a distal ulna fracture. Either of these injuries will cause joint pain in the wrist.
Another injury most usually caused by using an outstretched arm to break a fall is the scraphoid. The scaphoid is one of the small bones in the wrist, and is the wrist bone most prone to breaking. The scaphoid bone is located on the thumb side of the wrist, in the area where the wrist bends. Sometimes it may just feel like a sprain, and other times there may be pain at the base of the thumb or when you try to grip something. If it is broken, pain or swelling will ensue. Any joint pain should be diagnosed by an orthopaedic physician.
Wrist Diseases & Syndromes
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand problems. Symptoms include hand numbness and pain. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, structure in the wrist that resembles a tunnel. The bottom and sides of this tunnel are formed by wrist (carpal) bones and on the top is a strong band of connective tissue. It is called the transverse carpal ligament. The median nerve travels from the forearm into the hand through this tunnel. The tendons that bend the fingers and thumb (flexor tendons) also travel through the carpal tunnel. When the tissues surrounding the flexor tendons swell from overuse, it puts pressure on the median nerve. Symptoms include hand numbness, tingling, or pain, the feeling of electric shock in the thumb and nearby fingers, and pain traveling up the arm. Carpal tunnel can be attributed to many things including heredity, hand use, hormonal changes (pregnancy), age, and medical conditions like arthritis, thyroid disease, and diabetes. If it is diagnosed early, treatment can be nonsurgical such as a brace, steroids, anti-inflammatory medication, or change in hand usage activities. If these do not give you any relief or your symptoms are severe, surgery may be required. One of our Carpal Tunnel DFP Orthopaedic Surgeons will make an incision in your palm and divide the ligament of the carpal tunnel making more room and decreasing pressure on the nerve.
Excellent Orthopaedic Care
From arthritis to bone fractures to disease, the excellent physicians at Drisko, Fee and Parkins can diagnose and treat your ailment and have you back on track in no time. Our doctors are board certified and can perform everything from simple treatments to joint reconstruction and replacement. Trust the team at DFP Orthopaedic Surgery with all of your orthopaedic needs.