Treatment for Hand and Finger Injuries
Orthopedic Hand Treatment at The Medical Center of Aurora
Our hands are susceptible to a variety of injuries from repetitive use at work and play, because of aging and disease, or due to sport related injuries. During every day activities severe hand injuries can be caused from common activities such as receiving a deep cut while preparing a meal, an animal bite from a neighbor’s pet or blunt trauma when moving furniture.
To schedule an appointment with a hand surgeon or to inquire about hand surgery, please call 303-873-0630.
Because our hands and fingers have a variety of bones, nerves and muscles working together in a small space, hand surgeons must treat your hands with great care to relieve pain in your hand and restore function to your hand and fingers.
Orthopedic Hand Conditions and Injuries
Arthritis of the Hand or Thumb
Arthritis in the hand causes joint inflammation, but also causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Arthritis of the hand and thumb can be debilitating conditions that affect patient’s ability to handle objects, operate machinery and life their day-to-day life.
Hand surgeons treat arthritis of the hand and thumb with a focus on pain relief, maintaining the greatest possible mobility and function, slowing disease progression and maintaining or improving quality of life. When possible, hand surgeons strive to treat arthritis of the hand through medications, physical therapy and lifestyle changes.
If you have debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, you may need surgery. Rheumatoid arthritis surgery is done onsite at The Medical Center of Aurora in newly renovated operating rooms.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve disorder. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain and numbness, especially in your thumb and index or middle fingers. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may also include hand stiffness or cramping, weakness or clumsiness in the hand and pain that moves up the arm.
Prior to recommending carpal tunnel surgery, initial treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome will include altered use, rest and wrist stabilizing devices. Physical therapy may be helpful as well as over-the-counter or prescription medications to help with pain management. If symptoms are severe, or continue after trying other treatments are exhausted, a hand surgeon may recommend carpal tunnel surgery to relieve symptoms.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a set of symptoms caused by abnormal pressure on the ulnar nerve, an area on the inside of the elbow. Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome can include numbness and weakness in the hand, particularly the pinky and ring fingers.
In most cases, cubital tunnel syndrome will go away when excess pressure on the elbow is removed. Cubital tunnel syndrome is most often treated with the recommendation of lifestyle alterations, physical therapy, and over-the-counter medications for pain relief and muscle relaxation.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to relieve compression and restore the nerve function. Physical therapy after surgery will help rebuild the muscle strength. In some cases, if left untreated, long-term cubital tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent muscle damage in the hand.
Dupuytren’s Syndrome, also called Dupuytren’s contracture, is a hand deformity that usually develops over many years as knots of tissue form under the skin of the fingers, eventually preventing the affected fingers from straightening completely, which can interfere with daily activities.
Doctors don't know what causes Dupuytren's Syndrome. It mainly affects the ring finger and pinky, and occurs most often in older men. The younger a person is first afflicted with Dupuytren’s Syndrome, the more severe the condition tends to become.
If the disease progresses slowly, causes no pain and has little impact on the ability to use the hands, treatment may not be necessary. If the condition is affecting daily activities or causing pain, a hand surgeon may recommend surgery to remove the affected tissue in the hands. The goal of treatment is to improve function.
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
De Quervain's tenosynovitis is an irritation of tendons that run from the wrist to the thumb. These tendons pass through a tunnel-like tissue, called a sheath, at the wrist. The tunnel area can cause additional pressure and irritation on thickened or swollen tendons, making normal movements painful.
Treatment for De Quervain's tenosynovitis is to relieve pain and help you regain full function of the wrist. Supportive care may include restricting activities of the thumb and wrist, ice therapy to help relieve swelling, a thumb splint to support the wrist and medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflation and decrease pain.
If supportive care is not helpful, then cortisone injections may be recommended to reduce swelling. If the cortisone injections are not helpful, a hand surgeon may perform surgery to open the tunnel the tendon is passing through.
Ganglion Cyst of the Wrist and Hand
A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac. It is usually attached to the membrane that surrounds a tendon or a joint lining. Ganglion cysts usually appear on the back of the wrist. They may also be on the underside of the wrist, hand and fingers.
Ganglion cysts may go away without treatment. If they do not go away, but they are not causing any pain, no treatment is necessary. If the ganglion cyst is causing pain, treatment may include putting a needle into the cyst to drain the fluid, injecting a corticosteroid solution into the cyst, or surgically removing the cyst.
A finger dislocation happens when a finger bone moves out of place. A finger dislocation may also often involve stretching or damage to the ligaments. A finger dislocation can happen in any of the finger joints.
A dislocated finger will be very painful. If you have a dislocated finger, seek medical care right away. Your orthopedic physician will need to move the finger bone back into place. Local anesthetic may be used to help reduce pain. After your finger is moved back into place, the finger will be taped or a split will be used to keep it immobilized until the finger heals. For severe injuries or ones that cannot be moved back into place manually, hand surgery may be necessary to put the bones back into place.
A finger fracture is a break in a bone in one of the fingers. Proper treatment for a finger fracture is necessary to prevent long-term complications or problems with the finger, such as permanent finger immobility or misalignment.
A hand surgeon will work to put the bones of the finger back in place, either through hand surgery or non-surgical means. During the healing process, the finger will need to be stabilized either with tape, a splint or a cast. Pain relief medications and physical therapy may also be needed during recovery.
A finger sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments that support the small joints of the finger. Symptoms of a finger sprain include pain and tenderness in the finger, pain when moving the finger joint and swelling of the finger joint.
A finger sprain can be treated through rest, ice, compression, splinting and taping, and pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications. In rare cases, surgery may be required if the ligament is torn completely.
Flexor Tendon Injury
A flexor tendon injury is damage to the tendons running all the way up to the fingertips or the tendons on the palm side, which allow you to curl your fingers. The most common cause of the flexor tendon injury is a deep cut to the palm or finger. When these tendons are damaged, you can lose your ability to bend your finger(s).
Most patients with this type of injury require hand surgery to regain motion.
To fix this injury, hand surgeons may sew the tendon back together or sew the tendon back to the muscle. A splint may be worn after surgery to protect the hand. A physical therapist can help by providing exercises to regain finger strength and increase range of motion post surgery.
Mallet finger is sometimes referred to as “baseball finger” and happens when the extensor tendon to the distal joint of the finger is stretched or torn when something forces it past its normal range of motion. This injury sometimes includes a small fracture of the finger.
Treatment for mallet finger includes ice, pain medication, a splint and finger exercises to strengthen the finger after the splint is removed. This may be the case if there is a total tear of the extensor tendon, hand surgery may be required to repair the injury. Hand surgery may also be needed if there is a fracture extending into the joint where the tendon has pulled a piece of bone loose. An untreated mallet finger can lead to a permanent deformity.
Trigger finger is a condition in which one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position. It may bend or straighten with a snap. Symptoms of trigger finger include finger or thumb stiffness, pain, swelling. Trigger finger is more common in women. Individuals at higher risk for developing trigger finger have jobs or hobbies requiring a repetitive gripping action.
It is important to see a doctor immediately if the trigger finger becomes red or inflamed – this means an infection has developed. Generally, orthopedic specialists treat trigger finger by giving the tendons rest with a brace or splint. Medications, including corticosteroid injections and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to decrease inflammation, decrease pain and help relax the finger. Severe cases of trigger finger may not respond to medications. In this case, hand surgery by a specialized hand surgeon may be used to release the tendon from a locked position.
To schedule an appointment with a hand surgeon or to inquire about hand surgery, please call 303-873-0630.
We Have Specialists for All Your Orthopedic Hand Injuries
Our collaborative team of medical professionals, which includes surgeons, nurses, staff and rehabilitation specialists, will create a comprehensive treatment program to care for your specific needs. At The Medical Center of Aurora, our hand surgeons will provide you with the customized care necessary for your individualized needs. We know each hand injury is as unique as your fingerprint. We have laser guided surgical tools and renovated operating rooms so that your experience with us will be exceptional.
The Medical Center of Aurora has joined forces with Own the Bone. As a partner of the Own the Bone network, we work to recognize early signs of osteoporosis, prevent and treat injuries associated with osteoporosis.