Summit Orthopedics

Hand, Wrist, and Elbow

Summit Orthopaedics offers conservative, non-surgical treatments to the latest state-of-the-art surgical procedures for hand, wrist, and elbow conditions. Patients of all ages and activity levels are seen for simple or complex conditions.

Hand surgery is the field of medicine that deals with problems of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, and bicep. Hand surgeons care for these problems with and without surgery. They devote their time to examining, treating, and studying hand and upper-extremity ailments, and are specially trained to operate when necessary.

Conditions of the Hand

Repetitive motion or overuse injuries such as tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons) are among the most common hand conditions. Your hands can also be affected by normal wear and tear on the joints, resulting in arthritis.

Some of the most common hand conditions include

Conditions of the Wrist

Your wrists will usually suffer injury when your hands are used as a form of protection during a fall, which can result in wrist fractures and injuries involving ligaments, tendons, and nerves. 

Some of the most common wrist conditions include 

  • De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
  • Ganglion Cysts
  • Distal Radius Fracture
  • Scaphoid Fracture

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is tendonitis that is caused by overuse of the wrist next to the thumb. The overuse causes inflammation of the tendons between the thumb and the wrist. When the tendons move through the tunnels, the inflammation can cause numbness and tingling. Common symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis include tenderness, pain, and weakness of the thumb and wrist. Patients with symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis complain of pain during normal activities including writing, typing, and any simple thumb movement. Treatment for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis includes wrist splinting and physical therapy. If those treatments do not improve symptoms, then cortisone injections and/or minimally invasive surgery can treat De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are bumps that occur on the hand and wrist. The lumps are noncancerous swellings that arise when synovial fluid leaked from the joints or tendons and forms a cyst on the hand. Symptoms of ganglion cysts may include hand and wrist pain and/or pressure, disfigurement of the hand, and difficulty with hand and wrist movement. Ganglion cysts will either disappear on their own over time or get bigger. If ganglion cysts get bigger, they may cause pressure and/or pain in the wrist or hand which means that they will have to be removed using a needle aspiration or minimally invasive surgery. It is important to get ganglion cysts checked out by your doctor if symptoms and pain worsen over time.

Distal Radius Fracture

A distal radius fracture usually occurs as the result of a fall on an outstretched hand and usually results in pain, swelling, and bruising of the affected limb. The radius is the larger of the two bones in the forearm. Sometimes there is gross deformity with the wrist hanging in an odd position. There are several different classifications of distal radius fractures and it is important to identify which type to determine the treatment needed. Treatment will vary not only based on the type of fracture but severity as well. Treatments can be nonsurgical and need only a cast to surgical intervention.

Scaphoid Fracture

The wrist is formed by the two bones of the forearm, the radius and the ulna, and eight small carpal bones. The scaphoid bone is one of the carpal bones on the thumb side of the wrist, just above the radius. A scaphoid (navicular) fracture is a break that occurs most often after a fall onto an outstretched hand. Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture typically include pain and tenderness in the area just below the base of the thumb. These symptoms may worsen when you try to pinch or grasp something. Treatment for a scaphoid fracture can range from casting to surgery, depending on the severity and location of the fracture.

Conditions of the Elbow

A common cause of elbow pain is tendinitis, an inflammation or injury to the tendons that attach muscle to bone. Tendinitis of the elbow can be a sports injury, often from playing tennis or golf. You may also get tendinitis from overuse of the elbow. Other causes of elbow pain include sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, bursitis, and arthritis. Treatment depends on the cause, so it is important to consult a doctor who specializes in upper extremity conditions to get the right diagnosis and treatment. 

Some of the most common elbow conditions include 

  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused when the ulnar nerve in the elbow is compressed. The ulnar nerve, commonly known as the ‘funny bone,’ runs through the cubital tunnel in the elbow which is composed of bone and tissue. When the tissue is swollen due to overuse or repetitive use, the blood supply can be aggravated which then causes the symptoms for cubital tunnel syndrome. Symptoms for cubital tunnel syndrome include elbow pain and/or stiffness, loss of strength in the hand, pain, and tingling in the fingers, and numbness in the fingers. It is important to seek treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome as over time, the nerve damage can become permanent if symptoms go untreated. Treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome includes elbow splinting or padding and anti-inflammatory medication. Other treatment recommendations may include cortisone injections or minimally invasive surgery.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a tendonitis of the outside of the elbow, unlike golfer’s elbow which affects the inside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is mainly caused by repetitive use during tennis or any other activity that uses the hand or wrist muscles. These muscles share a common tendon that is connected to the portion of the elbow bone known as the lateral epicondyle. Tiny tears happen over time and with age, the body has a more difficult time repairing itself which leads to symptoms of tennis elbow. Symptoms of tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis include pain while bending the wrist, tenderness or pain in the elbow, difficulty picking up heavy objects, and weakness in the hand and wrist. Treatment for tennis elbow includes physical therapy, stretching, rest, and/or anti-inflammatory medication. Other treatment recommendations may include cortisone injections or minimally invasive surgery.

Golfer’s Elbow

Medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow is tendonitis of the inside of the elbow joint. The repetitive overuse of these muscles causes inflammation of the tendons, the connective tissue between the muscle and the bone. While golf is a common cause of medial epicondylitis, it can also be caused by any repetitive motion or sharp sudden movement that involves the elbow. Common symptoms of golfer’s elbow include pain at the inside of the elbow, elbow stiffness, numbness or tingling in fingers, and hand and/or wrist weakness. Treatment of golfer’s elbow can include physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, splinting, and stretching. Other treatment recommendations may include cortisone injections or minimally invasive surgery.

Contact Us

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your hands, fingers, wrists, or elbows, contact Summit Orthopaedics at (503) 850-9940 to schedule an appointment with one of our hand surgeons.

Our hand surgeons specialize in Hand, Wrist, and Elbow conditions, and are experts in their field in both surgical and non-surgical interventions. They provide thorough and accurate diagnoses and recommend the best treatment for your condition to assure maximal recovery.

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