Arthritis Hand Hand Therapy Thumb Arthritis

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Surgery for Thumb Arthritis Pain

Thumb arthritis pain can be debilitating, making everyday self-care tasks intolerable. There is a surgical option when other treatments, such as injections and therapy, fail to adequately reduce pain. A carpometacarpal arthroplasty or CMC arthroplasty is a joint replacement procedure for the base of your thumb. It eliminates the grinding and pain felt from the rubbing of bone on bone after the protective cartilage has worn away, usually caused by arthritis.

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding this procedure:

Will I be in a cast?

Yes. You will likely be in a cast for 2-4 weeks. You will also use either a removable orthosis a hand therapist will custom make for you or an off-the-shelf thumb and wrist splint for a month after the cast has been removed. This will help maintain the optimum position of your thumb as you are healing and protect your new thumb joint.

What happens after my thumb has been immobilized?

Any time a joint has been immobilized, it takes time to regain your flexibility. For this surgery, the wrist and thumb are usually quite stiff. Your doctor will likely recommend you see a hand therapist to assist you with regaining the range of motion and strength safely.

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Hand Hand Surgery Replantation

What is Replantation?

Replantation is a procedure during which a surgeon will reattach a finger, hand or arm that has been completely cut from a person’s body. Replantation, however, isn’t always an option. A surgeon will only perform this procedure if the limb is still expected to function without pain. Sometimes, the body part is too damaged to perform a replant.

This procedure takes a number of hours to complete. The steps include:

  • Step 1: Damaged tissue is carefully removed.
  • Step 2: Bone ends are shortened and rejoined with pins, wires, or plates and screws. This holds the part in place to allow the rest of the tissues to be restored.
  • Step 3: Muscles, tendons, arteries, nerves and veins are then repaired. Sometimes grafts or artificial spacers of bone, skin, tendons and blood vessels may be needed, too. The grafts can be from your own body or from a tissue bank.
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Hand Hand Pain Overuse

Smartphone-Related Hand Injuries and How to Reduce Them

from WRVO Public Media

Repeated use of anything can cause wear and tear including your smartphone. Continued scrolling and tapping can wear down the tendons in your hand and wrist causing injury. Repetitive use injuries are common in older adults but health professionals are seeing injury in younger patients as the age smartphone use decreases.

Dr. Daniel Polatsch, an orthopedic hand surgeon and co-director of the New York Hand and Wrist Center of Lenox Hill, joins us this week to discuss how extended use of smartphones can cause injury and how to reduce the risk of it.

Trigger finger and tendonitis are two of the more common injuries related to overusing your hands. This is usually common in people who spend long hours typing at the computer all day but Polatsch is seeing more patients come in with these injuries due to smartphone use.

“It can develop into something called a trigger finger or trigger thumb which is actually the proper name,” said Polatsch.

Read the full story.

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Hand Hand Safety Knife Safety Turkey Carving

Infographic: How to Carve a Turkey

In the United States, 88% of people eat turkey on Thanksgiving. That leaves a lot of room for hand injuries! It’s not uncommon to accidentally cut yourself while carving a turkey or other meats. Unfortunately, carving injuries can be serious, sometimes involving amputation. Here’s how you can safely carve a turkey this Thanksgiving:

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Giving Back Hand Surgery

Random Fact: Giving Back

Did you know? Studies have shown that giving to others actually increases our health. Learn about how you can help adults and children who need life-changing hand surgeries around the world by visiting www.TouchingHandsProject.org.

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de Quervain's Tenosynovitis Tendonitis Tendons

Advice from a CHT: How to Prevent Tendonitis in New Mothers

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a common, painful inflammation of two tendons that move your thumb.  Most people with de Quervain’s will have pain at their wrist (just below the thumb) that will worsen with thumb or wrist movement. It is most often seen in women, especially in those who have recently had a child or those at the end of pregnancy – usually due to a combination of repetitive movement and an increase in swelling, which naturally occurs during pregnancy; however, all caregivers of young children can be susceptible to this overuse condition.

What can I do to prevent de Quervain’s?

The most important advice is to avoid overuse and repetitive motions of your wrist and thumb. Moving your thumb or wrist from side to side repeatedly (thumb side to little finger side) can provoke symptoms.  Changing the way we do things to rely on stronger, more capable muscles to do a job is helpful.

Specifically for new parents and caregivers, some tips include:

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Arthritis Finger Knuckles

A Hand Surgeon’s Advice About Knuckle Cracking

from Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute

ASSH hand surgeon member Sanjeev Kakar, MD talks to Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute about knuckle cracking. Is it good for you? Does it make your knuckles big and swollen? Does it give you arthritis? Hear what he has to say in this new podcast.


Real deal or wives’ tale: Knuckle cracking can cause harm, including arthritis? In this Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minute, we hear from a hand surgeon and his answer may surprise you.

Listen to the podcast.

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Anatomy Finger Hand Joints

Anatomy 101: Finger Joints

Joints are cartilage surfaces that connect bones to each other. This cartilage allows our bones to glide smoothly against one another, allowing us painless movement. There are four joints in each finger, totaling 20 joints in each hand!

The small, ringer, middle and index fingers all have the same four joints:

  1. Distal Interphalangeal Joint (DIP): The DIP joint is located at the tip of the finger, just before the finger nail starts. Arthritis can develop at this joint, and it is also commonly fractured.
  2. Proximal Interphalangeal Joint (PIP): The PIP joint is the joint just below the DIP joint. It is located below the top two bones of the finger and allows the finger to bend and extend. This joint can become stiff easily after injury.
  3. Metacarpophalangeal Joint (MCP): The MP joint is where the hand bone meets the finger bone, referred to as the “knuckle.” These joints are very important, allowing us to bend/flex and spread our fingers.
  4. Carpometacarpal Joint (CMC Joint): The CMC joint is located at the bottom of the hand bone. This joint varies in each finger. For example, in the index finger, it has little motion. In the small finger, it has a lot of motion. Injuries and problems with this joint are uncommon.

The thumb joints are a little different than the other finger joints. To learn more about the thumb joints and more about the finger joints, visit our online Anatomy section.

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