Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Hand Pain Nerves Pain

8 Signs of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) – is a pain condition that can be present for a long period of time. Those with this condition have a dysfunction in their central or peripheral nervous systems, causing the system to send frequent or constant pain signals to the brain, which results in the nervous system becoming overactive.

Here are 8 signs that you may have CRPS:

  1. “Burning” pain
  2. Sensitive skin
  3. Changes in skin temperature (warmer or cooler compared to other parts of the body)
  4. Changes in skin color (often blotchy, purple, pale or red)
  5. Changes in skin texture (shiny and thin, and sometimes excessively sweaty)
  6. Changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  7. Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
  8. Decreased ability to move the affected body part
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Hand Hand Pain Technology

The Surprising Side Effects from Using Technology

from Harvard Health Letter

You’ve mastered the art of texting, emailing, and web surfing on your smartphone and computer. But along with that digital prowess, you’ve picked up an unexpected side effect.

“We get a number of patients who develop injuries from these activities,” says Dr. Tamara Rozental, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand, wrist, and elbow disorders at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Hand pain

The repetitive motions of texting and typing can lead to general hand pain from underlying osteoarthritis (the wearing away of cartilage in the joints). “Using these gadgets doesn’t cause osteoarthritis, but if you’re prone to it, it can increase your symptoms,” Dr. Rozental says.

Using your thumbs too much to text can cause strain or overuse injuries of the tendons that run from the wrist to the thumb (a condition called De Quervain’s tenosynovitis). Symptoms include pain over the thumb side of the wrist, which can appear gradually or suddenly and move up the forearm.

Read the full story.

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Boutonnière Deformity Finger Joints Thumb

What is a Boutonnière Deformity?

Boutonnière deformity is when the finger or thumb is bent down at the middle joint and bent backwards at the end joint (see photo above). This deformity can happen for a couple of different reasons, including:

  1. A cut tendon on the back of the finger or thumb
  2. Tearing or weakening of the tendon from a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis

These two reasons are what can cause the middle joint to bend down. The backwards bending of the end joint is caused after the middle joint bends because there is more pull on the end joint of the finger.

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Anatomy Bicep Tendon Tear Hand Muscles Tendons

Anatomy 101: The Distal Biceps

The distal biceps muscle is located in the front of your arm (see image above). This muscle helps you to bend your elbow and twist your forearm. Unfortunately, the biceps is prone to injury, especially the biceps tendon, which connects the bicep muscle to the radius bone in your forearm. This tendon can weaken over time, which is called tendonosis. If you have tendonosis of the biceps tendon, you may feel a dull or sharp pain just past the elbow in the forearm. There’s also a chance that you will feel no pain.

Tendonosis can sometimes lead to a tear or rupture in the tendon. Tears or ruptures can happen when you are lifting something heavy such as furniture or weights.

Some signs that you may have torn or ruptured your biceps tendon include:

  • A popping feeling at the time of the rupture or tear
  • Pain in the elbow area
  • Weakness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Warmth in the elbow area
  • Muscle spasms
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Brachial Plexus Nerves Shoulder

Ask a Doctor: Brachial Plexus Injuries

Hand surgeon Ryan Zimmerman, MD answers your questions about brachial plexus injuries.


What is the brachial plexus? 

The brachial plexus is a complicated web of nerves located near the base of your neck and top of your shoulder.  Typically, five nerves from the spinal cord at your neck weave together and eventually form the nerves for your shoulder, arm and hand.

How do brachial plexus injuries happen?

Brachial plexus injuries usually happen due to a stretching injury across the nerves.  Most of the time, the nerves get stretched but stay connected.  In severe cases, the nerves can tear. There are a few common ways for brachial plexus injuries to happen.  In newborns, the injury can occur during birth, This is more likely if the baby gets stuck during delivery.  During sports, tackles or collisions can cause a stretch injury.  This is commonly referred to as a “stinger” or “burner.”  In car or motorcycle accidents, the brachial plexus can be stretched by the force of the impact.

What are the symptoms of a brachial plexus injury?

Each injury is unique, and the symptoms are due to the exact nerves that get stretched and how badly they get stretched.  Many patients with brachial plexus injuries describe “electrical” or shooting pains that can run all the way down to the hand.  Numbness and weakness are also common.  The numbness can range from a slight funny feeling to total numbness. Weakness can range from mild loss of strength to total inability to move the shoulder, elbow, or hand.

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Finger Hand Jammed Finger Mallet Finger

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: What is a Mallet Finger and How is it Treated?

A mallet finger involves injury to the tendon that straightens the tip of the finger. This type of injury can occur when the tip of the finger is jammed, forcing it to bend quickly and forcefully. Banging the tip of the finger while doing everyday tasks or having a ball hit the end of the finger while playing sports are common ways this injury can occur. The forceful bending causes a tear in the tendon or a small piece of bone can break off along with the tendon.

This injury can cause pain and swelling. Along with the pain and swelling, the tip of the finger rests in a bent position and the person is not able to straighten it. There may be bruising after this type of injury as well.

A mallet finger injury is most often  treated with a small finger splint that keeps the tip of the finger straight. Keeping the tip of the finger straight for up to eight weeks allows the tendon to heal. The small splint can be provided by the doctor or can be custom made by a hand therapist.

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Arthritis Hand Thumb Thumb Arthritis

Losing Your Grip? How to Treat Your Thumb Arthritis

from the Cleveland Clinic

Imagine how frustrating it would be to try to open a jar or button a shirt without your thumb. This feeling is all too common for those with one of the most common types of hand osteoarthritis.

Hand osteoarthritis is second in prevalence only to knee arthritis in the United States. Osteoarthritis in the thumb joint nearest the palm — the carpometacarpal (CMC) or basal joint — is the type that most commonly causes patients to seek the care of a hand or orthopaedic surgeon. The CMC joint, which is between the thumb metacarpal and a small bone called the trapezium, allows the swiveling, pivoting and pinching needed to grip things in your hand.

Patients older than age 40 are at risk for thumb arthritis, with women affected five to 10 times more frequently than men, says orthopaedic surgeon David Shapiro, MD.

“While men and women can get basal joint arthritis, women seem to have more joint laxity, which leads to malalignment of the joint, cartilage wear, arthritis and pain, “ Dr. Shapiro says.

Read the full blog post.

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Hand Hand Surgery Smoking

How Smoking Can Affect Your Hands

Due to the chemical nicotine – which is present in cigarettes, cigars and pipes – smoking can affect many parts of the body other than the lungs. This includes the hands and upper extremities. First, nicotine can make existing hand conditions worse. Two examples of this are:

  • Broken bones: A broken bone (fracture) can have more trouble healing in people who smoke. If you break your hand, wrist or arm, the fracture may not even heal.
  • Dupuytren’s Contracture: This is a common condition that causes fingers to permanently bend into the palm, making it impossible to straighten the fingers. It may be more common in smokers.
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