Hand Hand Surgery Opioids Pain Surgery

Ask a Doctor: What to Expect After Surgery

Dr. Ekkehard Bonatz answers your questions about what to expect after you’ve had hand surgery.

Q: I’ve been told I will have a cast, splint, or brace. What does that mean?

A: Many surgeries require a short time of protection to allow your body to start its recovery from your procedure.  Leaving surgery, your hand, wrist, or forearm may be wrapped with a bulky dressing. Surgeons will frequently include a splint as a part of the dressing. It is a rigid part of the dressing that is intended to protect the surgical repair and add to comfort.  A splint typically covers only part of the surgical area, leaving some room for swelling.  Depending on what is needed for your particular surgery, your surgeon may recommend that you return to the office after a few days for a dressing change or a change to a full cast

A cast is applied by wrapping fiberglass tape or plaster around your hand, wrist, or arm. The cast hardens and forms a rigid hollow tube around your extremity. It holds the surgical area still during the healing process. It may need to be changed over time to account for swelling, wound care, suture removal, or to take x-rays.  Some surgeries require a brace during the healing process. 

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Arthritis Hand Hand Pain

Getting a Grip on Arthritis-Related Hand Pain

Man holding his hand – pain concept

from U.S. News & World Report

ESPECIALLY AS A PERSON ages, it’s common to experience pain in the hands that’s caused by arthritis. It’s most often the result of a loss of cartilage that can leave bone rubbing on bone, or what’s called osteoarthritis. Inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis (resulting from the skin disease psoriasis) that leads to swollen fingers and toes can also be to blame.

While some are able to handle a mild degree of discomfort, arthritis in the hands is frequently more than a fleeting annoyance, and it can even lead to hand deformity if left untreated. As pain becomes more regular and severe, it can affect a person’s ability to do everything from activities they enjoy – like golf or other forms of recreation – to those things they need to do just to get through the day, from buttoning a shirt to gripping a cup of coffee in the morning.

Fortunately, there are ways you can ease arthritis-related hand pain. Read the full story.

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Hand Pain Hand Surgeon Numbness

Why Are My Hands Numb?

There can be many different causes for numb hands. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is a condition involving a pinched nerve in the wrist, is one of the most common reasons. Typically, with this condition, you’ll feel numbness or tingling in thumb, index, middle and ring fingers.

Here are five other reasons your hands may be numb:

  1. Compression Neuropathy: This means there is pressure on a nerve, which can happen from an injury or other medical condition. In addition to numbness, it can cause weak or twitchy muscles. The location of the compressed nerve can vary, resulting in a variety of different symptoms. Learn more.
  2. Peripheral Neuropathy: This condition can commonly occur in people with diabetes, alcoholics, older individuals or individuals who were poisoned from metals or industrial compounds. It typically causes constant numbness in a general area.
  3. Fibromyalgia: This is a disorder that causes pain all over the body. People with this condition can be more likely than others to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which in turn may cause numb hands.
  4. Myofascial Pain Syndrome: This condition can be similar to Fibromyalgia. While the symptoms of pain are typically in the neck and shoulder, it can also cause numb hands and forearms.
  5. Medications: Cancer treatment drugs are an example of medication that can cause numbness and tingling in the hands.
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Burns Hand Safety Hand Therapy

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Protecting Yourself in the Great Outdoors

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, nearly half of the U.S. population participated in some sort of outdoor activity in 2017. Among these activities, hiking and camping were reported to be among the most popular. As we are packing our backpacks and lacing up our hiking boots there are some tips we can remember to protect ourselves from injury.

Take a Hike

  • Ensure that you have the proper footwear – hiking trails often consist of several different types of terrain that can cause falls if you are not prepared. It is important that you have hiking shoes or boots that have soles to help maintain your footing in slippery grass, rocks, mud, snow, or while crossing creeks. A fall could cause injuries to your hands and arms, like cuts, sprains, strains, or fractures.
  • Take along trekking poles or a hiking stick – use of one of these can also help you maintain your balance, keep your footing, and prevent falls.
  • Make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the season – hiking in the winter in particular can present some perils to your fingers. Frostbite is a serious threat when you let your hands become too cold, and can result in injury or even loss of all or part of a finger if severe enough. It is important to wear properly insulated gloves, and to carry a spare pair in case your hands get wet. Pocket hand warmers can also be helpful.
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Arthritis Gout Hand Pseudogout

6 Signs of Gout or Pseudogout

Gout and Pseudogout are two types of arthritis than can appear suddenly and cause sore joints in the hands and sometimes in other parts of the body. This condition can be common in the elbow, wrist, finger, knee and big toe joints.

Here are 6 signs that you may have gout or pseudogout:

  1. Hot joints
  2. Swollen joints
  3. Red joints
  4. Painful joints
  5. Infected-looking joints
  6. Tophi (white bumps) under the skin
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Hand Surgery Hand Therapy Scar Treatment Scars

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Scar Management

After an injury or surgery, our bodies naturally make scar. Scar tissue can become a problem if it limits function and/or is unpleasant to look at.  Scar tissue can be treated. A physical or occupational therapist who specializes in treating upper extremity injuries can help. There are several factors a therapist assesses to determine the best course of action for scar management. These factors may include the following:

  • How close the scar is to a tendon or muscle: A scar may become adherent to the surrounding tissue such as tendons and/or muscles. As tissues heal, scar adhesion can make movement more difficult. Therapists prescribe specific and directed movements that can reduce adherent scarring.
  • Shape of the scar: If your scar is from a surgery, it is usually a thin line. If scar is from an accident, it may be irregularly shaped and/or vary in depth which could make it unpleasant for you to look at.
  • Type of scar: As skin heals, it shrinks slightly and can cause pain and interfere with motion.  Hypertrophic scarring can occur causing scar tissue to form outside the normal borders of the wound.  Keloid scarring can also occur which causes a large, raised scar.
  • Sensitivity of the scar: Skin is used to being touched by different textures during the day such as clothes, jewelry, and resting surfaces. After an injury or surgery, the wound area is covered for a short amount of time to keep it clean and protected.  During this time, the skin can become hypersensitive.  This can be very painful, cause you to protect your scar during use, and may also affect your sleep.
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de Quervain's Tenosynovitis Hand Mommy's Wrist

What is Mommy’s Wrist?

Hand surgeon John M. Erickson, MD explains the phenomenon called “mommy’s wrist.”

“Mommy’s wrist” or “mommy’s thumb” is a condition that is officially called de Quervain’s tenosynovitis (or tendonitis). This is a type of tendonitis in the wrist whose nickname comes from the fact that the condition is common in caregivers of young children. The tendonitis causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist and is worse with movement of the thumb. Activities such as opening jars, turning door knobs, and lifting children can be difficult.

Symptoms arise from de Quervain’s tendonitis when there is irritation of the tendons that extend the thumb in their surrounding sheath at the wrist. Instead of gliding smoothly through the sheath, the abductor pollicis longus (APL) and extensor pollicis brevis (EPB) tendons can be swollen, irritated and painful.  Certain movements of the thumb and wrist can be excruciating. People may feel a tender cyst or bump and notice swelling in this part of the wrist near the base of the thumb. Lifting objects, gripping, or pinching with the thumb often increases symptoms. Occasionally, a popping sensation is a problem.

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Bones Brachydactyly Type D Thumb

What Are Toe Thumbs—And Are They Normal?

from Women’s Health Magazine

Yes, you can get dragged on the internet for pretty much anything these days. Take Megan Fox, for example, who, just a few years ago, was the victim of online trolls because of—get this—her thumbs.

Turns out, Megan’s thumbs are, well, kind of shaped like toes—toe thumbs, if you will. She even opened up about said toe thumbs on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno back in 2012, saying “they’re weird and they’re really fat.” So there you have it…toe thumbs.

So toe thumbs actually have a medical name: brachydactyly type D, according to Alejandro Badia, M.D., a board-certified hand and upper extremity orthopedic surgeon with Florida-based Badia Hand to Shoulder Center.

Basically, toe thumbs occur when the last bone on the thumb—or the distal phalanx—is congenitally shortened, says Badia. “This means you are simply born with a short thumb at the tip which does imply there will be a cosmetic issue with the nail plate, of course,” he says, adding that brachydactlyly simply means “short digit,” leading most surgeons to call it “stub thumb.”

Read the full story.

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