Monthly Archives: Jul 2016

Finger Hand Mallet Finger

Ask a Doctor: Mallet Finger

ask a doctor_mallet finger

Dr. Ben Jacobs answers your questions about Mallet Finger:

My finger droops even when I try to straighten the tip. What is going on?

A mallet finger is a very common condition and can happen to any of the fingers.  It occurs when the tendon that straightens your finger pulls away from the bone at the end of the finger. Sometimes the tendon takes a small piece of bone with it (mallet fracture) and other times not.  It might or might not hurt. Mallet fingers need treatment if you want to be able to straighten the finger again.

When should I seek treatment for my injury?

In the case of mallet finger, a trip to the emergency room isn’t usually needed unless the skin on the finger is severely injured.  However, you should see your doctor or hand surgeon as soon as you can — ideally within a few days or weeks — to begin treatment.  Success with treatment sometimes is possible if treatment starts a few months after the injury.

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Arm Hand Hand Therapy Prosthetics

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Upper Extremity Prosthetics

prosthetic arm cropped

I have seen news stories about robotic arms. What is really out there for people to use? 

Advances in upper extremity prosthetics have come slowly over the last 100 years. The first prosthetics were cable-driven devices or body-powered prostheses. These required the user to be able to move his/her body (usually the shoulder) to pull on a cable to bend and straighten the arm or open and close a hook. Most big leaps forward have, unfortunately, come from wartime injuries. Cable-driven prosthetics became the norm around the time of WWI, WWII and the Korean War. During Vietnam, myoelectric prostheses emerged. Myoelectric prostheses are controlled with the electric signals produced by muscles in the person’s remaining arm. Now, after 15 years of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, the area of upper extremity prosthetics is ready to make another big jump.

Upper extremity prosthetics have made a splash in the news during the past 10 years as a result of the 2006 DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Revolutionizing Prosthetics project. The program grew from a desire to make an arm that moves exactly like a human arm. Dean Kamen (creator of the Segway) helped develop the DEKA Arm, sometimes called the “Luke arm” after Luke Skywalker. Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab created the APL limb. While the APL limb is still in the research stage, the DEKA Arm was approved for the market by the FDA in 2014. Other prostheses on the market include the Michaelangelo hand from Ottobock, and the iLimb hand from TouchBionics.

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anesthesia Hand Hand Surgery

3 types of anesthesia

Male doctor talking with patient seriously at clinic. Close-up.

Having surgery or a procedure? This means that you will receive some type of anesthesia. Anesthesia helps control pain during a surgery or procedure by using a medicine called anesthetics. It can help control breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm.

The type of anesthesia you receive depends on the type of surgery/procedure, length of procedure, your health, and the preference of you and your doctors. Here are three different types of anesthesia:

  1. General anesthesia: Patient is unconscious and feels nothing. Patient receives medicine by breathing it or through an IV.
  2. Local anesthesia: Patient is wide awake during surgery. Medicine is injected to numb a small area.
  3. Regional anesthesia: Patient is awake, and parts of the body are asleep. Medicine is injected.

There are pros and cons to these different types of anesthesia. Some types can result in less pain afterward or a faster recovery. Your hand surgeon and anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits of anesthesia prior to your surgery. Learn about this topic and more at

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de Quervain's Tenosynovitis Hand Thumb

de Quervain’s Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment

De Quervain’s Syndrome
is a condition that can cause you to feel pain in your hand and thumb, especially when trying to grasp or twist something. It can happen to anyone, and doctors are not sure what causes it. The condition involves painful tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. This short video will explain the condition and what will happen if you  need surgery.

In de Quervain’s, the tunnel through which the tendons run becomes too narrow, causing pain. Some treatment options for this condition include:

  • Splint, which limits motion
  • Aspirin
  • Steroid injection
  • Surgery

Visit a hand surgeon to discuss the best treatment for you. Find one near you with our Find a Hand Surgeon tool. Learn more about de Quervain’s at

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Hand Hand Therapy Heat Treatment Ice Treatment

Random Fact: Heat and Ice Treatments

Close-up Of Hand Holding Ice Gel Pack On Elbow

Did you know? Heat speeds up molecules, while cold slows them down. Learn more about how heat and ice can help your hand injury, stiffness or pain.

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Burns Fireworks Hand Hand Safety

Fireworks safety tips for July 4


Firework-related injuries can range from burns to complete loss of the hand and fingers.  While the best choice is to attend public fireworks displays rather than setting off fireworks near or around the home, take the following precautions when around fireworks:

  • Obey safety barriers around a fireworks show and stay 500 feet from the launch site.
  • Supervise teens when using fireworks.
  • Wear eye protection when using fireworks.
  • Read the labels and instructions before using fireworks at home.
  • Remain standing when using sparklers.
  • Soak used fireworks in water before throwing in a trash bag.
  • Do not use fireworks indoors.
  • Do not try to relight a “dud” firework.
  • Do not touch fireworks debris. It may still be hot.

Stay safe during this July 4 holiday! Learn more about fireworks safety at

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