Author Archives: The Hand Society

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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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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Finger Hand Trigger Finger

5 Signs You Have Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a condition that can cause discomfort at the base of the finger or thumb, right where the finger joins the palm. Officially known as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger can also be referred to as “trigger thumb.” This condition involves the tendons that bend the fingers. These tendons normally glide easily with the help of pulleys, which hold the tendons close to the bone. In individuals with trigger finger, the pulley becomes too thick, making it difficult for the tendon to glide.

Here are five signs that you may have trigger finger:

  1. Pain/discomfort at the base of the finger or thumb
  2. Popping-sound when you move your finger
  3. Catching feeling
  4. Limited finger movement
  5. Lump at the base of the finger or thumb
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Hand Hand Surgeon Hand Surgery

Best Hand Surgeons in the U.S.

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) includes a membership of more than 3,800 prestigious hand surgeons in the United States and around the world. Hand surgeon members of ASSH are required to meet rigorous standards. They are required to:

  • Pass the Certification in the Subspecialty of Surgery of the Hand, a difficult exam that tests their hand surgery knowledge
  • Be certified in general, orthopaedic or plastic surgery by their Board
  • Be of high moral, ethical and professional standing
  • Have made worthwhile contributions in areas of hand surgery
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Arthritis Hand Lumps and Bumps Warts

Random Fact: Warts

Did you know? Warts on the hands can sometimes be confused with cysts or bone spurs from arthritis. If you aren’t sure about a lump on your hand, visit a hand surgeon. Learn more about warts.

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Bones Elbow Elbow Fracture Hand

Ask a Doctor: Elbow Fractures

Elbow Fractures

Hand surgeon Benjamin R. Graves, MD answers your questions about elbow fractures.


Of all the joints in the body, the elbow is one of the most complex.  This complexity comes from the fact that the “elbow joint” is made up of three separate joints that form where the humerus, radius, and ulna bones meet.  Under normal circumstances, these three joints work together seamlessly to allow the flexion, extension, and forearm rotation we need to brush our hair and teeth, feed ourselves, turn a door handle, serve a tennis ball, and perform a multitude of other daily tasks.

Fractures involving the elbow can range in severity, from relatively minor injuries that heal on their own, to more severe injuries that require surgery.  Elbow fractures can also lead to a lot of questions for patients and their families.  I have compiled a list of five questions that I am frequently asked regarding elbow fractures.

I hurt my elbow. How do I know if I have an elbow fracture?

Elbow fractures can occur in a variety of ways.  Low-energy injuries, such as falls from standing or bumping the elbow onto a hard object can lead to small, stable fractures that can easily be mistaken for a sprain or strain.  They don’t always cause deformity or instability, and might only cause limited swelling and hurt-to-the-touch in a specific location.  These injuries may hurt for days or weeks and then stop hurting on their own.

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