Watch this touching story about Zion and his journey to receive new hands through a bilateral hand transplant, a 14-hour surgery that required an entire team of surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists. Learn more about hand surgery at www.handcare.org.
Cubital tunnel syndrome: Hand numbness and tingling is not always carpal tunnel syndrome.
I have a funny tingling in my small and ring fingers while holding my cell phone to my ear or while holding a book when reading in bed. Why?
That “funny” sensation could be compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. The path of the ulnar nerve runs just behind the boney part on the inside of the elbow. The nerve is close to the skin and runs through a boney ridge without any substantial padding. The nerve must slide and stretch through this cubital tunnel with elbow movement.
Wait a minute! What does the nerve at my elbow have to do with the funny sensations in my hand?
Good question! The job of the ulnar nerve is to facilitate communication from your brain to your hand. This communication operates the muscles that help you perform coordinated movements with your fingers. Another job of the ulnar nerve is to take information about sensation at the ring and small fingers back to the brain. If the nerve is compressed or irritated, it can’t do its job. This condition leads to difficulty manipulating objects with your hand, feelings of weakness and sensations of tingling, numbness, burning or tightness in your fingers.
That doesn’t sound good. What can I do?
There is good news. There are some things you can try that might calm the nerve. Nerves do not like to be crowded. The ulnar nerve becomes crowded at the elbow with direct pressure over its path or when the elbow is held in a bent position for an extended period of time.
Here are a few tips:
— Harvard Health (@HarvardHealth) July 17, 2015
We all love the warm summer weather and the fun activities that come with it, but the summer season is a peak time for many injuries. Here are some common summer injuries and how to prevent them:
- Wrist sprains: Falls are extremely common during the summer. Many activities such as skateboarding, rollerblading, bike riding or riding a scooter can result in a wrist sprain. To protect your wrists, wear wrist guards during these activities.
- Lawnmower injuries: Each year, 25% of hand and foot lawnmower injuries result in amputation. Keep children away from the lawnmower and always keep hands and feet away from the blades. For more information, read these safety tips.
- Burns: Barbecuing and relaxing around a fire pit during the summer is always enjoyable, but the open flames can be dangerous. Keep your distance from the grill and/or fire pit and always keep an eye on children that are nearby. Always use long tongs when grilling to protect your hands.
- Golfing injuries: Golfing can be tough on your hands, arms and wrists. Warming up and stretching before playing is important for injury prevention.
- Jammed finger: Many sports become more active in the summer, and jammed fingers are some of the most common sports injuries. Learn more about how to treat a jammed finger.
Scars are normal after an injury or surgery. It is how the body heals. Your hand surgeon or hand therapist may recommend a variety of scar treatments after your injury is healed, cut is healed, or stitches are removed. Here are some treatments that may help the look and feel of your scar:
- Massage: Gently massaging your scar can help reduce sensitivity and make it more smooth and movable.
- Rubbing with textures: Exposing your scar to different textures can also help reduce its sensitivity, making it more used to the normal forces of daily life. Desensitizing a scar can take up to four months. You should begin as soon as you are done healing.
- Exercise: An early exercise program can prevent stiffness of the joints near your scar.
- Silicone gel: This gel can be placed on your scar in the form of gel or sheets, often at night. Wrapping the scar can reduce swelling and tension.
- Injections or surgery: For special scar problems such as burns, an injection or surgery may be recommended by your surgeon.
Some scars take up to a year to complete the healing process, which is complete when the scar is light in color, smooth, and no longer sensitive to touch. During the healing process, be sure to protect your scar from the sun. Learn more about scar treatment at www.handcare.org.
Dr. Noah Raizman answers your questions about Lateral Epicondylitis, sometimes known as tennis elbow.
Q: What is Lateral Epicondylitis, and is it the same thing as “Tennis Elbow?”
A: Lateral Epicondylitis and Tennis Elbow are one and the same. Lateral Epicondylitis is a painful condition caused by damage to the elbow where the tendons that extend your wrist and fingers originate from. That area is called the lateral epicondyle. Tendons attach muscle to bone. The primary muscle that allows your wrist to extend, the ECRB (extensor carpi radialis brevis), is usually the tendon involved.
Q: What causes it?
A: Lateral Epicondylitis can be caused by trauma, repetitive mild trauma and overuse, but truly, we are not sure why some people get it and others do not. We consider it a “tendinopathy of middle age” because it typically happens in patients in their 40s and 50s, though it can occur at any age. Sometimes it is due to sports activities like golf or racquet sports and sometimes from work activities, but, just as often, it seems to happen after lifting or carrying objects.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: Lateral Epicondylitis typically includes symptoms such as pain over the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. There is typically no clicking, popping or feeling of instability. There typically is no pain over the back or inside of the elbow. The pain is worst with gripping, grasping and wringing activities and can be provoked by typing or using a computer mouse with the wrist extended. There is not usually any numbness or tingling associated with it.