The summer sunshine in Oregon can make outdoor activities like bicycling or gardening more enjoyable for many. But for some, pain in the hands or wrists makes hands-on activities too painful to enjoy. Understanding the different causes and symptoms of various hand ailments is the first step toward finding relief. Below is information about the most common hand ailments, as well as some of the available treatments.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Cause: Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. A number of factors can contribute, including the anatomy of the wrist, certain underlying health problems and possibly patterns of hand use.
Symptoms: Onset is gradual and includes tingling, numbness, weakness or aching in the fingers, and over time may progress to shooting arm pain.
Treatments: Medication and wrist splints can help alleviate symptoms. If these options do not alleviate the pain, the syndrome can be treated by surgical release of the median nerve.
Cause: The causes depend on the type of arthritis, but genetics, joint injuries, and infections can contribute to developing arthritis.
Symptoms: The hallmark symptoms of arthritis are swelling, stiffness, and inflammation in joint areas.
Treatments: Most patients begin treatment with medication and physical therapy. If these fail to provide relief, surgical replacement, fusion or denervation of the joints may be suggested.
Cause: People with work or hobbies involving repetitive gripping actions are at risk for developing inflammation around the flexor tendons, causing the fingers to “trigger” or “lock.”
Symptoms: Finger stiffness in the mornings, finger clicking or locking in a bent position which may suddenly straighten.
Treatments: Depending on the severity of symptoms, this condition may be treated with steroid injections or surgery.
If your hand is impaired in any way, you may have options to improve your condition. Hand surgery is very specialized and can treat the cause of your pain and repair the strength, function and flexibility of your wrist and fingers.
The Oregon Clinic has five plastic surgeons located in Portland.