Hand and wrist injuries and conditions shouldn’t be ignored, especially if they come with severe and persistent pain. It’s beneficial to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the extent and severity of your condition. After all, different hand conditions require different treatments. For example, the RICE method can address a minor sprain, but a wrist fracture needs a different approach.
Read on to know what to expect in your first visit with a hand specialist.
The first thing you can expect is for your hand specialist to conduct an assessment. They may ask you some questions regarding your daily routine, lifestyle, and medical history. They will also ask you about the condition of your hands and wrists.
If you have sustained an injury or are experiencing symptoms, your doctor will look for pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness in the area. They may ask you to rate your pain based on a scale, such as the following:
- 0 – You don’t feel any pain.
- 1-3 – You experience mild pain, but it doesn’t hinder you from doing daily tasks.
- 4-6 – You feel moderate pain, and it’s disruptive to your ability to function.
- 7-10 – You experience severe, chronic, and disabling pain.
Moreover, your doctor will ask you to describe when the symptoms developed or how you got your injury. For example, they may inquire if it’s work-related or if you sustained it while playing sports. In addition, they may request you to elaborate if it’s your first time getting injured or if you’ve had other injuries in the area before. They may also want to know if you experience recurring pain in the affected area.
Diagnosis of Your Condition
Your doctor will begin the diagnosis process with a physical test, such as moving your hand and wrist in varying directions to assess the extent of your condition. They will evaluate your muscle strength, mobility, and the pain associated with every movement.
If your doctor suspects a ligament tear or fracture, they may request an imaging test for a more accurate diagnosis. The following are the imaging tests that they may employ:
- CT (computed tomography) scan – produces 3D images of bones and soft tissues through the combined use of X-rays and a computer.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – shows images of the body’s structures, such as ligaments, tendons, and nerves.
- X-ray – uses radiation to show bones, infections, and tumors.
If needed, your healthcare provider may recommend other tests to further aid in diagnosis.
You can expect to receive a comprehensive treatment plan once you get a diagnosis. If your doctor has conducted tests to diagnose the condition of your hand accurately, they may start discussing treatment options with you during the first visit.
It’s worth noting that many different conditions can affect the hands. So, your doctor may ask you to schedule another appointment if you need further testing.
Some conditions, like a mild sprain, may be treated with the RICE method.
- Rest – avoid using your injured hand
- Ice – apply ice on the affected area to decrease swelling
- Compress – wrap the injury with an athletic tape or a bandage to relieve swelling
- Elevate – lift your injured hand above the heart level to limit blood flow to the area
However, more severe injuries like a broken bone or a total ligament tear may require nonsurgical or surgical procedures. Your treatment plan depends on the type of injury you have, its symptoms, and its severity.
Rehabilitation is also part of the treatment process. Your doctor may recommend some exercises for you to regain muscle strength, relieve stiffness, and bring back mobility. They may also suggest physical therapy if you undergo surgery or if you take too long to recover. In addition, they may give you tips on how to improve your technique and form to avoid future injuries.
The Best Orthopedic Doctors in San Antonio, Texas
Conditions that afflict the hands can hinder you from going about your daily routine with ease. That’s why it’s vital to visit a hand specialist, especially if you experience severe symptoms in your hands and wrists.
If you’re searching for the best orthopedic doctors in San Antonio, look no further than the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Our board-certified healthcare providers can give you a comprehensive treatment plan for any of your orthopedic concerns and injuries.
If you want to know more about our services or to schedule an appointment with a hand specialist in San Antonio, call us at (210) 692-7400. Alternatively, you may use our secure online appointment request form.
We look forward to being your partner in health!