There are a number of injuries and disorders that can affect the hand leading to pain and reduced function. If you have a hand condition that is causing you pain or preventing you from carrying out your normal day to day activities, it could be time to visit a hand specialist for the expert care you need.
What Is A Hand Specialist?
A hand specialist is an orthopedic doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing disorders in the hand, wrist, and forearm. They have a profound understanding of the complex networks of blood vessels, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones that make up the hand and fingers. They can work with individuals of all ages who have a hand injury or condition, are experiencing problems with mobility and function, or who have ongoing pain.
Some hand conditions and injuries are short-term and will go away on their own with rest, but others may require further treatment. Contact your hand specialist if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pain or discomfort, even while resting the hand
- Ongoing pain and/or stiffness when you start an activity
- A reduced range of motion in the hand, wrist, and/or fingers
- A weak grip or difficulty when holding an item
- Pain, redness, or swelling that gets worse with activity
- Pain that extends to the elbow
- Tingling or numbness in your fingers or hand
- Loss of muscle tone in the hand
- Everyday activities like brushing your hair or preparing meals cause pain or become difficult to do
- Your symptoms don’t improve with rest
Some symptoms can indicate a serious condition, such as a fracture or dislocation, and require urgent treatment. This can include severe pain, swelling, bruising, an obvious deformity, and an inability to move your hand, wrist, or finger normally.
Common Conditions Affecting the Hand
Your hand can be vulnerable to many types of injuries and disorders. In some cases, pain, bruising, and swelling can develop immediately following injuries such a direct blow. Other conditions can get worse gradually over time and are often the result of overuse injuries or repetitive movements, which can place stress on tendons, nerves, and joints.
Arthritis can affect joints anywhere in the body. Arthritis of the hands is one of the most common causes of pain, stiffness, and loss of function and mobility in the hands. There are two types of arthritis that are common in the hands: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is often the result of wear and tear over time. It causes the cartilage that protects and cushions the ends of bones to breakdown, resulting in painful bone-on-bone rubbing. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes severe inflammation in joints. It causes the body’s immune system to attack the membrane that protects and lines joints, resulting in inflammation and pain as well as a loss of function and mobility.
There are a number of other conditions and injuries that can affect the hands, leading to pain or limited function, which can include:
- Nerve problems (carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome)
- Hand wounds
- Dupuytren’s disease
- Sports injuries of the hand and wrist
- Tendon disorders and injuries (trigger finger, tendonitis, tenosynovitis, flexor and extensor injuries, and deQuervain’s tendonitis)
- Hand nerve injury
- Wrist and finger instability
Treatment can vary and will depend on the diagnosis and severity of the hand condition or injury. A hand doctor will often try to first treat the issue with non-surgical methods, such as hand therapy, splinting, medications, injections, and other modalities. Surgery may be recommended if non-surgical treatments fail to work successfully or if there has been significant damage to the hand that requires repair or reconstruction. Surgical procedures can include tendon repair surgery, joint replacement and reconstruction, fracture repair surgery, nerve repair surgery, replantation of severed finger or hand, and surgical drainage for hand infections.
Hand Specialist in San Antonio, Texas
If you have a hand or wrist injury or a condition that is causing you pain or affecting the sensations in your hands or arms, talk to the Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine for expert treatment. We are dedicated to providing you with the best patient-centered orthopedic care, and our specialist hand surgeon Dr. Michael Jones can effectively diagnose and treat even the most complex hand and lower extremity disorders. To find out more about the services we offer, call our office at (210) 692-7400 today or use our convenient online form.