To schedule an appointment with a top hand doctor in Irvine or to ask any questions about the orthopedic services that we provide, contact our office today.
You probably don’t give your hands much thought throughout your day. When something goes wrong with any of the structures that make up your fingers, hands, and wrists, however, you suddenly become very aware of the many jobs they have to do. Should you experience discomfort that isn’t going away, or if it’s becoming increasingly disruptive to your daily life, it’s time to see your hand doctor in Irvine.
Hand and Wrist Fractures
Any part of the hand or wrist is vulnerable to injury, especially if you suddenly lose your balance and instinctively use your hands to brace yourself. The added pressure may fracture or break any of the bones or joints in your hands. Hand and finger fractures alone account for nearly $300 million in lost productivity annually. Fractures can be the result of sports-related injuries, car accidents, falls, or work-related injuries.
Symptoms associated a hand fracture can include swelling or redness, sudden wrist or finger pain, bruising, stiffness, a deformed appearance, or the inability to move the affected area. Diagnosis starts with an X-ray or CT scan to confirm the location and seriousness of the fracture. Treatments recommended by a hand doctor typically include medications, wrapping or placement of splints, and surgery when fractures or breaks result in a severe deformity.
Arthritis of the Hand
Arthritis can affect any part of the hand, including the fingers and wrist. Some people may experience arthritis relegated to one specific part of the hand, such as the thumb or only certain fingers. Age-related wear and tear affecting the cartilage that covers the ends of bones to prevent friction is a common cause of arthritis of the hand, although conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can also contribute to arthritis pain.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of arthritis that can affects any joints and bones in the body, including the hands. Treatment from a hand doctor often includes the use of anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling around finger, thumb, and wrist joints. Since arthritis is a progressive condition, the goal is usually to reach a point where discomfort is manageable.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
More common in women than men, carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand and wrist condition that’s usually experienced as numbness, tingling, and general pain related to movement. The term “carpal tunnel” refers to a band of connective tissue that supports the carpal bones, which form a “tunnel,” on the bottom and sides of the wrist. While carpal tunnel syndrome is generally associated with repetitive, work-related tasks such as typing, it can be hereditary. Medical conditions, including arthritis and diabetes, can also contribute to symptoms. In some cases, there is no clear cause.
Symptoms are often intermittent at first and may advance to include tingling sensations extending to the arms and shoulders. A hand doctor typically performs image tests and electrophysiological tests, which evaluate median nerve functions, and uses a patient’s description of the pain they’re experiencing to recommend a treatment likely to minimize discomfort.
When to Consider Hand Surgery
Hand surgery is rarely the first treatment recommendation, unless a patient has a severe fracture or break or has experienced damage to nerves and tissues from a cut. Congenital disorders or defects affecting hands may become progressively worse over time to the point where surgery is the best option to correct the defect. Degenerative conditions may also require surgical intervention if medications are no longer managing pain.
An experienced hand doctor can guide you through the steps involved with the type of surgery you may need to restore normal functioning to your hands. If there is no urgent need for immediate surgery, you will be given the information you need to determine whether or not you wish to opt for surgery or continue to try non-surgical remedies.
If you do need surgery, your doctor will tell you what you can expect from the procedure and from the recovery process. You will also receive instructions to follow before and after your surgery. These instructions are very important because they can help to minimize complications and can also encourage quicker recovery.
Protecting Your Hands
Not every injury or condition that may affect your hands can be prevented. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of damaging the complex set of bones, joints, tendons, and nerves that control your hand and wrist movements. Reducing the speed at which you perform repetitious tasks is one way to minimize hand injuries, which can also include taking occasional breaks to flex your fingers or gently massage your wrists.
Use your entire hand while gripping something to avoid excessive strain on your thumb and index finger. Wearing gloves while working with tools or doing yard work can also minimize the risk of sustaining an injury. Pay attention when using a sharp knife, change positions when carrying heavy objects like books for long periods of time, and supervise your children even when they’re using safety scissors.
Depending on your lifestyle and work or hobbies, your doctor can give you specific ideas about things you can do to minimize injuries or overuse conditions.
The 27 bones that make up each of your hands need to work together in perfect harmony to effortlessly carry out an assortment of daily tasks with ease — and preferably free of pain. Should you find yourself having difficulty lifting, carrying, holding, grasping, grabbing, pulling, pushing, or reaching, a hand doctor in Irvine may be able to pinpoint the problem and offer a solution that will provide welcome relief.
To schedule an appointment with our office, contact us today. We are happy to set you up with your first consultation so that you can find relief. You can also feel free to ask us any questions that you might have about our center or the treatments that we offer.