From preparing food to carrying out work-related tasks such as lifting and typing, your hands perform many important functions throughout the day. Several bones, muscles, and joints need to work together in unison to successfully complete movements. When any of those important parts isn’t working as it should, you may be referred to an orthopedic hand specialist in Orange County for diagnosis and treatment.
To schedule your first appointment with the top hand surgeon in the southern California area, contact our office today. We can also answer any questions you might have about the treatments that we have available.
Reasons to See a Hand Specialist
Should you experience hand pain that doesn’t go away or seems to be triggered by certain movements or activities, a hand specialist can take steps to pinpoint the source of your discomfort. Such a doctor treats a number of conditions that may affect hands, fingers, wrists, or arms, including arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and finger, wrist, and thumb sprains.
When hand-related pain isn’t responding to over-the-counter medications and other conservative treatments, you may be referred to a specialist to determine if there’s either an underlying condition contributing to your pain or an issue that wasn’t identified previously.
What a Hand Specialist Can Do for You
Hand specialists have a solid understanding of how the structures of the hand work and interact to perform the desired functions. The first role of a hand specialist is to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem. This is accomplished with a thorough examination and diagnostic testing that typically includes X-rays and CT scans to identify possible abnormalities that may not appear clearly, or at all, on an X-ray.
A hand specialist will discuss what treatments you’ve previously tried and how those treatments worked for you. In some instances, patients have initial success with some medications and then the nature of the pain changes or the problem gets worse. If underlying conditions like arthritis or diabetes are involved, you’ll likely be encouraged to take steps to control those conditions as much as possible, which may make recommended treatments more effective.
Possible Treatment Options
For things like finger or wrist fractures, the broken bone will be put back in place and a split or cast will have to be worn until the bone heals. For finger fractures, a finger splint is usually worn for about three weeks. X-rays will be taken periodically to ensure that healing is coming along as expected. For severe cuts or wounds, nearby structures in the hand or wrist will be evaluated for signs of damage.
As the electrical wiring of your body, nerves need to function properly to send signals from your hands to your brain. Whether a nerve within your hand and wrist area is damaged from a cut or being compressed by due to joint inflammation, a hand specialist will determine the most appropriate way to correct the issue. For nerves that have been physically damaged, the nerve will be sewn together. Chronic conditions like arthritis affecting hands are often treated with anti-inflammatory medications.
After your first appointment and an evaluation of your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will have a good idea of what can be done to provide you with relief.
Common Conditions Affecting Hands
Other than arthritis, which can affect the entire hand and fingers, just one or both thumbs, or only specific parts of each hand, carpal tunnel syndrome is one of many conditions that may affect your hands, especially if you perform repeated tasks throughout your day, such as typing. Sometimes affecting tendons in thumbs as well as fingers, trigger finger is a condition where the affected finger or thumb locks before popping out straight.
Ulnar tunnel syndrome usually impacts wrist movement due to nerve compression affecting one of the three main nerves providing feeling to hands. Often caused by a tumor affecting soft tissues in the hand, symptoms tend to be progressive. De Quervain’s tendinosis is one of several conditions that can affect tendons in or around the hand and wrist on one or both hands. Boutonniere deformity is a type of hand deformity that may need to be corrected surgically at some point if other treatments fail.
There are many different variations of hand conditions and injuries that can affect your everyday life, and seeing an orthopedic hand specialist in Orange County ensures that you will be able to get answers to what causes your symptoms.
Preventing Hand Injuries
For underlying conditions like arthritis and diabetes that may affect the hands, prevention starts with managing those conditions, often with medication and dietary adjustments. Making an effort to alternate finger and hand movements to avoid overusing one area of the hand can also reduce the risk of sustaining an injury or suffering nerve damage. Some patients experience pain relief from performing finger exercises to increase circulation.
Another way to prevent hand injuries is to wear gloves when performing tasks that may directly injury parts of the hand. Knowing when to use lifting devices rather than lifting with your hands can also help minimize the odds of sustaining a temporary or permanent injury. If you do experience pain while using your hands, prevent serious injury be seeing a specialist sooner rather than later.
The role of an orthopedic hand specialist in Orange County is to restore the normal functioning of your hands and wrists. Such specialists also work to identify causes and improve quality of life for patients. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to correcting the many issues that can affect hands and related structures. Your treatment will be based on what’s likely to provide relief and restore your ability to grasp, grab, hold, push, and pull.
To learn more about our services, contact our office today. We can answer any questions you may have and also schedule an appointment for you to come in and get started on the path toward total comfort and mobility.