Hand and Wrist
The human hand is an intricate instrument that is both tough and delicate. Its functions of sensation and motion allow us to experience and control the world around us.
Broken bones and injuries
Distal Radius Fractures
The forearm consists of two bones, the radius and ulna. The radius is the larger of the two forearm bones, and the region towards the wrist is called the distal end. Fractures in this end are most common.
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Fingers are fine structures of the human body which assist in daily routine activities through coordinated movements. Any abnormality affecting the fingers can have a huge impact on quality of life of the patient. A finger fracture is usually a minor injury but if left untreated it may lead to major consequences due to interference with the specialized functions such as grasping or manipulating objects in the palm. A fracture of the finger may disrupt the alignment of whole hand and cause pain and stiffness.
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Injuries to the fingertip can involve crushing, tearing, or amputation (cutting-off) of the tips of the fingers, which can occur at home, work or during play. Fingertip injuries can occur during every-day activities while using a knife, a lawnmower or snow blower, or when we jam our hands/fingers in the door. They are the most common injuries that occur to the hand. The tips of the longer fingers are more prone to such injuries. The skin, soft tissue, bone, nail and/or nail bed can become damaged with these types of injuries.
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Flexor Tendon Injuries
Tendons are the bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect muscles to bone. Tendons aid in movement of the fingers, hand and all other body parts.
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Scaphoid Fracture of the Wrist
The scaphoid bone is a small, boat-shaped bone in the wrist, which, along with 7 other bones, forms the wrist joint. It is present on the thumb side of the wrist causing it to be at a high risk for fractures. A scaphoid fracture is usually seen in young men aged 20 to 30 years. They can occur at two places: near the thumb or near the forearm.
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Arthritis of Hand and Wrist
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of joints. There are several types of arthritis and the most common type is osteoarthritis or wear-and-tear arthritis. Arthritis affects various joints in the body, the arthritis in the wrists and hands are the common types of arthritis. The arthritis in hand affects the joint at the base of the thumb.
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The tendons of the thumb and each of the fingers pass through a sheath on the palm side of the hand. Certain diseases and overuse activities can cause a thickening of this sheath. As the tendon passes through a thickened sheath, the tendon eventually becomes irritated and swells. Pain, catching and eventually locking of the finger will occur. Early treatment consists of anti-inflammatory medication or Cortisone injection. If these fail to provide relief, the sheath is opened surgically through a small incision at the base of the finger.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common hand problem resulting from pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. Symptoms, which often get worse at night, consist of numbness and/or pain in the wrist and fingers. Eventually there is loss of strength, fine motor control and sensation.
Early treatment consists of splinting and anti-inflammatory medication. If symptoms do not improve, an outpatient surgical procedure to relieve the pressure on the nerve is suggested.
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Ganglion cysts are swellings that most commonly develop along the tendons or joints of wrists or hands. They can be found either at the top of the wrist, palm side of the wrist, end joint of a finger, or at the base of a finger. Ganglion cyst is not cancerous and will not spread to the other parts of the body. It looks like a water balloon on a stalk and contains a clear fluid or jelly material. Ganglion cysts can be found in people of all ages.
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Wrist is also called as carpus, a complex joint comprised of bones and joints, ligaments and tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that hold the bones together.
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Click on the topics below to find out more from the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- Arthritis of the Hand
- Arthritis of the Wrist
- Boutonnière Deformity
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Fracture of the finger
- Ganglions (cysts) of the Wrist
- Hand Fractures
- Trigger Finger
- Wrist Arthroscopy
- Wrist Sprains
- Wrist Joint Replacement (Arthroplasty)
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- DeQuervain’s tendinitis
- Hand surgery
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Ulnar nerve entrapment
- Distal Radius Fracture (Colles’ Fracture)
- Scaphoid Fracture of the Wrist