There are a variety of hand and elbow conditions that cause people pain, discomfort, and even physical deformity. The experienced hand surgeons at the OSU Department of Plastic Surgery’s Hand and Elbow Surgery Center offer a full range of treatments that can help reduce discomfort and restore form and function to the hands and fingers.
Please take a look at the following descriptions of common conditions that affect the hands and elbows, and contact our practice for more information. We can also schedule a consultation with you and one of our hand surgeons so that you can discuss your condition and determine appropriate treatment options.
Arthritis is one of the most common hand conditions in the U.S. and affects millions of people. The condition causes the cartilage between the joints to deteriorate and wear down, resulting in debilitating pain and even bone protrusions. One of the earliest signs of arthritis is the development Heberden nodes, small bone protrusions near the joints where the thumb meets the hand. If caught early, the symptoms of arthritis can be significantly reduced and more serious problems from arthritis can be prevented from getting worse. If other treatments for arthritis in the hands such as topical pain medications and anti-inflammatories, splinting, glucosamine supplements, chondroitin supplements, or joint injections have not sufficiently lessened the effects, hand surgery may be the best option.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs with some frequency in patients who engage in repetitive motions – such as typing – and patients who are pregnant or suffer from diabetes and/or obesity. Caused by a squeezing or irritation of the median nerve that passes through the wrist, carpel tunnel syndrome can make you feel pain and numbness in the hands and ultimately have an effect on your day-to-day life. Our hand surgeons can perform surgery to improve the symptoms of this common condition if other treatment methods have proven ineffective. Surgery can be performed as an outpatient. The procedure typically involves an incision made in the wrist, followed by the cutting of tissue that is pressing on the nerves. This action is taken to decrease the pressure and lessen residual pain.
You will need to wear a brace on the wrist for stabilization after the procedure. This brace will likely need to be worn only for one month following surgery.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis are often the causes of pain and discomfort in the hands and wrists, but there are other conditions that may be responsible for similar symptoms. Dequervain’s Tenosynovitis, Dupytren’s Contracture, or other factors may be contributing to significant and debilitating hand and wrist pain. Although these conditions seem to occur with less frequency than arthritis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, there are treatment options available. Our doctors can evaluate your condition and come up with a plan that can reduce pain in the hands and wrists.
Hand and wrist surgery may be required if other therapies and medications have been exhausted without producing successful results. These complex surgeries may involve arthroplasty (joint replacement), fasciotomy (relief of tissue pressure and treatment of compartment syndromes), nerve repair, tendon repair, skin grafts, or other techniques. Our OSU hand surgeons are skilled and experienced in the complexities involved in these procedures, and can effectively restore form and function to the hands in addition to alleviating pain.
Tennis Elbow is a condition characterized by an inflamed or irritated tendon on the outer part of the elbow. This is usually caused by repetitive twisting of the forearm or the wrist – such actions that are often undertaken by people who play tennis or excessively use a screwdriver. Although surgery can treat severe cases of Tennis Elbow, treatments such as cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory medications, and topical analgesics can also alleviate discomfort caused by the condition.
Bent/Deformed Hands or Finger
Physiological conditions, congenital defects, or traumatic injury can contribute to deformities in the hands and fingers. Our doctors can perform tendon reconstruction surgery or joint replacement to renew the shape of the fingers and hands that can work to improve function and appearance.
Other Conditions (Mallet Finger, Fluid Buildup, Trigger Finger)
Conditions of the hands such as Mallet Finger, Trigger Finger, or fluid buildup can be treated with hand surgery, physical therapy, or medication. Mallet Finger – caused by an injury that bends the finger back to such a degree that it is difficult to straighten, can be improved with a splint or surgery to repair damaged bones and tendons. Trigger Finger, characterized by abrupt snapping of the fingers as opposed to smooth motion when opening and closing, can be treated with injections, medication, or surgery. And fluid buildup, often caused by Bursitis (inflammation or infection from the fluid-filled sac lying between the tip of the elbow and the loose skin beneath), can be improved with elbow pads and ice, antibiotics, splints, or surgery.