Wrist Fracture

What is a wrist fracture? The wrist is made up of eight small bones and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna (see Figure 1). The shape of the bones allows the wrist to bend and straighten, move side-to-side, and rotate, as in twisting the palm up or down. A fracture may occur in…

Tumors in the Hand

What is a Tumor? Any abnormal lump or bump, or “mass”, is considered a tumor. The term “tumor” does not necessarily mean it is malignant or that it is a cancer. In fact, the vast majority of hand and wrist tumors are benign or non-cancerous. Any lump or bump in your hand or wrist is…

Trigger Finger

Stenosing tenosynovitis is commonly known as “trigger finger” or “trigger thumb.” The tendons that bend the fingers glide easily with the help of pulleys. These pulleys hold the tendons close to the bone. This is similar to how a line is held on a fishing rod (Figure 1). Trigger finger occurs when the pulley becomes…

Thumb Basal Joint Arthritis
Thumb Basal Joint Arthritis
Thumb Basal Joint Arthritis
Thumb Basal Joint Arthritis

What is it? In a normal joint, cartilage covers the end of the bones and serves as a shock absorber to allow smooth, pain-free movement. In  osteoarthritis (OA, or “degenerative arthritis”) the cartilage layer wears out, resulting in direct contact between the bones and producing pain and deformity. One of the most common joints to develop OA in the…

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections can be used to treat some problems in the arm and hand. These can include trigger fingers, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendonitis. These injections usually contain cortisone and a numbing medicine. Cortisone is a steroid normally produced by your body, and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Corticosteroids…

Scar Management

Scar formation is a normal response following any injury or surgery; it is the way the body heals injured structures. An active scar may be red, raised, firm, and thick. Scar tissue may involve only the superficial skin, or it may involve the deeper tissues beneath the skin, including nerves and tendons. Scars can become…

Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is it? Arthritis literally means “inflamed joint.” Normally a joint consists of two smooth, cartilage-covered bone surfaces that fit together as a matched set and that move smoothly against one other. Arthritis results when these smooth surfaces become irregular and don’t fit together well anymore and essentially “wear out.” Arthritis can affect any joint in…

Mallet Finger

A mallet finger is a deformity of the finger caused when the tendon that straightens your finger (the extensor tendon) is damaged. When a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb and forcibly bends it, the force tears the tendon that straightens the finger (see Figure 1a and 1b). The force…

Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

What is it? Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a painful condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. Tendons anchor the muscle to bone. The muscle involved in this condition, the extensor carpi radialis brevis, helps to extend and stabilize the wrist (see…

Jammed Finger

Jammed fingers are common in sports but may also occur during regular daily activities. Even if the injured finger looks normal and can move normally, it may require medical treatment. The anatomy of the finger joint is complex, and several types of injuries can result in permanent problems if they are left undiagnosed or untreated….

Fractures in the Hand

What is a fracture? The hand is made up of many bones that form its supporting framework. This frame acts as a point of attachment for the muscles that make the wrist and fingers move. A fracture occurs when enough force is applied to a bone to break it. When this happens, there is pain,…

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are very common lumps within the hand and wrist that occur adjacent to joints or tendons. The most common locations are the top of the wrist (see Figure 1), the palm side of the wrist, the base of the finger on the palm side, and the top of the far joint of the…

Dupuytren Contracture

Dupuytren’s contracture is an abnormal thickening of the tissue just beneath the skin. This thickening occurs in the palm and can extend into the fingers. Firm pits, bumps and cords (thick lines) can develop and cause the fingers to bend into the palm (Figures 1 and 2). This condition may also be known as Dupuytren’s Disease. Occasionally, the disease will…

DeQuervain Tendonitis

Patients with de Quervain syndrome have painful tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Tendons are the ropes that the muscle uses to pull the bone. You can see them on the back of your hand when you straighten your fingers. In de Quervain syndrome, the tunnel (the first extensor compartment; see Figure 1A-B) where the tendons run narrows…

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone” nerve), which can cause numbness or tingling in the ring and small fingers, pain in the forearm, and/or weakness in the hand. The ulnar nerve (Figure 1) runs in a groove on the inner side of the elbow….

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is essentially a pinched nerve in the wrist. There is a space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when pressure builds up from swelling in this tunnel and puts pressure on the nerve. Causes Pressure on…

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