If you’ve felt pain in your hands or have lost some of the mobility in your fingers, you may need to have a procedure done to restore functionality and eliminate the pain. A qualified hand surgeon performs many of these surgeries on a daily basis. Many people, though, don’t realize how common hand surgeries are. Here are a few of the conditions these experts can repair via surgery.
Carpal tunnel affects many people who work on computers or who do repetitive motions with their hands and wrists. When the tendons in the wrist swell, they press in against the median nerve. This is the nerve that runs from the hand to the forearm and controls the muscle at the base of the thumb.
When the tissue swells around it, it causes pain, weakness in the hand, and can make it very difficult to perform common actions such as holding a cup. In addition to repetitive motion, there are other things that can cause carpal tunnel, including thyroid issues and rheumatoid arthritis.
Carpal tunnel surgery involves removing the pressure from the median nerve. In some cases, this can be done using an endoscopic procedure that is minimally invasive. In other cases, though, a more invasive method is required. This method involves making a small incision in the palm.
Basal Joint Arthritis
The basal joint is located at the bottom of the thumb where it connects to the hand. Many people develop arthritis in this joint. Over time, it becomes worse, and unfortunately, surgery is often the only true way of dealing with this degenerative issue, though medication and steroid injections can help.
Having arthritis in this joint can lead to pain, swelling, a weakened grip, and a limited range of motion. Due to its closeness to the carpal tunnel, many people with basal joint arthritis also have carpal tunnel syndrome.
The surgery for basal joint arthritis sounds fairly severe, but it’s a routine procedure that isn’t as bad as it may initially sound. The joint is actually removed completely and replaced with a tendon graft either taken from another part of the body or made artificially.
Another option that isn’t used as often is to actually fuse the basal joint, but this does permanently limit the range of motion.
Trigger finger occurs when the sheath around the flexor tendons in the finger thickens, making it more difficult for the tendons to smoothly move through it. This causes the affected finger to catch when you try to move it. It may feel like your finger hits resistance of some sort, then pushes forward. Sometimes, you can even hear a popping noise when it does so.
In severe cases, the finger actually becomes stuck and cannot be straightened out. In addition to this locking and catching, you’ll likely notice a lump has developed in your palm where the sheath has become thicker. You may also experience some swelling and pain.
De Quervain’s Tendinosis
This condition occurs when the tendon sheath swells or when the tendons themselves become irritated. This results in a build up of pressure around the base of the thumb. The tendons are unable to smoothly move in a manner that is similar to trigger finger, though De Quervain’s typically only affects the thumb.
It’s caused by overuse, though it can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis and even hormonal changes in women. In addition to feeling pain in the thumb, De Quervain’s also causes swelling and can limit motion.
Surgery for De Quervain’s involves either enlarging the tendon sheath or opening up a part of the compartment around the thumb so that the tendons can move more smoothly and without causing pain.
Do You Need Hand Surgery?
If you feel anything painful in your hands, it’s worth having a professional check it out. Your hands are vital to your daily tasks, and you want to be able to accomplish them pain-free. The experts at AICA Orthopedics are ready to examine your hands to determine the cause of your pain and the best course of treatment. Contact us today to make an appointment.