Our hands are very important to us. We use them to help us to earn a living, to eat, to dress, to write, and for many other tasks we undertake on a daily basis. In order to function well, our hands require movement in the joints, muscles and tendons as well as sensation. Therefore, when we have a problem with our hands, we need to ensure the correct treatment is put in place – and this is where an orthopaedic hand surgeon comes in.
What do orthopaedic hand surgeons do?
Hand surgery is the area of surgery that deals with any problem’s patients may have with not only their hands, but also their forearms and wrists also. A hand surgeon will take care of these problems, either with or without the use of surgery – they are specially trained to only operate when absolutely necessary. Many hand surgeons are also able to diagnose and care for elbow and shoulder problems as well.
What does orthopaedic mean?
Orthopaedic hand surgeons are surgeons who have had additional training in surgery of the hand. Orthopaedics focuses specifically on manipulation of and surgery on the musculoskeletal system i.e. bones and soft tissue. Orthopaedic conditions can be treated through surgery, or through various methods of non-surgery such as exercise, medication or physical therapy.
Why visit an orthopaedic hand surgeon?
You may want to consult an orthopaedic hand surgeon, such as Mr David Murray, if you are experiencing pain in your hand, fingers, wrist or arm – or if you have any other concerns with your upper extremities. Hand surgeons devote much of their time to studying, examining and treating the hand and so they can be described as specialists in hand care.
Not every visit to a hand surgeon will result in surgery, your hand surgeon may recommend non-surgical treatment options such as hand therapy, which is a combination of occupational and physical therapy in order to reduce or eliminate pain.
Examples of conditions treated by orthopaedic hand surgeons are?
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. A condition in which a nerve in your wrist is compressed, and so causes numbness, pain or tingling in your fingers or hand. It is most common in women aged between 40 and 60, but men can also experience it. There are several treatments available for carpal tunnel syndrome including surgery.
- Dupuytren’s Disease. A condition where there is an overgrowth of collagen type tissue just below the skin of the palm. This tissue forms thickened cords and nodules within the palm and a flexed posture of the fingers can therefore occur. It is a relatively common condition which can be present in both men or women, but most commonly occurs in one in ten Northern European males over the age of 65. There is sadly no treatment available that can cure Dupuytren’s disease, and re-occurrence is possible after any course of treatment.
- Trigger Finger. A condition where your finger or thumb gets locked in place when you bend it, causing you pain or being a bit of a nuiscnce. It usually recovers by itself after a few weeks, but there are also treatments that may help, such as splinting or a steroid injection.
- Wrist Arthritis. Wear and tear arthritis is a common problem in the wrist for those aged 40 and over and symptoms include restricted movement and pain or stiffness. There are non-operative treatments such as activity modification with pain relief, or a wrist splint. There are also several operations available for wrist arthritis with minimal risk and reliable outcomes.
- Distal Radio-Ulna Joint (DRUJ). The most common problems patients may see with the DRUJ is either arthritis or instability following an injury. Treatment usually starts with non-operative options such as pain killers (applied as a gel) or splints. There also operations available such as ligament reconstruction or ulna shortening.
- Tennis Elbow. Also known as Lateral Epicondylitis, and caused by degeneration at the attachment of the muscles to the outer side of the elbow joint. Usually presents itself in patients between the ages of 40 and 60 who are feeling some discomfort on the outer side of the elbow. Again, non-operative options are usually tried first, such as anti-inflammatory analgesics or a tennis elbow splint. However, there is also an operation available, called the tennis elbow release, and is usually performed under a general anaesthetic.
- Golfers Elbow. Although it sounds similar to tennis elbow, it is actually much less common and occurs with degeneration at the attachment of the muscles to the outer side of the elbow joint. Again, it is usually treated with non-operative options such as anti-inflammatory analgesics, splints or a steroid injection, but there is also surgery available.
If you are suffering from any of these conditions, or have any questions about hand treatment for Mr David Murray then please get in touch by telephone on 01204 416 186 or email at email@example.com