What are Common Hand and Wrist Diseases?

Our NYC orthopedic hand surgeons have immediate appointments available

Hand and wrist diseases can very serious and very painful. If not properly treated in time, certain diseases can get worse and your health could be at risk. That’s why it’s critical that you have one of our experienced, New York orthopedic hand surgeons at Island Musculoskeletal Care (IMC Bone Doc) examine you and diagnose exactly what’s wrong.

Experience matters when it comes to effectively treating serious hand or wrist diseases. You want a surgeon who knows what different symptoms mean and how to properly diagnose and treat them. Our doctors have more than 100 years of combined medical experience. There’s no substitute for such experience.

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons also understand the urgency of your medical issue. We realize you want answers now. That’s why we regularly offer immediate appointments available the same day. We also have an MRI machine and other advanced diagnostic equipment in each one of our seven office locations in New York City and Long Island. That way, we can figure out what’s wrong right away and start treating your hand or wrist disease immediately.

What type of hand or wrist disease do you have?

There many different types of serious hand and wrist diseases. Some of the most common – and most serious – diseases which can affect the hand or wrist include:

These are just some of the diseases we regularly treat at IMC Bone Doc. If you believe you may have one of these ailments, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians right away. If you do need additional medical care beyond your first appointment with us, we will do everything we can to schedule all your future appointments with us at the same, convenient location.

Wrist and hand diseases can be serious. Our doctors can help. Contact us.

Make sure you take your medical condition seriously right from the start. Make an appointment with one of our experienced New York orthopedic hand surgeons. Contact us online or call 1-888-BONE-DOC (266-3362). Our medical practice is in-network. As a result, your medical expenses will likely be fully covered by your medical insurance. Simply talk to a staff member at our office if you have any questions. We’re here to help you.

What is a Ganglion cyst?

A Ganglion cyst is a non-cancerous lump which develops on the joint in your hand or wrist. Ganglion cysts can affect anyone at any age. What causes these cysts remains unclear, but they may develop because of a defect in the joint. Our wrist surgeons know how to diagnose and treat Ganglion cysts. Sometimes, anti-inflammatory steroids injected into the cyst and immobilizing the wrist are effective treatments. Each case is different, however, and that’s why we want to examine your hand and properly diagnose your medical condition.

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What is a Boutonniere deformity?

A finger affected by a Boutonniere deformity is unable to straighten out often due to an injury to the tendon in the affected finger. Sometimes, a Boutonniere deformity occurs due to a traumatic injury. Other times, arthritis is to blame. In either case, physical therapy, immobilizing the finger with a splint or corticosteroid injections can be effective methods for treating a Boutonniere deformity. Surgery may be necessary, if the deformity is severe and does not respond to more conservative treatment methods.

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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

One of the most common – and most painful – hand injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain in the wrist, hands and fingers due to compression of the median nerve in the wrist. Pain in the hands and fingers often increases over time due to carpal tunnel syndrome. People who perform repetitive tasks (including operating machinery, typing, etc.) sometimes develop carpal tunnel syndrome, but the exact cause of this condition remains unknown.

Our New York orthopedic hand surgeons know how to diagnose and treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Non-surgical methods may be effective and we can work with you to treat the underlying, painful conditions often associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, but carpal tunnel syndrome surgery may be necessary. If so, our experienced surgeons can operate on you and carefully monitor your health as part of your post-operative care. Our on-staff, licensed physical therapists can also work with you if physical therapy is part of your treatment plan.

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What is De Quervain’s tendinosis?

Swelling of the tendons in the wrist near the thumb side of the hand is a medical condition known as De Quervain's tenosynovitis. Other names for this painful medical condition include De Quervain's disease, De Quervain syndrome and De Quervain's tendinitis.

Arthritis is a common cause of De Quervain's tendinosis, but long-term wear and tear (especially due to repetitive wrist and hand movements) are other common causes of De Quervain's tendinosis.

Resting the tendon, applying ice and immobilizing the wrist are common treatment methods for De Quervain's tendinosis, but if these treatments are not effective, De Quervain's tendinosis surgery may be necessary.

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What is a Dupuytren’s contracture?

This is a condition in which underlying fibrous tissues of the palm thicken, causing fingers to bend inward. Dupuytren’s contracture is caused by excessive production of collagen, which can build up under the skin over many years. It usually affects the ring finger and little finger, though other fingers can be affected.

The cause of this condition is not known but certain risk factors can increase the risk of developing it. These factors include age (it occurs more frequently around the age of 40), smoking, alcohol use, certain medical conditions such as diabetes and seizure disorders, gender (it’s more common in males), heredity and ancestry (it’s more common in northern Europeans and people of Scandinavian descent).

Symptoms can include lumps or nodules in the palm and difficulty straightening fingers. Diagnosis is made based on patient history and physical examination. Treatment options vary, but may include heat, massage, exercise, steroid injections, collagenase injections and needle aponeurotomy.

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What is trigger finger?

In this condition, a finger or the thumb becomes stuck in a bent position. It’s caused by inflammation in the tenosynovium, a slippery coating which helps reduce friction as tendons move. It may straighten with a quick snap – much like the pull and release of a trigger. Trigger finger is also called stenosing tenosynovitis or flexor tendonitis.

The inflammation can have different causes. These include repetitive hand and wrist motions at work or in other activities, such as sports. Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and tuberculosis can play a role. The condition is also seen more often in females than in males.

Symptoms can include pain, as well as “popping” or “clicking” sounds. Diagnosis is made using patient history and physical examination. Treatment can vary and may include rest, strengthening and stretching exercises, occupational therapy, ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and steroid injections. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

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What are congenital defects of the hand and wrist?

Some people are born with problems in their hands or wrists. During the eighth week of gestation, the hands and wrists are formed. This process involves many steps. When something goes wrong, the result can be a congenital or birth defect. This defect can be minor, such as the disproportion of a finger, or major, such as the absence of a bone.

There are many types of congenital hand and wrist defects. They include:

  • Parts of the hand missing
  • Syndactyl – webbed or fused fingers
  • Polydactyl – the presence of extra fingers
  • Congenital constriction band syndrome – a band of tissue forms, restricting normal growth and blood flow
  • Undergrowth or overgrowth of parts of the hand

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition, the cause and the child’s age. Different types of treatment include surgical separation of webbed fingers, removal of extra fingers, the use of splints to realign fingers, tendon transfers, physical therapy, correction of contractures and skin grafts.

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What is hand pain?

Distress in the joint and tissues of the hand or fingers can lead to hand pain. It can occur after any injury or inflammation to nerves, bones, blood vessels, muscles, tendons or skin. This may be experienced as aching, irritation, inflexibility or prickling.

Hand pain can be caused by disorders and conditions such as accidental injury or trauma, septicemia (blood infection), fractures, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle or ligament strains, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and peripheral neuropathy.  Heavy lifting, twisting or gripping and long-term use of keyboards can also be causes.

Treatment often involves rest. Other treatment can include medication, the use of braces, heat or ice, compression, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. It is also important to treat any underlying cause or condition. In some cases, surgery may be needed.

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What are hand infections?

As hands are commonly injured, they are subject to infection. It’s important to treat hand infection promptly. If left untreated, these infections can lead to disabilities. Examples of disability after infection include stiffness, contracture, weakness and loss of tissue.

The types of infection include:

  • Paronychia – This is an acute or chronic bacterial infection of the nail fold or cuticle area. It causes pain, redness and swelling around the nail. Acute infection may be caused by nail biting or finger sucking. It can be treated with antibiotics. Chronic infection may be caused by a fungal infection. Treatment often involves topical steroid and antifungal ointments.
  • Felon – This is an infection of the fatty tissues of the finger tips that can be painful. It is caused when bacteria enters a cut in the skin, or by the spread of infection if paronychia is left untreated. It can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Herpetic Whitlow – This is a herpes simplex virus infection that occurs in the fingers. It is common among health-care workers who are exposed to patient’s saliva. Symptoms includes small, swollen and painful blisters. Treatment often involves applying a dry gauze dressing to the affected finger to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Septic arthritis/osteomyelitis – Septic arthritis is a severe infection of the joint. It is usually caused by a wound or a draining cyst. The bacterial infection can erode joint cartilage. Surgical drainage needs to be done promptly before the infection spreads to the bone, causing osteomyelitis.
  • Deep space infections – The potential spaces between the different structures of the hand – called deep fascial spaces – can become infected through a penetrating wound or the spread of infection from the blood. These infections can occur in the thumb or palm, or in the area between the bases of the fingers. Treatment may include antibiotics, pain medication and surgical drainage.
  • Tendon sheath infection – This is an infection of the flexor tendon. It can occur because of a small laceration or penetrating wound on the finger, close to the joint. Symptoms include finger stiffness, redness, swelling and pain. Treatment involves surgical drainage.
  • Atypical mycobacterial infections – These are infections of the tendon sheath and are caused by an atypical mycobacterium. Symptoms include stiffness and swelling. Treatment involves antibiotics and possible surgical removal of the tendon sheath.

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What is wrist pain?

Wrist pain is fairly common. There are many different causes, including fractures from lifting or carrying objects, operating machinery, bracing yourself from a fall or sports. See your doctor for any pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness or tingling in the wrist that lasts for more than two or three days. Common wrist injuries include:

  • Sprains and strains – A sprain is an injury to a ligament. A strain is an injury to a muscle. They usually occur when excessive force is applied during a stretching, twisting or thrusting action. Treatment usually involves rest, ice, compression and elevation. Surgery is sometimes needed.
  • Ligamentous injuries – Ligaments are tissue that connect bones. They are fibrous tissue, and a tear to one of multiple fibers can result in pain, swelling and limited mobility. Treatment may involve splinting and taping to restrict movement.
  • Fractures – A fracture is a bone break. Fractures occur when extreme force is applied to the bone. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising or bleeding, discoloration and limited mobility. Treatment involves the use of a case or splint. In some cases, surgery may be required.
  • Repetitive trauma syndrome – This type of injury occurs due to repetitive, rapid, forceful and prolonged motion. It can result in inflammation, pain and decreased function.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – This injury results in numbness or pain in the thumb and first two fingers. It happens when the median nerve is compressed at the wrist. It is often seen in people who use their hands for long periods of time, for example working on a computer. Treatment may involve medication, physical therapy and splinting. Surgery is sometimes recommended.

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What is a wrist tumor?

A wrist tumor can be located on the skin or underneath. They are most often benign but they can result in pain, swelling, loss of flexibility, weakness or numbness. Common types of wrist tumors include:

  • Ganglion cysts – These are fluid-filled growths that are often found at the wrist joint. There may be swelling of a joint or tendon sheath and leakage of fluid.
  • Giant cell tumors – These are caused by trauma to a tendon sheath. The abnormal growth of cells is stimulated, resulting in solid tumors.
  • Epidermal inclusion cyst – These are keratin-filled sacs that are formed beneath the skin. Keratin is produced by skin cells for protection. These types of cysts form when skin cells are trapped under the surface of a cut or puncture in the skin.

Diagnosis is made with physical examination and imaging tests (X-rays, MRI and CT scan). A biopsy may also be ordered to confirm diagnosis. Treatment may involve anti-inflammatory medications, splints and the draining of fluid. Surgery may be required in some cases.

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