Common Conditions

Arthritis | Basal Thumb Arthritis | Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Congenital Deformities | Cubital Tunnel Syndrome |
Dupuytren’s Disease | Elbow Bursitis | Fractures | Ganglion Cysts | Mallet Finger - Baseball Finger |
Numbness | Rheumatoid Arthritis | Soft Tissue Masses | Tendinitis | Tendon Transfer |
Tennis Elbow - Golfers Elbow | Trigger Finger | Wrist Tendinitis |

Arthritis

The hand and wrist have multiple small joints that work together to produce motion. This gives the fine motion needed to thread a needle or tie a shoelace. When the joints are affected by arthritis, activities of daily living can be difficult. Arthritis can occur in multiple areas of the hand and wrist. It can have multiple causes.

It is estimated that one out of every five people living in the United States has at least one joint with signs or symptoms of arthritis. About half of arthritis sufferers are under age 50. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It typically occurs from either disease or trauma. The exact number of people with arthritis in the hand and wrist is not known. More about Arthritis of the Hand…

 

Basal Thumb Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that irritates or destroys a joint. Although there are several types of arthritis, the one that most often affects the joint at the base of the thumb (the basal joint) is osteoarthritis (degenerative or “wear-and-tear” arthritis). More about Arthritis of the Thumb…

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. In effect, it is a pinched nerve at the wrist. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers. 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. When the pressure from the swelling becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, numbness, tingling, and pain may be felt in the hand and fingers. More about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome...

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Congenital Deformities

Babies born with hands that are different than the normal hand have a congenital hand difference.

The upper limb is formed between four and eight weeks after the sperm and egg unite to form an embryo. The embryo develops an arm bud at four weeks. The tip of the arm bud sends messages to each cell as the upper limb forms. Millions of steps are followed to form a normal arm. Failure of any of these steps to occur can result in a congenital hand difference. Research continues into further understanding of this embryonic process. Some congenital hand differences may occur due to a genetic cause. Many congenital hand differences just occur without an apparent cause. More about Congenital Hand Differences...

 

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. There is a bump of bone on the inner portion of the elbow (medial epicondyle) under which the ulnar nerve passes. This site is commonly called the “funny bone” (see Figure 1). At this site, the ulnar nerve lies directly next to the bone and is susceptible to pressure. When the pressure on the nerve becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, then numbness, tingling, and pain may be felt in the elbow, forearm, hand, and/or fingers. More about Cubital Tunnel Syndrome...

 

Dupuytren’s Disease

Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening of the tissue just beneath the skin known as fascia. This thickening occurs in the palm and can extend into the fingers. Firm cords and lumps may develop that can cause the fingers to bend into the palm, in which case it is described as Dupuytren’s contracture. Although the skin may become involved in the process, the deeper structures, such as the tendons, are not directly involved. Occasionally, the disease will cause thickening on top of the finger knuckles (knuckle pads), or nodules or cords within the soles of the feet (plantar fibromatosis). More about Dupuytren’s Disease…

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Elbow Bursitis - Olecranon Bursitis

The bursa is a slippery sac between the loose skin and the bones of the elbow. It is located at the tip of the elbow. The bursa allows the skin to move freely over the underlying bone. Normally, the bursa is flat. If it becomes irritated or inflamed, a condition known as bursitis develops. More about Elbow Bursitis - Olecranon Bursitis…

 

Fractures

Fractures of the hand can occur in either the small bones of the fingers (phalanges) or the long bones (metacarpals). They can result from a twisting injury, a fall, a crush injury, or direct contact in sports.

A physical examination is done to check the position of the fingers and the condition of the skin. The examination may include some range of motion tests and an assessment of feeling in the fingers. This will ensure that there is no damage to the nerves. X-rays identify the location and extent of the fracture. More abut Hand Fractures…

 

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, the palm side of the wrist, the base of the finger on the palm side, and the top of the end joint of the finger. The ganglion cyst often resembles a water balloon on a stalk, and is filled with clear fluid or gel. The cause of these cysts is unknown although they may form in the presence of joint or tendon irritation or mechanical changes. They occur in patients of all ages.

These cysts may change in size or even disappear completely, and they may or may not be painful. These cysts are not cancerous and will not spread to other areas. More about Ganglion Cysts…

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Mallet Finger / Baseball Finger

A mallet finger is a deformity of a finger caused when a certain tendon (the extensor tendon) is damaged. When a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb, the force damages the thin tendon that straightens the finger. The force of the blow may even pull away a piece of bone along with the tendon. The finger or thumb is not able to be straightened. This condition is also known as baseball finger. More about Mallet Finger (Baseball Finger)…

 

Numbness

Although carpal tunnel syndrome is common, it is not the only cause of numbness, tingling, and pain in the forearm and hand. Local pressure on a nerve (“compression neuropathy”) causes numbness in distinct patterns. More about Numbness...

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Aching joints are common in arthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, the joint lining swells, invades surrounding tissues, and produces chemical substances that attack and destroy the joint surface.

People of all ages may be affected. The disease usually begins in middle age.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects joints on both sides of the body in the hands and feet, as well as the hips, knees, and elbows. Without proper treatment, rheumatoid arthritis can become a chronic, disabling condition. More about Rheumatoid Arthritis…

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Soft Tissue Masses

Soft tissue sarcomas are cancerous tumors that grow in muscles, fat, joints, nerves or blood vessels. Soft tissue sarcomas make up 1percent of all cancer types and have been estimated to occur approximately 30 cases among every one million people. Studies have connected soft tissue sarcomas to exposure certain chemicals, high-dose radiation, and certain viral infections, and to specific genetic abnormalities. In most cases, the cause is unknown. More about Soft Tissue Masses…

 

Tendinitis

See Wrist Tendinitis

 

Tendon Transfer Surgery

Tendon transfer surgery is a type of hand surgery that is performed in order to improve lost hand function. A functioning tendon is shifted from its original attachment to a new one to restore the action that has been lost. More about Tendon Transfer Surgery...

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Tennis Elbow - Golfers Elbow - Lateral Epicondylitis

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 Figure 1). With lateral epicondylitis, there is degeneration of the tendon’s attachment, weakening the anchor site and placing greater stress on the area. This can then lead to pain associated with activities in which this muscle is active, such as lifting, gripping, and/or grasping. Sports such as tennis are commonly associated with this, but the problem can occur with many different types of activities, athletic and otherwise. More about Tennis Elbow - Golfers Elbow - Lateral Epicondylitis…

 

Trigger Finger - Trigger Thumb

Stenosing tenosynovitis, commonly known as “trigger finger” or “trigger thumb”, involves the pulleys and tendons in the hand that bend the fingers. The tendons work like long ropes connecting the muscles of the forearm with the bones of the fingers and thumb. In the finger, the pulleys are a series of rings that form a tunnel through which the tendons must glide, much like the guides on a fishing rod through which the line (or tendon) must pass. These pulleys hold the tendons close against the bone. The tendons and the tunnel have a slick lining that allows easy gliding of the tendon through the pulleys. More about Trigger Finger - Trigger Thumb…

 

Wrist Tendinitis - DeQuervain’s Tendinitis

First dorsal compartment tendinitis, more commonly known as deQuervain’s tendinitis or tenosynovitis after the Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain, is a condition brought on by irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb. The inflammation causes the compartment (a tunnel or a sheath) around the tendon to swell and enlarge, making thumb and wrist movement painful. Making a fist, grasping or holding objects—often infants—are common painful movements with deQuervain’s tendonitis. More about Wrist Tendinitis - DeQuervain’s Tendinitis…

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