Orthopaedic Specialists in Hand and Wrist Conditions, and Treatment
The Center for Orthopedic Specialists offers highly skilled diagnosis, and provides both surgical and non-surgical treatment for elbow conditions resulting from injury or trauma, as well as chronic or painful elbow disorders.
Ganglion (cysts) of the Wrist
A ganglion is a cyst which forms in various areas of the wrist, fingers, and thumb, and emerge from the capsule of a joint or the sheath of a tendon. Ganglia emerge more frequently in cases where continued pressure is applied to the hand and wrist, and grow proportionally with the level of activity. Ganglion cysts are not considered particularly serious, and may heal without treatment of any kind.
Ganglia are more commonly found on the top or bottom of the wrist rather than fingers or thumb. They are a balloon-shaped sac containing a viscous fluid similar to mucus or joint fluid. Ganglion cysts may grow to a size visible through the skin. Regardless of size, some ganglia may form in an area applying compression on a nerve, and in such cases may be painful.
Where continued growth of a ganglion cyst is either painful or cosmetically displeasing, a number of medical treatments are available. See your orthopedic doctor for examination and a discussion of treatment options.
Arthritis affects approximately one in five Americans of all ages – half under fifty – and leads the list of disabilities in the United States.
Both the hand and wrist may be affected by an arthritic condition in any of several locations, and may occur as the result of either trauma, such as a fracture, or disease.
The underlying cause of arthritis is the loss or degradation of joint cartilage, and subsequent response the body undertakes to attempt correction of the loss. The softness of cartilage provides an ideal surface cushioning within hard bone joints to allow smooth pain-free motion. Diminished or lost cartilage within a joint leads to rough painful motion of the joint.
The body’s response to the loss of cartilage within a joint is to infuse the joint lining with fluid to compensate for the lost cushioning effect of the cartilage. However, that fluid ultimately produces joint swelling and stretching of the joint covering (capsule) both of which lead to a painful condition both during motion and while at rest. Untreated, the joint will continue on a path of degradation, including bone deformation, still furthering the loss of motion and causing additional pain.
Arthritis as a result of disease:
With the two primary diseases contributing to arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the degradation of joint cartilage and onset of symptoms occurs more slowly. Osteoarthritis tends to be associated with the elderly, and its symptomology and joints affected is fairly predictable. With rheumatoid arthritis, the symptomology is not constrained to joint cartilage exclusively, and may affect to body more globally. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis carries genetic patterns that may manifest within family lineage.
Arthritis as a result of trauma:
Bone fractures and joint dislocations may cause cartilage damage. While not a result is disease degradation, the resulting cartilage damage may lead to an arthritic condition. In injured joint has a greatly increased probability of becoming arthritic, even with proper treatment at the time of injury.
There are a variety of treatment options available to those suffering with arthritis ranging from medications and physical therapy to surgery. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan should be undertaking as early as possible to prevent the continued advancement of the condition.
Trigger finger is a condition affecting the tendons of the hand and finger. More commonly affecting women than men, the condition tends to appear more frequently in individuals ages forty to sixty. Heavy hand use and some medical conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis may lead to trigger finger.
The condition produces a momentary stoppage of finger extension with a sudden popping release to full extension. In advanced and untreated cases, the finger may become unable to fully extend.
The cause of trigger finger is an irritation or swelling or nodule growth within the flexor tendons which control movement of the fingers and thumb. As the irritation or nodules grow in diameter, it becomes more difficult, and eventually impossible to pass through the tendon sheath – or tunnel – that secures the tendon to the bone. Difficulty with the tendon passing through the tendon adds compounds the irritation and nodule growth in the tendon. Early treatment is essential in limiting the advance of the condition.