Given how much we use our hands to perform many of our day-to-day activities, any of the structures responsible for their function and mobility could be a potential site for injuries and conditions, many of which could eventually require surgery.
Listed below are common hand conditions that can cause symptoms that can greatly interfere with your normal function and quality of life and may require surgery when conservative interventions fail to provide adequate relief.
Thumb/ Basal Joint Arthritis
Basal joint arthritis, commonly referred to as thumb arthritis, develops when the cartilage in your basal joint wears away. The basal joint allows your thumb to move and pinch with your other fingers.
If your symptoms—pain, stiffness, and swelling— have rendered your thumb unable to bend and twist, and they don’t respond to nonsurgical treatments, your hand surgeon may recommend surgical intervention to provide effective relief.
A common surgical procedure for thumb arthritis is a joint replacement (arthroplasty), in which your surgeon replaces the whole or a portion of the affected joint with a graft from one of your tendons.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the median nerve, one of the major nerves of the hand. When there is irritation, swelling, or thickening of the membranes surrounding the tendons in the carpal tunnel, the tendons can enlarge and compress the median nerve.
CTS causes burning pain, numbness, pins-and-needles sensation, and weakness in your hand that can radiate up to your arm.
If you have an intractable case of carpal tunnel syndrome, your hand surgeon may recommend endoscopic carpal tunnel release, a type of minimally invasive surgery in which your surgeon inserts a thin, flexible, lighted instrument with a camera attached on its tip into a small incision at your wrist. The camera allows your surgeon to see the inside of your wrist on a monitor and release the transverse carpal ligament.
Trigger finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition in which your finger— usually your thumb or your ring finger— gets locked in a bent position due to an inflammation of any of the tendons that surround it.
When conservative interventions, such as physical therapy, steroid injections, and percutaneous release prove ineffective, your hand surgeon may recommend trigger finger release (tenolysis). If your thumb is the affected finger, your surgeon creates an incision in the pad of your thumb, locates the sheath, and cuts through it to give the tendon more space to allow it to easily glide through.
Sometimes confused with trigger finger, Dupuytren’s contracture affects the ring and small finger of either hand. Men over the age of 40 are the most prone to develop it, as are diabetics and people living in cold climates.
The condition causes nodules, bumps, or cords to develop under the skin of your palm, sometimes extending up to your fingers. As these growths tighten, your fingers can get pulled toward your palm.
There are a number of conservative treatment modalities available to treat Dupuytren’s contracture. However, in its severe form, the condition can cause crippling hand deformities. In such cases, surgical intervention will likely be required to address the contracture and improve mobility in the affected fingers.
A very common surgical procedure for Dupuytren’s contracture is fasciectomy, in which your hand surgeon creates an incision then removes the abnormal tissue and cords to allow your finger/s to straighten.
Hand Surgery in Palm Beach County, FL
Whatever your hand condition or injury, our board-certified orthopedic hand surgeons here at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches can help. We specialize in various types of hand surgeries— including arthroplasty, carpal tunnel release, and fasciectomy—helping patients successfully regain their normal hand function and get back to doing the things that they love.