Rafal Z.. Stachowicz, M.D.


Learn more about Dr. Stachowicz

Watch Dr. Rafal Stachowicz discuss carpal tunnel syndrome on this episode of OrthoAdviceTM

Read Dr. Rafal Stachowicz's OrthoAdviceTM article on carpal tunnel syndrome in Akron Life.

Locations

Board Certifications

  • Surgery of the Hand
  • Orthopedic surgery

Fellowship

  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Allegheny General Hospital

Residency

  • University Hospital of Cincinnati

Medical School

  • University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
This condition, also called AC joint arthrosis, is a degeneration of the joint at the top of the shoulder where the acromion meets the clavicle.
The shoulder is a complex structure made of three separate joints. They work together to give the shoulder a tremendous range of motion. Let's take a closer look at the main parts of the shoulder's anatomy.
A bite from an animal can be very dangerous. Besides obvious injuries like tissue punctures and tears, bites can also introduce germs. Whether from a wild animal or from a pet, an animal bite - even one that seems minor -  can cause a serious infection.
This condition is a degeneration of cartilage in the joints at the base of the thumb, collectively called the basal joint. The main component of the basal joint is the thumb carpometacarpal (CMC), joint. This joint, which allows the thumb to pivot and swivel, can wear out even early in life.
Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. With this injury, one of the tendons anchoring your biceps muscle is torn. It may be torn partially or completely. Because the biceps is attached with two separate tendons, you may find that you can still use your biceps muscle even if one tendon is completely torn.
This is a problem with a tendon in your shoulder. Most often, it's the "long head of biceps" tendon. It travels from the front of your upper arm to the top of your shoulder socket. With this condition, the tendon becomes painfully inflamed or irritated.
This condition is a characteristic deformity of the finger in which the finger's middle joint, called the PIP joint, bends downward and the finger's end joint, called the DIP joint, hyperextends.
A boxer's fracture is a break of the metacarpal of the little finger. The metacarpals are the long bones in the hand that connect the fingers to the wrist.  A boxer's fracture refers to a break at the end of the bone nearest the knuckle, which is called the metacarpal neck.
These are warm or painful sensations caused by an injury to the brachial plexus. This is a network of nerves that passes through your shoulder. They travel down your arm and to your hand.
This is a swelling of a fluid-filled sac called the "subacromial bursa." It's in the shoulder, between a bony protrusion called the "acromion" and the rotator cuff. You have similar sacs near other large joints throughout your body. They act as cushions between your bones and your soft tissue. Normally they have a small amount of fluid inside them. But sometimes they can swell. We call that "bursitis."
This painful condition occurs when calcium deposits form in tendons of the rotator cuff. These tendons and surrounding tissues in the shoulder become inflamed. This condition typically affects adults.
This painful condition occurs when calcium deposits form in tendons of the rotator cuff. These tendons and surrounding tissues in the shoulder become inflamed. Reactive calcification often develops in young people, but it can affect people of all ages.
Pain, numbness and tingling in your hand may be from carpal tunnel syndrome. It happens when the area around the main nerve to your hand is too tight. The nerve is called the median nerve. And the small space in your wrist where it passes is called the carpal tunnel.
This is a common shoulder injury. It's a break of the bone that rests between the shoulder blade and the sternum. We call it the "collarbone." Your collarbones help connect your arms to your body.
Colles fracture is a break of one or both of the forearm bones (called the radius and ulna) that occurs just above the wrist. Although this type of injury can be caused by any strong force, Colles is most often associated with trying to break a forward fall.
This is a type of chronic, long-lasting, pain. In most cases, it develops in an arm or a leg that you have previously injured. With CRPS, you may have unexplained pain that won't go away. It may be severe, and it may spread.
This condition, also called "ulnar nerve entrapment," happens to the ulnar nerve in your elbow. This nerve travels along the inner side of your elbow and down to your hand. It's the nerve that makes the jolt you feel when you bump your "funny bone." With this condition, your ulnar nerve is compressed, stretched or irritated.
This condition, also called stenosing tenosynovitis of the first dorsal compartment of the wrist, is an inflammation of the sheath that wraps around the tendons at the thumb side of the wrist.
A mucous cyst is a small, fluid-filled sac that forms on the back of the finger near the base of the fingernail. It is a form of ganglion cyst that erupts from the capsule of the joint at the end of the finger, called the DIP joint. The cyst is attached to the joint capsule by a "stalk" that allows fluid to move into the cyst from the joint. Mucous cysts most commonly affect the index finger of the dominant hand.
This condition is a break of the radius bone at the wrist.  The radius is the larger of the two bones that connect the wrist to the elbow. The other bone is called the ulna. The radius supports the majority of forces at the wrist joint with its large joint surface. A fracture of the distal end of the radius - the end nearest the wrist -is one of the most common types of fractures. It may be part of a complex injury that involves other tissues, nerves and bones of the wrist.
This condition is a thickening of the fascia on the palm of the hand. The fascia is a connective tissue located just beneath the skin of the palm and fingers. This thickened fascia can form lumps or nodules under the skin, or long thick cords of tissue that extend from the palm to the fingers. Often, this thickened tissue contracts. This causes one or more fingers to curl toward the palm. This is called a flexion contracture.
This is a swelling of a fluid-filled sac in the back of your elbow. This sac is called the "olecranon bursa." You have similar sacs near other large joints throughout your body. They act as cushions between your bones and your soft tissues. Normally they have a small amount of fluid inside them. But sometimes they can swell. That is called "bursitis."
If your finger is dislocated, that means a bone has been forced out of its normal position. It's a common, painful injury, and one that needs proper treatment.
This condition is an abscess that forms within the pad of the fingertip. A felon can swell dramatically, leading to significant pain and sensitivity.
If you've fractured a finger, you've broken one or more of the finger bones we call "phalanges." Each individual bone is called a "phalanx." You've got three in each finger, and two in each thumb. They are supported by a network of soft tissues that can also be damaged during a fracture.
Our fingers are often in harm's way, and our fingertips are prone to injury. A fingertip injury can involve skin, soft tissue, nerves and bone. It can involve the nail and the nailbed. These injuries can be serious, painful, and slow to heal. If you've injured your fingertip, you can take a few simple steps to minimize problems.
The flexor tendons of the hand are responsible for flexion of the fingers and thumb toward the palm. These long structures are connected to the flexor muscles in the forearm. An injury to one of these tendons can cause pain and inability to flex the finger or thumb and grasp with the hand. Common flexor tendon injuries include lacerations, ruptures and inflammation.
This is a fracture of a part of the shoulder blade called the "glenoid." This is the socket that holds the head of the humerus (the bone of the upper arm).  A glenoid fracture can allow the head of the humerus to slip out of the socket.
This condition is a fracture of the bony bump that is located opposite of the head of the humerus. This type of fracture can interfere with the rotator cuff.
This condition is a fracture, or break, of one or more of the metacarpal bones of the hand. The fracture may be nondisplaced, in which the bones remain aligned, or displaced, in which the fractured ends shift out of alignment. Without proper treatment, the bones may not heal correctly. This can result in improper alignment of the fingers, leading to poor hand function.
This condition is a break of the scapula, the large, flat, triangular bone that contains the shoulder socket. Because the scapula is well protected by the muscles of the shoulder, scapula fractures are uncommon.
This is stiffening of your shoulder. It happens over time, and you may not know what caused it. With a frozen shoulder, it can be hard for you to be as active as you like.
A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms as a herniation from a joint capsule or tendon sheath. The sac is attached to the joint or tendon sheath by a "stalk" that allows fluid to move into the pouch from the joint or sheath. The stalk functions as a valve and often limits fluid drainage out of the cyst, allowing the cyst to increase - but not decrease - in size. In some cases the stalk functions as a two-way valve, allowing fluid to travel in both directions. This can enable the cyst to increase and decrease in size based on activities.
If you have pain in your shoulder, you may have a torn labrum. That's the thick band of tissue that goes around your shoulder socket. It helps make the socket deeper. It cushions the bone of your upper arm and keeps it from slipping.
Growth plates are places where new bone tissue forms. They are found near the ends of the long bones in growing children. Growth plates are weaker than the surrounding bone. That makes them easier to injure.
This condition is a traumatic fracture of the humeral head that leaves an indentation in the bone. This changes the shape of the humeral head and can interfere with normal arm motion.
This happens when you extend your elbow back farther than it's supposed to go. That damages the bones and soft tissues in your joint. Hyperextension can dislocate or even fracture your elbow.
Kienbock's disease is the death and deterioration of the lunate, one of the small bones in the wrist. It usually occurs in young adults and causes wrist pain, weakness, and loss of motion.
This condition, commonly called tennis elbow, is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the elbow. The pain is primarily felt at the lateral epicondyle, the bony bump on the outer side of the elbow.
This condition is an injury to the end of the extensor tendon that straightens the finger's end joint, called the DIP joint. It results in drooping of the fingertip, and prevents the finger from being straightened.
This is an injury of a growth plate on the elbow's inner side. Growth plates are places where new bone tissue forms. They are found near the ends of the long bones of growing children. But growth plates are weaker than the surrounding bone. That makes them easier to injure.
This condition, commonly called golfer's elbow, is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the elbow. The pain is primarily felt at the medial epicondyle, the bony bump on the inner side of the elbow.
Some of the muscles in your shoulder have opposing roles. When you move your arm, certain muscles contract while their opposing muscles relax. But when a muscle becomes much stronger than its opposing muscle, your shoulder can become unstable. You may have trouble moving it normally. We call this a "muscle imbalance."
This common injury is a stretching or tearing of the trapezius. This large muscle group spans the upper back, shoulders and neck. These muscles are commonly called the "trap" muscles.
Complex networks of nerves travel through your hands and fingers. If you injure a hand or a finger, you can damage these delicate nerves. Without proper care, a nerve injury can cause permanent problems.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It develops over time, often because of the wear and tear of daily activities.
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is a gradual breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is a tough, flexible connective tissue that protects the ends of bones in the joints. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder can severely impact a person's lifestyle.
This is a disorder that most often affects young athletes. It happens when part of a bone in the elbow loses its blood supply. It weakens, and so does the cartilage that covers it. Bone and cartilage may break off and drift around in the elbow. That can cause the joint to catch and lock up.
If you have an infection in a bone, you have osteomyelitis. It's a serious condition that can cause part of your bone to die. And, the infection can spread to other parts of your body.
If you have an infection in a bone, you have osteomyelitis. It's a serious condition that can cause part of your bone to die. And, the infection can spread to other parts of your body.
If you are an athlete, or if you work with your arms and hands, your elbows may be at risk for an overuse injury. This is an injury caused by repetitive motions. This type of injury can be a problem for people who play sports such as tennis or baseball. Children also have a higher risk, because their bones are still growing.
This condition is an infection of the skin around the fingernail, usually at the side of the nail. Infections are usually mild, but may quickly increase in severity if not properly treated. Some infections may be chronic, and difficult to treat.


Video Transcript

Dr. Stachowicz is a hand specialist and upper extremity surgeon with the following areas of interest:
• Surgery and reconstructive surgery
• Athletic injuries and sports orthopedic surgery
• Arthritic conditions
• Microsurgery of the hand and wrist
• Hand, elbow and shoulder surgery (arthroscopic)

This condition is a common congenital anomaly that results in extra fingers or thumbs. Polydactyly can affect one or both hands, and can result in one or more extra digits. Polydactyly can also affect the feet, resulting in extra toes.
This condition is a fracture of the head of the humerus - the "ball" of the shoulder's ball-and-socket.
This condition involves the radial nerve in your elbow. The radial nerve passes down your arm to your hand. Its branches travel into your thumb, forefinger and middle finger. With this condition, your radial nerve is compressed, stretched or irritated.
Raynaud's phenomenon is an exaggerated form of vasoconstriction - the body's natural response to cold and stress. It results from a spasm of the small arteries that supply blood to the fingers. This spasm temporarily decreases blood flow, resulting in cold, painful, and discolored fingers.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that can attack joints throughout the body, commonly affects the joints and surrounding tendons of the wrist and fingers. It can cause the joints to become swollen, painful and possibly deformed. This can interfere with normal hand function. It can significantly impact a person's quality of life.

Rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that can attack joints throughout the body, commonly affects the joints and surrounding tendons of the wrist and fingers. It can cause the joints to become swollen, painful and possibly deformed, interfering with normal hand function and significantly impacting a person's quality of life.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system. This is the system that protects you from infection. RA may cause pain and stiffness in your shoulder where the humerus (the bone of the upper arm) meets the shoulder socket. It can also affect the joint where your clavicle meets your scapula.
The rotator cuff muscles and tendons hold your upper arm bone in your shoulder socket. A hard fall, repetitive arm motions or problems with the structure of your shoulder can injure the rotator cuff.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in each shoulder. It holds your upper arm bone in your shoulder socket. It keeps your arm stable while allowing it to lift and rotate. Too much stress on the rotator cuff can cause a tear. This can be a painful injury.
A scaphoid fracture, one of the most common types of wrist fractures, is a break in the scaphoid bone. The scaphoid, one of the most important bones in the wrist, has a limited blood supply. An improperly treated scaphoid fracture can result in significant wrist pain, arthritis, and loss of motion.
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball of your upper arm bone fits into a socket in your shoulder blade. If the ball slips out, your shoulder has "dislocated."
This is a painful pinching of soft tissues in your shoulder. It happens when these tissues rub and press against a part of your shoulder blade called the "acromion." This can irritate your rotator cuff tendons, and also a soft sac called the "subacromial bursa."
This is a looseness of the shoulder joint. With it, your arm slides around too much in the socket. It may slip out of the socket easily. Instability can happen because the ligaments that hold your shoulder together aren't tight enough. Or, the cartilage around your shoulder socket may be damaged.
This is an injury of the acromioclavicular joint (commonly called the "AC" joint). This is the joint where the clavicle meets the scapula. A shoulder separation is a stretching or a tearing of the ligaments that support these bones. This allows the bones to move out of position.
This condition is a tear of the labrum in the shoulder joint. The labrum is a ring of cartilage around the shoulder socket that stabilizes the head of the humerus. A SLAP tear occurs at the point where the biceps tendon attaches to the labrum.
This is a problem that involves the scapula. That's the bone we call the "shoulder blade." With this condition, you have a shoulder blade that catches when you lift or move your arm. You may find this only slightly irritating, or it may be very painful.
This is a pain or weakness from an irritated nerve in your shoulder. It's called the "suprascapular" nerve. It travels from the neck down through your shoulder.
This condition is a result of tendon imbalance in the finger or thumb. In the finger, it causes a characteristic deformity in which the middle finger joint (called the PIP joint) hyperextends, and the fingertip joint (called the DIP joint) bends downward. When viewed from the side, the finger looks like the outstretched neck of a swan.
This condition is a common congenital anomaly of the hand. It occurs when two or more fingers are connected together by skin or tissue. The bones of the fingers may also be fused.
This is a label given to a group of disorders. In these disorders, nerves or blood vessels are compressed in the space between your collarbone and the underlying rib. This space is called the "thoracic outlet."
Throwing overhand again and again puts a lot of stress on your elbow. It can lead to injury. Young athletes, in particular, are at risk. Some play sports all year without learning how to throw properly. And, their bones are still growing. Let's look at how the elbow can be damaged.
This condition, also called skier's thumb, is an acute sprain or tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) on the ulnar side of the metacarpal-phalangeal (MCP) joint of the thumb. A related condition, called gamekeeper's thumb, is a chronic injury that develops over time from repeated stretching of the UCL.
This condition is a degenerative or traumatic tear of one or more parts of the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC), which stabilizes the ulna. The TFCC is composed of a group of ligaments that form connections between the radius, ulna and the carpal bones of the hand. At the center of these ligaments lies the most commonly injured structure, the triangular fibrocartilage disc, which is connected between the radius and the base of the ulnar styloid.
This is an inflammation of a tendon at the back of your elbow. It's called the "triceps" tendon. It anchors your upper arm's triceps muscle to the ulna (one of the bones of your forearm).
This common condition, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a narrowing of a portion of the tendon sheath in the finger or thumb that interferes with normal finger movement. This condition most commonly affects the ring finger, but can affect any digit. It is more common in middle-aged women, but anyone can be affected, even newborns.
Like other joints, the elbow is held together by strong bands of tissue called "ligaments." On the elbow's inner side is the ulnar collateral ligament complex. We call it the "UCL." It's made of three bands that connect the humerus (the upper arm bone) to the lower arm's ulna. The UCL is the elbow ligament most often injured by baseball pitchers and by other athletes who play throwing sports.
This condition is a stretching or tearing of the volar plate, which can allow the finger to hyperextend and can interfere with normal hand function. The volar plate is a strong ligamentous structure on the underside of the finger at the point where the proximal and middle phalanx bones meet, called the proximal interphalangeal joint (or PIP joint). The volar plate keeps the finger from bending backwards at the PIP joint, and, together with the collateral ligaments, stabilizes the PIP joint from displacement.
This is a problem of the scapula bone. That's your "shoulder blade." With this condition, you have a shoulder blade that sticks out instead of lying flat. It lifts away from your back, and it doesn't look like your other shoulder blade.
When your wrist is bent too far, this can injure bands of tissue called "ligaments." Ligaments connect the bones of your hand to each other. They also connect the bones of your hand to the bones of your forearm.

At Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center, our patient-centered approach to care combines deep orthopaedic knowledge and expertise with a personal commitment to be with you through the entire restorative process. But, you don’t have to take our word for it. Read what patients are saying about Dr. Stachowicz:

I was very weak and not feeling well at my last visit when my cast was removed.  Dr. Stachowicz and his staff were very patient, understanding, and took extra care and time to go slow and help me maneuver safely.

This was the first time I saw Dr. Stachowicz and I definitely will come back and see him. He was a very nice, friendly, and kind.

Dr. Stachowicz provided all the information I needed in regard to my condition. Staff also provided other information I needed. You can tell they genuinely care for their patients.

This was my first visit to the Crystal Clinic. I felt that Dr. Stachowicz answered my questions and concerns about the pain I am experiencing. I was very satisfied with my initial visit with him. The entire process went extremely smoothly.

I fell at home and broke my finger.  When I called to make an appointment, I was pleasantly surprised to get an appointment with Dr. Stachowicz the very next day. My surgery was just two days later.

Everyone -  from the front desk to the nurses to Dr. Stachowicz - has treated me with respect, patience, and kindness.  Everyone has been very professional.

 Dr. Stachowicz and staff made me feel welcome and they were very helpful to my needs. The environment and courtesy and professionalism was impeccable. 

The receptionist and check-in process was very pleasant.  I only had to wait a few moments to be called back by the nurse and was seen very promptly by Dr. Stachowicz.

Dr. Stachowicz was running behind about an hour, but I'll sacrifice because he was a great doctor. Very professional and I will see him again. He and his staff did a great job.

This was my first visit with Dr. Stachowicz. I received an injection in my left thumb for trigger thumb. It was a good experience overall.

Received excellent care and understanding from Dr. Stachowicz and his taff, This was my final checkup from elbow surgery, Dr. Stachowicz made sure to tell me if I have any worse pain to make sure I see him.  He showed he cares for his patients.

Dr. Stachowicz took his time and care with the treatment on my finger.

Dr. Stachowicz was very good. He examined my hand, asked questions, answered my questions, explained options, was very courteous and prompt.  I was very impressed with the environment and staff as well.  I will definitely return if I need further work on my hand.

Specialties

  • Surgery of the Hand & Upper Extremity
  • Athletic Injuries, Arthritic Conditions, Trauma, Microsurgery, Arthroscopic & Reconstructive Hand, Elbow & Shoulder Surgery

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