Common Hand & Wrist Conditions Treated

We rely on our hands and wrists to perform a wide range of tasks on any given day. They enable us to use computers, write, pick things up, hold a loved one’s hand, and play musical instruments, just to name a few. While playing such a vital role in a broad range of daily activities, it’s no wonder that this part of our body is highly susceptible to injury and disease. 

At Crystal Clinic, our physicians treat a wide range of both common and complex hand and upper arm problems. The most frequently seen conditions are described below.

CMC Arthritis

One of the most common conditions we treat at Crystal Clinic Summit Hand is carpometacarpal (CMC) or basal joint arthritis. This arthritis affects the base of the thumb. Thumb arthritis is accelerated by overuse and repetitive pinching motion over the years. Other causes include fractures or dislocations of the CMC joint at some point in your life.

People with CMC arthritis typically experience pain, along with decreased grip and pinch, and report that they drop things more frequently or have difficulty performing simple tasks that require pinch. We confirm the diagnosis by getting their medical history, conducting a physical exam, and ordering x-rays. 

Once CMC arthritis is identified, we start with conservative, non-surgical treatments, such as splinting, cortisone injections, and activity modifications. Should these nonsurgical treatments fail, then we would consider surgery, known as CMC arthroplasty.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common hand condition that affects millions of Americans. In fact, more than 500,000 people each year elect to have surgery to gain relief from the typical symptoms of tingling and/or numbness in their hands.

Many patients experience numbness or tingling at night, when gripping the steering wheel while driving, or when talking on the phone. Most report feeling relief after dropping their hands or shaking them out. Clumsiness or difficulty with normal daily tasks due to numbness and/or weakness of the thumb are late symptoms.

Before deciding on surgery, we start with a non-operative approach, such as night splints to keep the wrist in a neutral position that blocks flexion or extension. To help manage any discomfort, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen are recommended. We also advise patients to avoid activities that tend to aggravate the condition. Cortisone injections may be considered if other treatments don’t provide relief. When those options fail, it may be necessary to consider surgery.

De Quervain Tenosynovitis

De Quervain tenosynovitis is a painful condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. When the tunnel where the tendons run becomes narrow or the tendons take up extra space, this causes pain when trying to grasp something. Symptoms include a sharp or dull pain and swelling at the base of the thumb or at the wrist. This condition can be treated conservatively at first, with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen and cortisone injections. If those treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary to open up the tunnel. 

Dupuytren’s Contracture

Dupuytren's contracture is a hand deformity that typically progresses slowly over time. It occurs when knotted cords of tissue form under the skin, causing one or more fingers to be pulled into a bent position. The ring finger and pinky are most commonly affected, though the middle finger can also be involved.

Due to the inability to naturally straighten your fingers, everyday activities such as putting on gloves or shaking hands can be difficult. As the condition worsens, it can limit your ability to fully open your hand, grasp large objects or get your hand into narrow spaces.

In most cases, doctors can diagnose Dupuytren's contracture by simply looking at and feeling your hands. Rarely are other tests necessary.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries that occur among people of all ages. A sprain happens when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. Ligaments are flexible bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to bones, and bones to cartilage. Most sprains heal with getting rest and applying ice. However, if your wrist is swollen and you have any difficulty moving it, you’ll want to see your doctor. 

Strains occur when a muscle or tendon is injured. Tendons are the fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone throughout your body. Similar to sprains, a strain may be an overstretched muscle or tendon, or it could be a partial or complete tear in the muscle and tendon combination. Pain, cramping, inflammation, muscle spasm, muscle weakness and swelling are the most common symptoms.

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger is a condition that typically affects the thumb, middle or ring fingers, but can affect any finger. The finger gets stuck when it’s bent and will suddenly straighten with a pop. It occurs when a finger’s tendon sheath becomes inflamed, impeding the tendon’s gliding motion through the sheath.    

Symptoms include finger stiffness, especially in the morning, popping or locking of the finger, and pain in the palm. In the most severe cases, a finger can be stuck down and can’t open.

People whose work or hobbies require repetitive gripping actions are at higher risk of developing this. Trigger finger is also more common in women and in anyone with diabetes. Treatment varies from rest, therapy, anti-inflammatories, injections, and surgery.