Why are the hand and wrist special?
The hand and wrist are our main points of physical contact with the world. They manipulate objects to aid us in our daily lives. As such, pain that disables our hand and wrist can lead to a marked decrease in our ability to function at work and play.
The most common causes of Hand and Wrist discomfort include:
- CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME – Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve which runs from the forearm into the hand becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.
- DE QUERVAIN’S STENOSING TENOSYNOVITIS – is a condition brought by irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb.
- MALLET FINGER – Mallet finger occurs when the outermost joint of the finger is injured. With a mallet finger, the tendon on the back of the finger is separated from the muscles it connects.
- TRIGGER FINGER – Trigger finger is a common disorder of the hand which causes painful snapping or locking of the fingers or thumb.
- ARTHRITIS – Osteoarthritis of the fingers and thumb is characterized as chronic and often disabling pain and stiffness of one or more joints
- HEBERDEN’S NODES – are hard or bony swellings that can develop in the distal interphalangeal joints (DIP) (the joints closest to the end of the fingers and toes).
- WRIST GANGLION CYST – is a swelling that usually occurs over the back of the hand or wrist. These are benign, fluid-filled capsules.
How do we diagnose such conditions?
Firstly, we take a history from our patients. This includes finding out the circumstance surrounding their complaint, as well as the nature of the complaint. This can help us ascertain the tissue that is the main “pain generator”.
Secondly, a thorough clinical examination of the hand and wrist helps us confirm or rule out the possible reasons for our patient’s pain.
X-ray, fluoroscopy (real-time X-rays), computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are all important diagnostic tools to help Hand Surgeons confirm diagnoses.
Arthroscopy of the wrist is currently the gold standard diagnostic procedure of choice when the internal architecture of the joint, such as the cartilage, needs to be assessed. Therapeutic key-hole surgery can also be performed with the aid of this tool.