Painful Hands? The 4 Most Common Conditions Treated With Hand Surgery

Posted on: 11 May 2017

Referrals to specialists for hand surgery are on the rise, thanks to repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. From 1990 to 2000, the incidence of referral rose by 36 percent, according to an audit published in The Royal College of Surgeons of England. At the time of the audit, the most recent to date, the trend showed no signs of stopping. People are performing more delicate tasks that involve rapid and repetitive motions of the small muscles in the hand, which is contributing to the need for more advanced hand surgeries. Following are four of the most common conditions treated with hand surgery. 

Thumb Arthritis

Arthritis of the basal joint, the base of the thumb, is quite common. The basal joint, responsible for the swivel and pivot motions of the thumb, is especially prone to wear and tear caused from repetitive motions. Once arthritis sets in, it tends to get worse over time without treatment. Some treatment options include hot and cold therapy, pain relievers and steroid injections. However, these treatments are often temporary. Surgery is the best option and involves removing the joint and replacing it with a tendon harvested from somewhere else in the body. 

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel is a debilitating condition caused by the narrowing of the empty spaces of the wrist through which the median nerve travels. Causes of carpal tunnel include repetitive motion, aging and naturally small wrists. The symptoms of carpal tunnel are causes by pressure placed on the median nerve. The goal of surgery is to provide more room for the nerve thus relieving some of the pressure it's under. This is done by dividing the transverse ligament. 

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger involves the tendons that allow your fingers to bend. Trigger finger causes your fingers to either hesitate to come out of or get locked in the curled position. In the surgery, the sheath surrounding the tendon is cut, allowing the tendon free movement. 

Irritated Tendons

There are about 40 tendons in each of your hands, which are responsible for all of the motions you make with your hands and fingers. When the tendons become crowded and irritated, their sheaths swell. Surgery for this condition involves enlarging the sheath surrounding the affected tendon. 

As you can see, the most common types of surgeries are geared toward treating repetitive stress injuries. Therefore, it's vital that you take care of your hands and follow all ergonomic instructions applicable to your job, hobbies or activities. 

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