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Elbow, Wrist, & Hand Treatments

Pain or weakness stemming from the hands, wrists, or elbows can make recreation, labor, and daily activities difficult or impossible. Whether the cause is injury, disease, defect, or normal wear and tear, these concerns can limit function and reduce quality of life. Our board certified orthopaedic surgeons utilize some of the most advanced techniques available to effectively address the wide array of elbow, wrist, and hand conditions that can occur. Our commitment to patient safety and experience informs our approach in every way, and we want you to feel completely confident in our care.

Any discomfort in your hands or elbows should be attended to, and our doctors can help you find a solution that best suits your lifestyle and needs. Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options available or to schedule a consultation. You can also follow the links below for more information:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

A number of treatments are available for carpal tunnel syndrome, a common nerve compression disorder in the wrist. Non-surgical options can often relieve mild to moderate symptoms, and they include the use of cold compresses, steroid injections, splinting, physical therapy, and other conservative therapies. More advanced or chronic cases may require surgery to release the carpal ligament and/or to expand the size of the carpal tunnel, which can reduce inflammation, pressure, and pain.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

The ulnar nerve runs from the shoulder to the tips of the fingers and passes through the elbow joint on its way. In the event the nerve becomes compressed or inflamed, this condition is known as cubital tunnel syndrome. If rest and other home-based remedies prove ineffective, non-surgical treatment, such as bracing, splinting, physical therapy, and medication, may be recommended. More advanced cases, and conditions that are unaffected by minimally invasive treatment, often can be relieved with cubital release surgery. In this procedure, the ligament that covers the cubital tunnel is divided to reduce pressure and provide more space for the nerve to move. Sometimes the nerve may need to be relocated to prevent it from getting caught on the elbow’s bony ridge when the arm is bent.

Dupuytren’s Contracture Treatment

Involuntary gradual curling of the fingers (primarily the outer two) may be a sign of Dupuytren’s contracture. This condition can be treated, though not cured, with steroids, splints, and a procedure known as fasciotomy of Dupuytren’s. In this technique, the fibrous bands that limit finger movement are divided or removed to partially or fully restore function.

Ganglion Cyst Surgery

A type of hand tumor, ganglion cysts can develop on the wrists or fingers and are often harmless. However, they can interfere with motion and may be painful. While many ganglion cysts will disappear on their own, those that recur or persist should be addressed. Treatment for this issue typically involves draining the fluid or, if that fails to eliminate the lump, surgical excision (removal) of the cyst may be recommended.

Joint Reconstruction Surgery

If arthritis has progressed to the point that non-surgical treatment fails to provide relief, surgery may be necessary to alleviate pain and improve mobility. Joint reconstruction is a more conservative option than joint replacement. This procedure preserves as much of the existing tissue as possible and utilizes plates, screws, spacers, and/or other devices to repair the worn down hard and soft tissues, rather than replace the joint entirely. At Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey, our surgeons are extensively trained in minimally invasive techniques that can reduce downtime and enhance outcomes.

Mallet Finger Treatment

Also known as baseball finger, mallet finger is a condition in which a fingertip cannot straighten due to an injury to the extensor tendon. Most incidences of mallet finger can be effectively resolved without the need for surgery. Various splints are available that hold the fingertip straight until the tendon naturally repairs itself, typically at least 8 weeks, after which the splint is worn periodically for several weeks to maintain the outcome. However, if a fracture was sustained or the joint is misaligned, surgery may be necessary to fix mallet finger.

Non-Surgical Arthritis Treatment

In its early stages, arthritis of the hand, wrist, or elbow should respond to non-surgical treatment. Many techniques can be performed at home and can help slow progression of this common disease. Ice, anti-inflammatory medication, splints, steroid injections, and other minimally invasive options can provide significant relief. However, non-surgical treatment for arthritis is typically performed by your medical doctor or a rheumatologist.

Nerve Decompression

Many upper extremity conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren’s contracture, and others, are caused by the compression of one or more nerves. Our skilled orthopaedic surgeons are trained in the most advanced minimally invasive nerve decompression techniques, which typically involve dividing or removing ligaments and/or modifying other tissues to expand the space the nerve moves through. As a result, the nerve can slide freely without being pinched or irritated.

Surgical and Non-Surgical Elbow, Hand, and Wrist Fracture Treatment

A broken bone, medically referred to as a fracture, can happen to any of the bones in the hand, wrist, or elbow. Many fractures can heal without the aid of invasive techniques by utilizing a brace, splint, or cast until the bone heals. If the fracture is severe, misaligned, or bone is protruding through the skin (called a compound fracture), an operation will typically be necessary to reset the bone. Some injuries may require plates, screws, or other stabilizing devices to reconstruct and/or hold the bone in position while healing. An experienced orthopaedic surgeon can diagnose the type of fracture and determine the best course of action to treat it. Our philosophy is to use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible and to provide exceptional care that optimizes your outcome.

Surgical and Non-Surgical Wrist Tendonitis Treatment

Tendonitis (sometimes spelled tendinitis) of the wrist occurs when a tendon in this area becomes inflamed or swollen. DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis is an example of wrist tendonitis. There are many treatment options available that can help to reduce the pain and mobility issues associated with this condition. Non-surgical treatments include temporarily immobilizing the area with splints and braces and reducing inflammation with medication and/or steroid injections. Physical therapy can also help to alleviate discomfort and to improve function. Surgery may be necessary in more severe cases. In this procedure, the sheath that bundles the irritated tendons together (or covers them) is opened up to allow for more room and movement. Once healed, many patients can return to the activities that were painful or difficult prior to the operation.

Trigger Finger Release

Similar to mallet finger, trigger finger is a condition in which the finger cannot fully straighten due to swelling in the tendons. While the extensor tendon (located on top of the finger) is to blame in mallet finger, the flexor tendon (located on the underside of the finger) is the cause in trigger finger. If the concern is mild, rest can often be sufficient to address this issue. However, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, and avoidance of certain activities may be advised to more effectively resolve trigger finger. Surgery is rarely needed. When recommended, an operation can be performed to open the tendon sheath. Once the sheath is loosened, the flexor tendon should be able to move freely without catching.

Wrist Reconstruction and Fusion

Repairing rather than replacing a joint may be an option for some individuals with significant wear and tear in their wrist. Our experienced hand and upper extremity surgeons often can restore function and reduce pain by reconstructing worn down areas utilizing advanced materials. Some joints with more severe damage may be addressed with a fusion. In this procedure, the wrist bone is stabilized by permanently securing the radius (forearm bone) to the small bones of the wrist. This technique significantly reduces motion in the area and is most commonly used after a traumatic injury. However, it can also prove helpful for individuals who continue to experience pain due to arthritis after all other methods have been exhausted.

Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow Release

Affecting the tendons on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and the inside of the elbow (medial epicondylitis), respectively, tennis and golfer’s elbow are common injuries that typically occur with overuse and age. Non-surgical treatment for both conditions include strengthening and stretching exercises, rest, braces, steroid injections, and medications. If symptoms persist for more than a year even with minimally invasive techniques, surgery may be recommended. The primary purpose of an operation is to remove damaged tissue, reattach healthy tissue, and ensure all tendons are moving smoothly without irritation.

Reconstruction for Instability (Tommy John Surgery)

Sports and other activities that involve throwing (or similar arm movement) can sometimes lead to problems affecting the UCL, or ulnar collateral ligament. This ligament can be inflamed or torn, which causes pain on the inside elbow. An operation commonly known as Tommy John surgery can be performed to reconstruct the UCL using a tissue graft, upon which the ligament can regrow. In many cases, the tendon belonging to the patient can be used. If inflammation of the nerve is the primary concern rather than a ligament tear, the nerve can be repositioned in front of the elbow to reduce friction and stretching.

Biceps/Triceps Repairs

Often a result of normal wear and tear over time, biceps and triceps tendon damage can cause pain, tenderness, and weakness in the arm. Inflammation of the tendons that secure the muscles to bone can be treated with rest, ice, and other non-surgical approaches. In the event of a tendon tear or rupture, a surgical procedure can reattach the tendon. Additionally, the surgeon can remove any damaged muscle tissue if necessary. Delayed tendon repairs can be performed with the use of tendon autografts and allografts when primary repair is not possible. Most patients are able to return to full function after this operation, although experiences may vary.

At the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey, we are dedicated to providing the most advanced and effective hand, wrist, and elbow treatments available. To learn more about your options, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.