Hand doctors specialize in diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative care of the hand and wrist, treating patients of all ages. They diagnose and treat various conditions to help patients return to a pain-free and active life. If necessary, orthopedic hand specialists perform surgery to repair damaged tissue, restore joint motion, relieve pressure on nerves, and help reduce pain.
The EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region’s orthopedic hand specialists are board-certified, fellowship-trained specialists with expertise in treating injuries and conditions affecting the fingers, hand, wrist, and elbow. They work with patients to develop the best treatment plan to address their needs so they can return to the activities they enjoy.
What Conditions Can a Hand Specialist Diagnose and Treat?
A hand specialist can diagnose and treat hand conditions through therapy, noninvasive treatments, and surgical intervention. The most common conditions treated by an orthopedic hand surgeon include, but are not limited to:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Nerve injuries
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Sprains and fractures
- Trigger finger
- Sports injuries
Regardless of the condition, scheduling an appointment with a hand doctor will help a patient get on the correct treatment path.
How Can a Hand Specialist Treat Hand Conditions?
Hand doctors use many different forms of treatment to care for hand injuries. Depending on the severity of a condition, hand specialists can treat hand conditions by using nonsurgical or surgical techniques.
Nonsurgical Hand Treatments
Before considering surgery, a hand doctor will try nonsurgical treatment measures to treat hand conditions. The measures include:
- Ultrasound therapy
- Hand Therapy
Generally, hand doctors will only suggest surgery if patients exhaust all other treatment measures to no avail.
Surgical Hand Treatments
Hand surgery is a medical science field focusing on problems of the hands, wrists, and forearms. These problems can range from simple injuries to complex deformities. Injuries can occur due to accidents, sports activities, work-related injuries, and more. Deformities can arise from congenital disabilities, genetic disorders, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Surgery performed by hand surgeons include minor procedures such as arthroscopic surgery and major operations such as reconstructive surgery. Some hand surgeons may be able to perform these procedures using minimally invasive techniques that minimize scarring and recovery time.
The most common types of hand surgeries performed by hand surgeons include:
- Arthroscopic Surgery. This procedure involves making small incisions in the skin over the affected area. A camera attached to a light source is inserted into one of those incisions. Then, instruments called arthroscopes are used to look inside the joint. During this process, fluid is removed from the joint and replaced with saline solution. Finally, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone fragments using special tools.
- Open Surgery. This type of surgical procedure usually requires larger incisions in the skin. The surgeon makes cuts where they want to operate. After cutting open the tissues, the doctor uses their instruments to separate the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the joint. The hand doctor then carefully examines the joint and performs any needed procedures. Once finished, the doctor closes up the incision site with sutures.
- Fracture Repair. This surgery is performed when bones break during normal activity. For example, it can happen when someone falls down the stairs or hits their arm against something hard. The goal of fracture repair is to put the broken pieces back together again. Most fractures heal well with no intervention. However, sometimes doctors must fix the problem surgically.
- Finger Joint Replacement. When joints become worn out from disease or injury, they often start to hurt. When prompted by an expert physician, some patients may be candidates for a joint replacement to reduce pain and maintain motion.
- Wrist Reconstruction. Sometimes, people lose part of their hands or arms in an accident. To help restore function, doctors reconstruct the missing limb with prosthetic devices. Prosthetics come in many shapes and sizes. They can even be customized to match the patient’s appearance.
- Carpal Tunnel Surgery. This condition causes numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. It happens because the median nerve passes through a narrow tunnel at the wrist. Doctors open the tunnel to alleviate pressure on the nerve.
After surgery, hand surgeons work closely with hand and physical therapists to help patients regain strength and mobility. Orthopedic hand surgeons also teach patients how to care for their new hands and wrists, so they do not need additional medical attention.
Reasons to See an Orthopedic Hand Specialist
Pain in the hand, wrist, or arm can cause discomfort and make everyday tasks difficult. If you experience pain in any of these areas that make life challenging, you should find a hand specialist near you who can diagnose the problem and provide treatment options. The EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region orthopedic hand specialists will provide you with the care you need so you can return to an active life. Schedule your appointment so our experts can help you emerge stronger, healthier, and better.