Hand and Wrist Care in Palm Springs

Injuries or disorders of the hand and wrist can have a major impact on the ability to perform everyday functions. Desert Care Network orthopedic hand surgeons use some of the latest procedures to expertly help treat your hand and wrist issues and help you get back to living your life to the fullest.

What Does an Orthopedic Hand Surgeon Do?

An orthopedic hand surgeon uses surgical and nonsurgical techniques to help treat conditions related to the hand, wrist and forearm. They are orthopedic surgeons who have additional training in hand surgery, and they may treat children only, adults only or both.

Types of Hand and Wrist Injuries and Disorders

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes compressed as it passes through an opening from the wrist to the hand. This narrow and rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand is called the carpal tunnel.

The median nerve provides sensory and motor functions to the thumb and three middle fingers. Pain and numbness occur when the lining of irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and compresses the median nerve. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may also experience one or a combination of any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty making a fist
  • Difficulty in gripping objects with one or both hands
  • Pain and/or numbness in one or both hands
  • The feeling of being pricked with “pins and needles” in the fingers
  • Swollen feeling in the fingers
  • Burning or tingling in the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Pain and/or numbness in one or both hands that gets worse at night, causing sleep interruptions

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome should begin as early as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve. If caught early, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated without surgery.

Nonsurgical & Surgical Carpal Tunnel Treatments

  • Splinting of the hand - prevents wrist movement and decreases nerve compression
  • Oral or injected anti-inflammatory medications - reduces swelling
  • Ergonomic interventions such as keyboard modification
  • Occupational therapy
  • Surgery - relieves compression on the nerves in the carpal tunnel

Surgery can be performed either through traditional open manner or endoscopically, which is minimally invasive. During both procedures, the transverse carpal ligament is cut to release the pressure on the median nerve and relieve carpal tunnel symptoms.

Ganglion Cyst Removal

A ganglion cyst is a tumor or swelling on top of a joint. It appears as a fluid-filled lump that changes in size and may appear after injury. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling that may appear over time or suddenly (it may get smaller in size, and may even go away, only to come back after a period of time)
  • Non-stop or aching pain that is made worse by joint motion when the cyst is connected to a tendon
  • A sense of weakness in the affected finger

Treatment Options

  • Splinting of the wrist
  • Exercises to strengthen wrist and improve range of motion
  • Aspiration
  • Surgical removal - recommended when the mass is painful, interferes with daily function or when numbness or tingling of the hand or fingers occurs

Wrist Fracture Repair

A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed.

  • Open fracture – the bone exits and is visible through the skin or where a deep wound exposes the bone through the skin
  • Closed fracture – the bone is broken but the skin is intact

Fractures occur when there is more force applied to the bone than the bone can absorb. Bones are weakest when they are twisted. Breaks in bones can occur from falls, trauma or because of a direct blow or kick to the body and may have one of or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the injured area
  • Swelling in the injured area
  • Obvious deformity in the injured area
  • Difficulty using or moving the injured area in a normal manner
  • Warmth, bruising or redness in the injured area

Treatment Options

Wrist fractures may be treated by casting, surgical repair and/or physical therapy or rehabilitation.

Types of Hand Surgery

Depending on your injury or underlying problem, it may be determined that surgery is the best option. A Desert Care Network orthopedic hand surgeon may perform several types of surgical hand procedures, including:

  • Fracture repair to fix bones in the hand or fingers
  • Joint replacement, also called arthroplasty, in people with severe arthritis of the hand
  • Nerve repair
  • Surgical drainage to remove a collection of pus if there is an abscess in the hand
  • Tendon repair

When is Wrist Surgery Necessary?

Is wrist pain keeping you from rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park? The wrist pain specialists at Desert Care Network are here to help you get back to doing what you love. Your wrist pain doctor will advise whether or not you need surgery, such as a wrist arthroplasty, based on the damage, your symptoms, response to prior treatment.

Who Is at Risk for Hand and Wrist Disorders?

  • Whether you’re training for the BNP Paribas Open or mountain biking at Murry Hill, sports can put stress and strain on your wrists
  • Activities that require repetitive motions such as typing on a keyboard, working on an assembly line or using power tools such as a drilling equipment
  • Having underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis

Expert Orthopedic Hand and Wrist Care at Desert Care Network

Whether you’ve broken your wrist, torn a ligament or are living with the long-term effects of a condition, such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, painful hands, wrists and arms can limit your mobility and quality of life. Desert Care Network provides the following:

  • A team of orthopedic hand surgeons who will evaluate and treat your hand and wrist injuries
  • The latest techniques for treating nerve compression, soft-tissue and traumatic injuries
  • A staff committed to ensuring that your recovery process is swift and effective

Reaching, grabbing, driving and using a computer mouse are activities you probably take for granted. But they’re only possible because of the flexibility of your fingers, hand, wrist, arm, elbow and shoulder. These extremities are anatomically complex and depend on the continual movement of joints, bones and muscles. They get a lot of use. They also get a lot of abuse which make them highly prone to injury.

The hand surgeons at Desert Care Network’s Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences (ICON) evaluate, treat and rehabilitate the muscles and joints of the hand and arm. Their plan of care is designed to fit your needs and includes treatment of the following:

  • Nerve compression syndromes, such as cubital tunnel syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Soft-tissue sprains, strains and contusions
  • Overuse and traumatic injuries, such as fractures and full and partial dislocations; degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis; tendon, nerve and ligament damage; rotator-cuff tears; and impingement syndromes of the elbow and wrist

After any type of hand and wrist surgery, you will need rehabilitation and physical therapy in order to return to daily activities without pain and stiffness.

When Should You See a Hand Surgeon?

If you experience pain in your fingers, hands, wrists or arms, one of our experienced hand doctors in Palm Springs may be able to help. While hand surgery may be a consideration, nonsurgical treatments, such as physical and occupational therapy, are also options that can help to restore movement and reduce or eliminate your pain.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in this article such as constant pain and numbness in your hands, seek medical help immediately.

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What to Expect After Knee Surgery

Data from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) states that 90% of people who have knee replacement experience significant pain reduction. Therefore, it’s safe to say that you may live a more active, efficient and more comfortable life after going through knee surgery.

If your doctor recommends knee surgery or you’re waiting to have your procedure, this article can help manage your expectations and give you more information about taking care of your “new” knee.

Hospital Stay and Discharge

You may stay at the hospital for one to four days, depending on the nature of your knee surgery (e.g., total knee replacement or partial knee replacement, minimally invasive or traditional). The length of your stay may also depend on the speed of your recovery. Your doctor may declare your discharge once you accomplish the following:

  • Get in and out of bed on your own
  • Eat, drink and use the bathroom
  • Experience tolerable levels of pain
  • Perform recommended home exercises
  • Understand knee precautions advised for proper healing and to prevent injuries
  • Walk with an assistive device if prescribed any (e.g., cane, crutch or walker) and be able to climb up and down two to three stairs

Note: Your doctor may also transfer you to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing center if, after several days, it is not safe for you to go home. Meanwhile, if you have outpatient knee surgery, you may go home the same day of the surgery.

Recovering After Knee Surgery

You may need assistance at home for several days to a few weeks while recovering. If you don’t have a family member or a friend who can be with you upon discharge, we recommend hiring a caregiver or a physical therapist.

Swelling

It’s normal to experience moderate to severe swelling in the early stages of your recovery. You may also experience mild to moderate swelling for about three to six months after the surgery. Applying ice, slightly elevating your leg or wearing compression stockings can also help reduce swelling.

Please inform your doctor if you notice warning signs of a blood clot which may include:

  • Increased swelling of the foot, ankle or calf
  • Pain in the calf or leg that is not related to the incision
  • Redness or tenderness below or above the treated knee

A blood clot may also go to the lungs and become life-threatening. Please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience the following:

  • Chest pain with coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden chest pain

Wound Care

Here are some guidelines that can help you take care of your surgical wound and prevent infection:

  • Change the wound dressing as often as directed by the orthopedic doctor. Follow the instructions given, and keep the wound clean and dry at all times.
  • Ask your doctor when you can take a bath. You may need to wait for a few days after the surgery.

Inform your doctor immediately if you experience warning signs of infection, which may include:

  • Chills
  • Drainage of the wound
  • Fever
  • Increased pain when moving and at rest
  • Increased redness, swelling or tenderness of the wound

Medication, Supplements and Diet

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics (to prevent infection), opioid and non-opioid pain killers, anti-nausea medications, stool softeners and oral or injectable blood thinners. Please take each of your medicines as prescribed.

Your provider may recommend supplements or foods that are rich in iron or vitamin K. It is also best that you maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting additional stress on your joints.

Resuming Physical Activities

Your doctor may recommend home exercises that can help you gradually get back to doing your normal activities. Here’s a list of the most common physical activities and when you may be able to do them safely.

  • Returning to work – it may take several days to a few weeks before you can safely return to work, depending on the day-to-day physical demands of your job.
  • Driving – you may be allowed to resume driving when you are no longer taking opioid pain pills.
  • Sexual activity – you may resume sexual activity within a few weeks after surgery, although it may still depend on your condition. Please consult your doctor.
  • Sports – please ask your doctor’s clearance before trying or going back to a specific sport. Low-impact sports such as swimming may require less recovery time as compared to high-intensity sports such as football.

Final Thoughts

Every year, about 600,000 people in the United States have knee surgery. Response to surgery varies, and each person heals differently, so talk with your doctor about recovery concerns and going back to your normal activities. Again, if you experience life-threatening symptoms of a blood clot, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Sources:
OrthoInfo
Healthline