Hand and wrist conditions

hand and wrist conditions
hand conditions


Dupuytren’s disease is a condition in which there is thickening and shortening of the deep tissue (fascia) in the palm of the hand and fingers. It can develop over months or years causing these fingers to be pulled down into the palm and leading to the inability to straighten these fingers (called Dupuytren’s contracture).


Trigger thumb occurs when the tendon that bends the thumb catches on the entrance to the tunnel that it runs through, preventing it from moving the thumb effectively. This can cause the thumb to feel stiff or get stuck in the palm of your hand. On attempting to straighten the thumb, it may be painful and move suddenly with a click.


Osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb is very common in women over the age of 50. The majority of patients have no or minimal symptoms, but the condition can cause stiffness, grinding, and a dull ache which becomes sharp with the use of the thumb. This particularly occurs during pinching or gripping movements that can cause the sufferer to drop objects.


A mucous cyst is a fluid filled cyst, that occurs at the end finger joint (distal inter-phalangeal joint), overlying the bed of the nail. They arise from the joint itself and can cause grooving or splitting of the nail. They may be associated with osteoarthritis of the joint.


Trigger finger is a common condition in which the finger may stick in a bent position when making a fist or grasping objects. This happens as a result of the tendon (that normally glides freely within a tunnel called the ‘flexor sheath’) catching against the inflamed tunnel lining.


A fusion is a technique of stiffening a damaged joint in order to improve pain in that joint. It is used for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and in some cases of infection or trauma / injury. All joints on the finger can in theory be fused. Pain is effectively exchanged for permanent stiffness following this procedure.


Finger joint replacement surgery is performed to improve the symptoms of pain in degenerate joints. The joints are most often damaged as a result of osteoarthritis (wear and tear) previous severe injury or rheumatoid arthritis. In much same way that both hip and knee joints can be replaced with artificial joints, so can the joints of the hand and fingers.


Hand arthritis occurs when the cartilage lining the finger joints becomes very thin and rough. Most patients will present with pain, stiffness and a variable amount of swelling. Later on deformities may develop. There may be a reduction in how much you are able to do with your hand.


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition where there is increased pressure on one of the main nerves to the hand (the median nerve). This nerve passes through a space in the wrist called the Carpal Tunnel. Compression of the nerve can cause symptoms in the hand such as uncomfortable ‘pins & needles’, burning sensations, or numbness and weakness in more severe cases.
hand and wrist conditions
Wrist conditions


Wrist fusion (or arthrodesis) is an operation in which the moving surfaces of the wrist are removed in order to fuse those joints together. This will be helped by packing bone graft around the joints. A specially designed plate and screws (or occasionally a metal pin) will be used to stabilise the bones while they heal.


Wrist replacement (arthroplasty) is an operation in which the worn out parts of the wrist are substituted for an artificial joint. Modern wrist replacements consist of two main components with a metal-on-plastic bearing.


A ganglion is a swelling that forms under the skin, which is filled with a clear jelly like fluid. They are the most common ‘lump’ found around the wrist. They arise from ligaments or from the lining of joints and tendons.


A broken or fractured wrist describes an injury to one or both of the forearm bones at the wrist. These bones are known as the radius and ulna. This injury normally results from a fall onto an outstretched hand. Most fractures can be treated with a splint or plaster.


Dequervain’s Tenosynovitis was named after a Swiss surgeon, who first described the condition in 1895. It is an inflammatory condition affecting the two tendons that pass on the thumb side of the wrist to the base of the thumb.


This term describes discomfort that occurs on the little finger side of the wrist. It is a very common site of pain which can occur following an injury, overuse or from a more longstanding or chronic underlying condition.


Ulnar Head replacement surgery is undertaken when there is arthritis affecting the joint between the radius and ulnar bones at the wrist. This joint is referred to as the Distal Radio-Ulnar Joint (DRUJ). It is a very important joint in allowing twisting or rotational movements at the wrist.


The Triangular FibroCartilage Complex (or TFCC) stabilises the joint between the radius and ulna bones at the wrist. It is a complicated structure which has several key elements to provide support to the ulnar (or little finger) side of the wrist. The TFCC also acts as a cushion between the end of the ulna and small bones (lunate and triquetrum) of the wrist.


Wrist arthritis occurs when the cartilage lining the joints of the wrist becomes very thin and rough. Most patients will present with pain, stiffness and a variable amount of swelling. The arthritis can result from previous injuries such as a fracture or injury to one of the stabilising ligaments of the wrist.


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a pain syndrome that is not fully understood. It can be brought on after an injury such as a broken wrist, or surgery. It is believed to be the result of imbalance and dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems.


This procedure involves inserting a small telescope (arthroscope) with an in-built light source and a camera into the wrist joint via a very small incision (keyhole surgery).This allows the surgeon to view the inside of the joint.


The scaphoid bone is one of the eight small bones of the wrist. It is the most commonly fractured wrist bone. The scaphoid bone has a very limited blood supply. Most fractures of the scaphoid will heal (unite) without problem following a period of immobilisation. When the fracture does not heal, we refer to this as a non-union.

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