Hands are made of many delicate bones, joints, muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and skin, all working together in a delicate balance. If any of these elements are injured or diseased, use of the hand can be impaired. Whether the impairment is to sensation or movement, hand issues can limit your activities and affect your quality of life. That’s why it makes sense to see a hand specialist if you have pain or mobility issues in your fingers, hand, wrist or lower arm.
What is a Hand Specialist?
Hand specialists are surgeons who specialize in conditions that affect the hand, wrist, forearms, or elbow. A hand specialist’s background may be as an orthopedic or plastic surgeon. He or she then receives additional specialized training focusing on the wrists and hands and must pass a Board Certification examination. Despite the term "surgery" in "hand surgery," it’s important to understand that most hand conditions can be treated without surgery; only around 10% of cases need surgery. Depending on your injury, impairment, or discomfort, a hand specialist may recommend a medication, splints, rest, hand therapy, or injections.
Common Conditions Treated by a Hand Surgeon
Our surgeons routinely treat the following conditions:
- Fractures of the hand, wrist, or elbow
- Joint replacement of the wrist or finger joints
- Arthritis of the thumb
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hand or nail deformities
- Trigger finger
- Bumps and lumps in the hand
- Hand, wrist, or elbow pain
- Infections of the hand
- Dequervain's (a form of tendonitis of the hand)
- Tendon, nerve, and artery injuries of the hand
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- Lateral and medial epicondylitis (tennis/golfer’s elbow)
About Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Surgery at Marin General Hospital
Our hand surgeons care for a broad range of patients, ranging from laborers with repetitive motion injuries, to arthritic seniors, to new mothers with “mommy’s wrist”, to youngsters with sports injuries. Learn more about when you should consider being seen for carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, by watching the below videos: