Hand, Wrist and Elbow Center
When everyday activities become too difficult to perform because of debilitating hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder pain, patients turn to the Hand, Wrist and Elbow Center at Orthopaedic Specialists, PC. The center offers arthroscopic and endoscopic techniques and alternatives to large open procedures. Our fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons provide a number of minimally invasive treatment options to minimize your pain and help you feel more like yourself again. Minimally invasive procedures are performed through small portals, eliminating the need for large incisions and resulting in little to no scarring.
Common Conditions of the Upper Extremity
The upper extremity, which includes the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, and hand, is very complex with numerous small bones, nerves, ligaments, and tendons, which make the risk for injury very high. Common causes of upper extremity pain and discomfort include carpal tunnel syndrome (tingling from pressure on the median nerve in the wrist), cubital tunnel syndrome (tingling from pressure on the ulnar nerve in the elbow), arthritis, trigger finger, and other injuries due to overuse and/or trauma such as tendonitis and bone fractures. Descriptions of some of the most common conditions of the upper extremity that Dr. Megan Crosmer regularly diagnoses and treats are listed below.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the most common disorders that affects the hands and wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the median nerve, which goes through the wrist, becomes pinched or compressed. This can cause numbness and discomfort, leading eventually to mobility issues. The latest techniques make it possible to reduce discomfort and restore mobility.
Micro-Invasive Carpal Tunnel Release
This minimally invasive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome requires a tiny incision the size of the top of a pencil eraser, expediting the healing process and reducing scarring.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Affecting the elbow, cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve becomes pinched. This can lead to a wide range of debilitating symptoms, including numbness, pain, weakness, and other concerns. Modern treatment options make it possible to relieve pressure and make movement comfortable again.
Arthritis in the Hands and Fingers
Wear and tear on the joints in the hands and fingers can lead to arthritis, which causes pain, mobility issues, and stiffness. Our advanced treatments can help alleviate discomfort and restore function.
Thumb Carpometacarpal (CMC) Arthritis
Whether due to an injury, disease, or natural process of aging, thumb CMC arthritis can lead to significant discomfort. This condition affects the base of the thumb closest to the palm and may make grabbing and pinching difficult and painful. Our skilled medical professionals can help.
Non-surgical treatments are often effective in treating trigger finger, which is caused by a tight ligament. When the problem becomes severe, the finger can become perpetually in a bent position, and the patient may have difficulty straightening the finger or may not be able to unfold it at all.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a genetically inherited disorder that causes tissue thickening within the hand. Over time the fingers, most commonly pinky and ring, will curl in towards the palm. As a result, functionality is reduced and the grip weakens. Non-surgical treatment is usually not effective.
Fractures that Result in a Non-Union
If a broken bone does not heal properly, it can result in a non or malunion. This occurs when the fracture does not line up perfectly the way it did before the break, which can cause long-term issues like pain and dysfunction. Surgical and non-surgical treatments are available, and the right one for you will depend on the nature of your condition.
Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylosis)
Caused by an injured tendon where the forearm meets the outside (lateral) elbow, tennis elbow is a common concern that can lead to lasting discomfort and damage without treatment. If rest alone is ineffective to address the issue, our innovative techniques can restore movement and comfort.
Our Hand and Upper Extremity Team
Dr. Megan Crosmer, Director of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery
Orthopaedic Specialist’s hand, wrist, and upper extremity specialist, Dr. Megan Crosmer, strives to offer the highest quality of care by staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in orthopaedic surgery. In order to do so, she routinely attends, presents, and teaches new technologies and minimally invasive procedures to other surgeons at conferences around the world.
About Minimally Invasive Arthroscopic Surgery
“Arthro-” means joint and “-scope” means look at carefully. An arthroscope is a small (pencil-sized or smaller) surgical tool equipped with a tiny video camera and light. The arthroscope is inserted through a small incision into the joint. Joints commonly viewed and treated arthroscopically by Dr. Crosmer include the thumb and finger joints, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Once the arthroscope is inserted, detailed images of the joint are shown on a video monitor. Your surgical team watches the surgery on a video screen, which provides detailed, enlarged and perfectly lighted views of your joint. Although additional incisions may be necessary, this minimally invasive surgical technique results in less tissue damage and typically allows for faster recovery. Dr. Crosmer is an expert in arthroscopic and endoscopic surgery and teaches surgeons around the world to perform minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Orthopaedic Specialists’ occupational therapists are specifically trained to rehabilitate patients with hand and upper extremity disorders. You will receive a fully tailored therapy plan to help maximize the results of your recovery period following surgery.
Bracing: Splints and Orthotics
Our occupational therapists commonly use custom splints or orthotics for treatment of upper extremity conditions. This type of treatment prevents unwanted movement to allow proper healing, reduce pain, and support a weak joint. Limiting the range of motion relieves stress on the affected area. A splint is a temporary aid commonly used following an injury or surgery and an orthosis is typically designed for long-term use such as for thumb (carpometacarpal (CMC)) arthritis, tennis elbow or wrist arthritis. Depending on the problem, you may require either a soft or rigid orthotic support.
For more information about your hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder treatment options, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Crosmer today by calling (563) 344-9292