Some of the most common hand and wrist problems include:
Arthritis: Involves inflammation of one or more joints and occurs when the cartilage of a joint surface is injured. Arthritis can cause pain, swelling and loss of motion over time. The hand and wrist have multiple small joints that work together to produce motion, including the fine motion needed to thread a needle or tie a shoelace. When the joints are affected by arthritis, activities of daily living can be difficult. Arthritis can occur in many areas of the hand and wrist as well as the elbow, and can have more than one cause. Over time, if the arthritis is not treated, the bones that make up the joint can lose their normal shape. This causes more pain and further limits motion.
Bursitis (Elbow): Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that is found where tendons pass by bony surfaces.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by numbness or pain in the thumb and first two fingers. It is a common problem for people who use their hands for extended periods of time, such as workers in textile manufacturing, upholstering, assembly line, and in clerical keyboard work. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed at the wrist.
Dislocation of Joints: This occurs when one of the two bones that make up a joint separates from the other bone.
Elbow Tendonitis: Inflammation or pain along a tendon. Tendons are the structures that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons in the elbow that can experience tendonitis are the biceps and triceps tendon, as well as other tendons in tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.
Fractures: A bone fracture, or break, occurs when the force applied against a bone is stronger than the bone. The bones of the hands and wrists are very small in comparison to the bones of other joints, such as the hips, knees, and shoulders, and a fracture may be caused by a severe strain of a ligament or muscle. Crushing injuries to the hand or wrist also may cause fractures. Older adults are at higher risk of fractures since they lose muscle mass and bone strength as they age.
Nerve Problems (Elbow): Nerve issues occur when nerves around the elbow are inflamed or compressed. This can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the forearm or hand.
Sprains and Strains: A sprain is a torn or stretched ligament. A strain is a torn or stretched tendon, which are the tissues that connect muscle to bone. They occur as a result of excessive stress applied during a stretching, twisting, or thrusting action. Sprains and strains can be caused by sports activity or other repeated activity, a sudden twist, or an accidental fall.
Trigger Finger: An inflammation of the tendon of one or more fingers. If you have the condition, it is usually difficult to extend or straighten the affected finger. Occasionally, when trying to open or extend the finger, it will pop or “trigger” into a straight position.
Wrist Ganglion: A small cyst filled with synovial fluid from around the joint. These cysts can usually be seen at the back of the wrist. They are usually painless, but excessive use of the hand or pressure to the ganglion may cause discomfort.
Hand and Wrist Disorders: There is a wide range of hand and wrist disorders that may be the result of injury, genetic predisposition, overuse, or other medical conditions. These include:
- Compartment Syndrome
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome of the Wrist
- deQuervain’s Tendinitis
- Kienböck’s Disease
- Boutonnière Deformity