What Are Common Symptoms of Arthritis?

Arthritis is not a disease in and of itself; rather, it’s a term that refers to pain and disease of the joints. It’s a condition that can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or race, and it’s the leading cause of disability in America today. Currently, there are over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions that have been documented, though two of the most commonly known types are Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. Although arthritis cannot be cured, the pain can be managed and damage can be mitigated to ensure good quality of life. With its prevalence increasing as people grow older, it’s important to recognize common symptoms of arthritis. Note that you should speak with a doctor or other licensed health care professional if you have specific questions or concerns.

Caused by the degeneration of cartilage between bones, Osteoarthritis is the type that is most commonly associated with aging or injury. It can affect any joint, though the hand, wrist, neck, back, knee, and hip joints are most commonly affected. Symptoms can vary from patient to patient, but often include joint pain that worsens with repetitive use, joint stiffness after periods of inactivity, creaking in the joints, and feeling warmth or swelling in the joints. In severe cases, cartilage loss can lead to pain even at rest or with limited movements.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks the normal tissues of the joints. This causes inflammation of the joints, which can eventually lead to permanent damage. Symptoms of RA may include pain, swelling, stiffness, and redness and warmth of the affected joints. Systemic symptoms may also occur, which may mimic a case of the flu and include muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Also, the lungs and heart may be affected, which can cause severe pain and inflammation. In rare cases, RA may also affect the voice box and eyes, causing hoarseness and dry eyes.If you suffer from Arthritis, don’t let it affect the quality of your life. The experts at Michigan Hand and Wrist are here to help you explore your options for fixing the condition, including working with an orthopedic surgeon to help you return back to normal. Contact us today!

What Are the Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Disease?

Dupuytren’s disease is a condition caused by a thickening of the connective tissue between your fingers and the palm of your hand, causing a tightening and contraction of one or more of the fingers of your hand toward your palm. It is named after Guillaume Dupuytren, a surgeon who described the condition in 1831. It tends to afflict people after the age of 40, though it is not limited to such people. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be experiencing Dupuytren’s disease.

Initial Symptoms

The first symptom for many patients is the appearance of a lump or lumps under the skin on the palm of the hand. These lumps may feel mildly sore at first, though this tends to go away after time. As the condition progresses, the skin may begin to tighten, curling one or more fingers inward toward the palm.

Advanced Symptoms

As the condition continues to worsen, it may become more and more difficult to straighten the fingers, perhaps even reaching the point where straightening them is impossible. You might find it difficult to pick up objects or to place your hands in your pockets to retrieve things. Generally, the disease will affect the ring and pinky fingers, though in some cases the middle and index fingers might also be affected.

Causes and Treatment

No one knows exactly what causes the condition, but it seems to have a higher incidence among those who drink large amounts of alcohol, those who use tobacco, and those who have diabetes. Often hand surgery is the best course of action for those with serious conditions.

If you suffer from Dupuytren’s disease, don’t let it affect the quality of your life. The experts at Michigan Hand and Wrist are here to help you explore your options for fixing the condition, including working with an orthopedic surgeon to return your hand to normal. Contact us today to learn how we can help!

What is Carpal Tunnel?

We rely on our hands for so many things; hen something goes wrong with just one of your hands, the results can make life really difficult, which is why carpal tunnel syndrome is such a frustrating condition.

So in actuality, what is carpal tunnel?

The Median Nerve 

Your hand relies on several nerves running through it in order to work properly. One of the most important of these nerves is the median nerve, which runs through the wrist and into the hand. This particular nerve controls the movement and the feeling in your thumb and the first three fingers of your hand. When something goes wrong with it, you may find that that you are unable to use your thumb and three of four fingers on your hand properly. You may also feel pain and tingling when using your hand and fingers. 

The Carpal Tunnel 

The carpal tunnel is a very small area on your wrist that the median nerve passes through on the way to your hand. As the median nerve and other nerves pass through this narrow space, they can get damaged and cause problems to most of your hand. The space can also shrink due to inflammation or other health problems, and put pressure on these nerves; this is why the problem is called carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Signs and Symptoms 

Pressure on the carpal tunnel area of your wrist can cause this syndrome. You may feel occasional pain and tingling in your hands, particularly in your thumb and first three fingers. The pain and tingling may even last for much of the day if the syndrome is really severe. You may feel weakness in the area that is much worse at night. 

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by many conditions, including temporary conditions such as pregnancy and chronic problems such as arthritis. If you have to do the same movements over and over again for a long time like typing all day, this can also aggravate any underlying inflammation of the area and make it worse. 

If you are in the West Bloomfield area and you are in need of an orthopedic surgeon to give you a proper assessment and consultation, contact our experts at Michigan Hand and Wrist today.

5 Ways to Help Prevent Arthritis

While it may not be possible to completely get rid of your risk of developing arthritis, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk and delay the onset. Arthritis happens when cartilage wears away, causing your bones to rub against and damage each other, which is why you feel pain. There are some tips you can follow that may help arthritis from developing, which include:

1. Maintain a healthy body weight

Excess weight puts extra strains on your joints and cartilage, causing it to wear away sooner. To reduce your body weight, clean up your diet and start exercising if you aren’t already. Try to stick to lower impact exercises, especially if your joints are already painful.

2. Avoid high impact exercise

Avoid exercises such as running, plyometrics, and contact sports. Instead, try biking, walking, swimming, or low impact options on exercise videos to protect your joints. Sticking to low impact exercises can also help you prevent major injuries such as a ligament tear, which can contribute to arthritis.

3. Check your vitamin D

Have your doctor check your levels, and if they are low, consider taking a vitamin or increasing your natural sources of vitamin D. Some natural sources include fatty fish, dairy, and even natural sunlight.

4. Stay hydrated

Cartilage is comprised mostly of water. Dehydrated cartilage is more susceptible to injury, wear, and tear. Staying hydrated can also help you maintain a healthy weight.

5. Consider your technique

Whether you’re carrying heavy boxes or working out, make sure you’re always using the proper technique so you are not putting unneeded stress on your joints. Some good rules of thumb are to always lift with your legs and carry heavy objects close to your body.

Following these tips to reduce your risk of developing arthritis can go a long way. Not only will they make your joints happy, but they will probably make you happier as well. 

If you are having severe problems with arthritis, you need to consult with an orthopedic doctor or orthopedic surgeon to see what other options are available for you. For professional help, contact the team at Michigan Hand and Wrist today.

Tendonitis Causes & Symptoms

Tendinitis is a common problem typified by the swelling of overused tendons or the joints that they are connected to. It is caused most commonly by repetitive actions, often in combination with poor posture. The best remedy for this condition is rest from the activity that caused it. However, for those who are required to perform the causal action for work, taking a rest from the offending activity can be very difficult. Too often, taking one vacation is insufficient for the tendinitis to subside.

Activities that cause this condition vary widely. The most common include:

  • Typing
  • Painting
  • Housework
  • Gardening
  • Sports

Other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can make a person more susceptible to developing tendinitis. It occurs most frequently in parts of the body with joints that have tendons that run through the joint and which must bend during normal use.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the affected area
  • Stiffness and discomfort
  • Limited strength in the affected area

To avoid developing tendinitis, know if you are genetically predisposed to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis that make it more likely to develop. Also, if you perform any repetitive activity for work that puts strain on your joints you should be aware if the risk. Taking all possible precautions with your posture and maximizing your sleep time are good ways to prevent tendinitis from developing. Certain dietary supplements can reduce swelling and are useful for treating the symptoms of tendinitis.

Advanced cases of tendinitis require medical attention, and in the worst cases, surgery may be the only option. Those who experience the condition despite taking precautions should seriously consider no longer engaging in the activity that caused it.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of tendinitis, you should consult your physician to discuss treatment options before it becomes more difficult to manage.

If you suffer from the above and would like to speak to an orthopedic surgeon, contact Michigan Hand and Wrist today.

What Are The Most Common Wrist Injuries?

Repetitive motions and everyday activities can easily lead to injuries of the wrist. It is important to understand the most common of these injuries so you know when it’s time to consult a doctor.

Sprains and Strains

If you experience pain, bruising and the inability to move your wrist, you may have a stretched or torn ligament. This is called a sprain, and it is caused by things such as falling or getting hit. A stretched or torn tendon or muscle in your wrist is a strain, which might happen over the course of time or develop suddenly. Many wrist strains and sprains can be treated at home with ice, rest and compression bands. More serious cases may require physical therapy.

Broken Bones

Broken wrists account for 10 percent of broken bones in the United States. The term “broken wrist” usually applies to a fracture of the radius in the forearm that occurs at the lower, or distal, end near where it connect to the hand bones on the thumb side. Broken wrists are usually caused by falling with outstretched arms or getting hit very hard. Symptoms of a broken wrist include severe pain, swelling, tenderness, and a deformity that makes it appear bent. People who suspect they have a broken wrist should consult a doctor immediately so treatment can begin.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The eight bones of the wrist are called carpals, and the tube that runs through them is called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel contains nerves and tendons, and when those tendons swell or become irritated it narrows the canal and puts pressure on the nerves that causes them to compress. This causes numbness, and as it worsens people may have trouble grasping things. Treatments include rest, splints and medications for pain and to reduce inflammation. Severe cases require surgery in order for people to regain normal wrist movement.

If you or someone you know needs more information on wrist injuries or needs wrist surgery, contact the team at Michigan Hand and Wrist today for help. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatments: Surgical and Nonsurgical

A person develops Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when there is a compression of the nerve which travels over the carpal bones near the wrist. Repetitive movement is a significant factor in the development of a carpal tunnel. This condition of the hand and wrist causes pain, tingling, numbness, and a burning sensation. Pain in hand often wakes a person from a sound sleep.

The goal of treatment for carpal tunnel is to restore normal function of the hand and wrist and alleviate pain issues. There are no risks when the person decides to use natural healing options to eliminate carpal tunnel pain.

Natural Pain Relief

  • Chiropractic care
  • Using a wrist splint
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Avoid repetitious movements of the affected hand
  • Ultrasound
  • Hand and wrist exercises such as stretching and rang-of-motion
  • NSAIDS to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Elevate your hand and wrist as much as possible
  • Pain relieving ointment
  • Keep your hand and wrist warm
  • Injections into the hand or wrist

Surgical Options

The doctor considers surgical options for carpal tunnel if all other natural options fail. Doctors now believe a surgical option a last resort for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Surgery decreases the healing time; the carpal tunnel may return; there is a risk of nerve damage, the need for painkillers, and the risk of infection at the incision site.

Endoscopic Surgery

If the doctor opts for an endoscopic surgical procedure, there will be no open incision into the palm. Less area of the hand is disturbed. Some people notice immediate relief of their pain and numbness. Pain relief for others may come in the following weeks or months.

You can expect a shorter recovery period after endoscopic surgery. Thus the person may return to work sooner than after open surgery because the procedure does not require cutting the palm open and disturbing a large area of the hand.

Open Surgery

Open surgery is where the doctor makes an incision across the palm. This procedure requires the person be off from work up to eight weeks.

Both types of surgery can include injury to nerves, tendons, and blood vessels, the risk of infection, anesthesia risk, and prescribed painkiller side effects.

If you’re considering hand or wrist surgery and are looking to speak with an orthopedic surgeon, contact Michigan Hand and Wrist today. 

What Causes Arthritis In Your Hands?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, however, there are many types of arthritis. Each type has different causes and treatments. According to the Mayo Clinic, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common types. Both can cause pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness in the hands.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type. There are a number of risk factors for this type of arthritis. They include:

  • Traumatic injury such as a broken bone
  • Heavy usage such as repetitive motion
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Obesity
  • Aging

With osteoarthritis, the protective cushioning between the joints wears out. Bones rubbing directly against other bones can result in structural changes. Bone spurs are one example. Another example is the formation of bumps called Heberden’s nodes at the joint of the finger closest to the nail. Depending on the severity, treatments such as bone splinting may become necessary to correct deformities and prevent further deterioration.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Scientists are less certain about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis but believe that like osteoarthritis, genetic predisposition can be a contributing factor. Other causal factors may include:

  • A triggering event such as an infection
  • Hormonal imbalance

Rheumatoid arthritis differs from osteoarthritis in that it is a type of auto-immune disease. It affects the membrane that surrounds, lubricates, and protects the body’s synovial joints. Synovial fluid produced in the membrane contains hyaluronic acid, albumin, and phagocytic cells that cleanse the joint of debris. The body’s immune system mistakes the synovial membrane as a foreign invader and attacks it. That attack causes inflammation resulting in pain, limited movement, and eventual erosion of the joint.

While there is no cure for either type of arthritis, experts advise regular exercise to maintain joint flexibility. There are specific hand exercises recommended for retaining finger joint strength and dexterity. Some types of hand exercises, such as squeezing a ball, can put too much pressure on joints and should be avoided.

If you’re looking for a skilled orthopedic surgeon, contact Michigan Hand and Wrist today!

What Are The Most Common Hand Injuries?

The human hand is extraordinary in design and function. The hand and the wrist contain a total of 27 bones in various sizes and lengths. Around the bones exists an assortment of nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint cartilage. Damage to any of these structures can cause various types of common hand injuries.

Carpal Tunnel

Caused by a pinching of the median nerve, carpal tunnel is more common amongst woman than men. Potential causes include:

  • Inflammation from arthritis.
  • Nerve damage from diabetes.
  • Repetitive flexing of the wrist.
  • Operation of vibrating tools.

Direct Blow or Impact

This acute injury commonly occurs from a fall, an abnormal bend, twist, or jerking of the hand. Common injuries include:

  • Skier’s thumb or UCL tear. Also known as a ligament injury.
  • Mallet or baseball finger. This is a bent fingertip caused by a ruptured tendon.
  • Sprains. This injury involves damage to the ligaments attached to the bone. Common injuries can range from a stretch in the ligament to a complete tear.
  • Compartment syndrome. This painful condition is when swelling takes place in an enclosed area. This puts pressure on the arteries, veins, and nerves which may cause permanent damage.
  • Broken bones. This includes fractures which can range from a hairline crack to being broken into two.
  • Dislocations. This common injury occurs often amongst athletes and hard physical labor occupations.

Burns

Various burns to the hand can often cause deformity, discoloration, loss of tissue, and blistering. Burns are often caused by:

  • Contact or proximity to a direct flame.
  • Hot liquids such as cooking oil and water.
  • Food burns.
  • Contact with a heated surface.

These common hand injuries can often cause short to long term and permanent damage. If any of these injuries occur, a medical evaluation is recommended. If you need an orthopedic surgeon for your hand injury, contact the team at Michigan Hand and Wrist to get help today. 

What Is Carpal Tunnel Pain Caused From?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve compression disease in which someone will experience numbness, tingling, and even some pain in their hand or arm. In some more severe situations, it can make using the hand very uncomfortable and challenging. Ultimately, a pinched nerve located in the wrist causes carpal tunnel syndrome. There are several different common tasks that can often lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Keyboard Typing

One risk factor that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome is poor positioning of your hands while you are working with a computer. If you commonly use a keyboard or computer mouse, if you do not position your hand in the correct position, it could lead to a pinched nerve. To ensure that using the keyboard or mouse does not cause carpal tunnel, it would be beneficial to take breaks from typing every hour and to position your hands in a way that ensures your wrists and hands are supported. This will help to relieve stress and encourage better blood flow.

Construction Jobs

While some people develop carpal tunnel due to their work environment in an office, others can develop the symptoms if they work in a construction or other labor-intensive job. Those that use hand tools or other power tools will be exposed to prolonged vibrations from the machinery. These vibrations can cause undue stress on your wrists and hands. These can then result in a pinched nerve and the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

Health Risk Factors

While there are physical jobs that can result in carpal tunnel syndrome, there are other risk factors that can result in it as well. Those with a range of risk factors will be more likely to develop the symptoms. These risk factors typically include those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or even thyroid dysfunction. Furthermore, those that are dealing with obesity and other related health concerns will be more susceptible to getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you’re looking for a reliable orthopedic surgeon, contact the team at Michigan Hand and Wrist today.