The Wrist and Hand

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At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we have specialized in the non-surgical treatment of orthopedic pain and injury since 1999. As of 2015, we have performed over 60,000 regenerative procedures, on everyone from top professional football players to elderly patients hoping to avoid joint replacement, to the active middle age person who may have already had a failed surgery for a meniscus or rotator cuff tear. We take a holistic approach to orthopedics and look not only at the injured joint, but at where the problem originates. Whether the injury occurred in the knee, hip, back, neck, or ankle, we look at the entire body and often find problems such as a tilt in the pelvis, an abnormal gait, or a spinal misalignment. By treating the root cause of the problem, rather than the symptoms, our patients generally excellent clinical outcomes without the side effects.

Common Causes of Wrist and Hand Pain

There can be many different causes of wrist and/or hand pain; repetitive stress, muscle tension, strained or torn ligaments or tendons, injury, or more. Some of the most common injuries and conditions include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Tear
  • Scapholunate ligament injury
  • trigger finger
  • De Quervain’s

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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition of the hand in which the median nerve is being compressed where is lies over the carpal bones and runs through the front of the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a small space in the wrist through which the median nerve and several of the tendons pass, before connecting to the fingers. The median nerve provides feeling and controls movement to the thumb and first three fingers.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome results from pressure being exerted on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel. Anything that compresses the carpal tunnel, and therefore squeezes the median nerve can cause symptoms.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Generally, symptoms run along the path of the median nerve. There are several other conditions that mimic the symptoms of carpal tunnel, such as MCL sprains of the elbow and biceps, tendinitis and facet arthropathy of the neck. In these cases, the numbness of the hand is caused by referred pain or nerve compression higher up the arm or neck.

  • Numbness, tingling in the thumb and first three fingers (not the pinky finger)
  • Pain in the thumb and first three fingers
  • A burning or painful sensation that travels up the arm
  • Wrist pain
What is the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC)?

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is cartilage that extends from the base of the pinky finger across the wrist. It provides cushioning and support for the carpal bones in the wrist. When grasping with the hand or rotating the forearm, the TFCC keeps the radius and ulna (forearm bones) stable. A TFCC tear or injury is common among athletes, especially those who use a racket or bat and those who put a lot of pressure on the wrist, such as gymnasts.

How does the triangular fibrocartilage complex become damaged or torn?

There are two types of TFCC injuries- acute and chronic. A sudden trauma to the area, such as a falling onto an outstretched hand, can result in an acute injury. Chronic tears are the result of degeneration that wears the TFCC down over time. This degeneration can be caused by overuse or improper body mechanics.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain starting at the base of the pinky finger and extending down to the wrist
  • Swelling of the wrist
  • Painful clicking sensation in the wrist
  • Increased pain when wrist is bent from side to side or when gripping with hand
  • Lessened strength of grip
What is a scapholunate ligament?

The wrist is a complex joint that is composed of the ends of the forearm bones (the ulna and radius) and the 8 carpal bones, which are all connected with ligaments. In actuality, it is a collection of small joints.

The scaphoid (one of the eight carpal bones) is located on the thumb side of the wrist. Next to this, in the center of the wrist is the lunate (another carpal bone). The scapholunate ligament (SL ligament) connects these two carpal bones together.

The SL ligament keeps the scaphoid and the lunate moving in unison and ensures a smooth rotation of the wrist. Out of all of the ligaments in the wrist, the scapholunate is the most commonly injured.

How is the scapholunate ligament injured?

An SL ligament injury can range from sprains or partial tears all the way to full tears accompanied by scaphoid fractures or other torn ligaments. Most often, the SL ligament is injured by trauma or an accident. Falling onto the wrist or sudden weight-bearing pressure can tear the ligament and separate the scaphoid from the lunate. It is a common injury among athletes who use rackets or bats.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain or swelling in the wrist
  • Reduced gripping strength
  • Instability of the wrist
What is trigger finger?

Stenosing tenosynovitis, also known as trigger finger, is a condition in which the tendons in a finger or the thumb (trigger thumb) become inflamed causing the fingers to be locked in the bent position. When attempting to straighten the finger, it may extend with a snap, as when a trigger is pulled and released.

Tendons, which connect the muscle to the bone, are tough bands of tissue covered with a sheath. When the tendon becomes inflamed, it can no longer glide easily through the sheath. Bending the finger forces the tendon through the too-narrow sheath, and causes a snap or pop.

What causes trigger finger?

Trigger finger is most commonly caused by a repetitive bending motion of the fingers or thumb. Grasping something strongly for extended periods (such as a power tool or drum stick) can also cause the condition, making it common among industrial workers and musicians. Certain health conditions can also cause trigger finger, such as diabetesrheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

What are the symptoms?

  • Tenderness or soreness at the base of the affected finger
  • Stiffness in the affected finger
  • Popping of clicking sensation when bending or straightening affected finger
  • Finger locking in the bent position
  • A bump at the base of the affected finger
What is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis? 

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition which causes inflammation of the tendons of the wrist, on the thumb side. The affected tendons are the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus which are responsible for extending and abducting the thumb.

What causes De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

While the exact cause of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is unknown, it is believed that it can be brought on by an injury such as a strain or certain inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is more common among women than men and often occurs following a pregnancy. It has been shown that repetitive hand or wrist motion, such as gardening or using a computer or power tools, can worsen the condition.

What are they symptoms?

  • Tenderness or soreness at the base of the affected finger
  • Stiffness in the affected finger
  • Popping of clicking sensation when bending or straightening affected finger
  • Finger locking in the bent position
  • A bump at the base of the affected finger

Treatment will vary, depending on the condition or injury causing the pain. Generally, traditional western medicine will treat wrist and/or hand pain with medication—typically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—physical therapy and possibly surgery. NSAIDs have powerful side effects and can cause secondary issues, such as stomach problems, including bleeding and ulcer, abdominal pain, fluid retention, kidney problems, heart problems, rashes and more. In fact, NSAIDs have recently been found to be more dangerous than previously thought. The FDA is now strengthening their warning that even the over-the-counter strengths can cause heart attacks or strokes. This course of treatment puts patients on a fast track to ever increasing doses of an ever increasing potency anti-inflammatories and pain-killers. These treatments have been shown in countless studies to accelerate arthritis and increase the need for total joint

When wrist and/or hand pain (or any joint pain) is treated with a pain killer or anti-inflammatory drug, the patient may feel some relief, because the symptoms are being suppressed. This is not a solution, however, because it is not fixing the cause of the pain. Inflammation is not the cause of the pain, it is the body’s natural response to injury and the trigger for it to begin the healing process. By suppressing the inflammation, these drugs are preventing the body from healing itself. Painkillers are simply numbing the pain that results from the injury. If the injury is not treated, it may never properly heal and can even get worse as time goes on. Many of our patients have been on ascending does of pain medication for years, with no end in sight.

At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we treat wrist and hand pain holistically–by learning where the problem originated and working to heal it. We look at the entire area, including the surrounding joints and tissue, to learn of all possible contributing factors. Through treatments such as prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy, we accelerate and enhance the body’s natural healing process. We see many patients who have already been through the gamut of traditional medicine and have not found relief. Many people who have had no success with treatments such as surgery, nerve block, epidurals and steroid injections, trigger point injections, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture and more, find relief for the first time after receiving treatment at the Magaziner Center. With no side effects, downtime or surgery, we have gotten patients off of medication, helped them to avoid surgery and gotten them back to their lives.

*The treatment that we will recommend depends on the type and severity of the injury or condition. Call 856-424-8222 or email to schedule a consultation and learn about the options that are right for you.