Hand & elbow

Introduction

Our hands, wrists and elbows are vital for our day-to-day life. We use them for personal care, work, sports and so much more. Experiencing pain or loss of mobility in your hand, wrist or elbow can make everyday life a real challenge. Prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment is important to ensure a quick and effective recovery.

During your consultation, our specialist hand and elbow consultants  will discuss your concern and appropriate treatment with you. 

Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

What does a hand specialist do?

A hand specialist is an orthopedic doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders in the hand, wrist, and forearm. They have a profound understanding of the complex networks of blood vessels, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones that make up the hand and fingers. 

  Reasons to see a hand, wrist and elbow specialist

Some hand conditions and injuries are short-term and will go away if you rest, but some need the help of a specialist. 

You may choose, or be referred on, to see a hand, wrist and elbow specialist if you experience: 

  • An injury to your hand, wrist or elbow 
  • Ongoing pain or stiffness 
  • Pain or discomfort, even while resting 
  • Reduced range of motion in the hand, wrist, fingers or elbow 
  • Weak grip 
  • Pain extending to the elbow 
  • Pain, redness, or swelling that worsens with activity 
  • Tingling or numbness 
  • Loss of muscle tone 
  • Everyday activities cause pain or discomfort 
  • Your symptoms don’t improve with rest. 

Common hand, wrist and elbow conditions

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on a nerve in your wrist, and it can be very painful.  

The carpal tunnel is an opening in your wrist that is formed by the carpal bones on the bottom of the wrist, and a ligament called the ‘transverse carpal ligament’ across the top of the wrist. The median nerve provides sensory and motor functions to the thumb and 3 middle fingers.  

There are many reasons why this may happen, and it can be challenging to identify one specific reason. In many cases, there will be multiple factors at play. 

Trigger finger

Trigger finger happens when your finger becomes locked in a bent position, and you cannot straighten it. It can cause pain and discomfort – limiting the capabilities of your hand.  

Trigger finger can happen if a tendon or the area around a tendon in your hand becomes inflamed and swollen. It can also be caused by a repeated movement or forceful use of your finger or thumb. 

Repetitive strain injury (RSI)

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a condition involving aches and pain in your body caused by repetitive movements or poor posture while doing certain activities. It is sometimes called ‘occupational overuse injury’ and ‘overuse syndrome.’ RSI typically affects your wrists and hands.  

RSI can be caused by a wide range of activities and from tasks you do in your job. For example, if you use a computer regularly or have a job involving repetitive movements. RSI can also be linked with leisure activities including painting or sports. 

 If you think you have RSI, it’s important not to ignore it and to seek advice from your doctor. RSI can have an underlying cause such as carpal tunnel syndrome which could be treated to alleviate your symptoms. 

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, and commonly affects the hands, thumb and wrist. It is most common in people in their mid-forties or older, and is more common in women and people with a family history of arthritis. However,  it can occur at any age as a result of an injury or be associated with other joint-related conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis or gout. 

Common hand, wrist and elbow treatments

Carpal tunnel release surgery

You don’t always need treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. For some people, the symptoms improve on their own within a few months. But, this is more likely if you’re under 30, and especially if your symptoms are due to pregnancy. If you are living with arthritis, treating it may help your carpal tunnel symptoms.  

If your symptoms are severe or other treatments did not work for you, surgery may be recommended. Carpal tunnel surgery, also known as a ‘carpal tunnel release’ is usually carried out as a day case, under local anaesthesia. This will relieve pressure on your median nerve. It’s generally very effective and has a high success rate. 

Trigger finger release surgery

If you experience a trigger finger, your doctor may first recommend wearing a splint to prevent your finger from moving. Alternatively, steroid injections may be offered as a treatment to reduce swelling and improve mobility of your finger.   

However, if this does not work, your doctor may recommend trigger finger release surgery. 

Thumb arthritis surgery (trapeziectomy)

If you experience arthritis in the bottom of your thumb, your doctor may recommend a trapeziectomy. This surgery involves removing a small bone called the trapezium. This is situated at the base of the thumb. This provides more space for the thumb to move so that the arthritic bone surfaces are not rubbing together causing pain. This surgery may happen alongside a basal thumb joint replacement with a synthetic cartilage implant. 

Our consultants

Mr Duncan Avis
Mr Duncan Avis
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBChB, MSc, FRCS (Trauma & Orth)
Mr Sunil Garg
Mr Sunil Garg
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
FRCS (Tr & Orth), MCh Dip Orth (Tr & Orth), MRCS (Surgery in General)
Mr Emmet Griffiths
Mr Emmet Griffiths
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS, BSc, MSc, FRCS (Tr+Orth)
Mr Alistair Phillips
Mr Alistair Phillips
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Mr Peter Tomlinson
Mr Peter Tomlinson
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBChB MRCS FRCS

Ways to pay

Paying for yourself

Healthshare provides access to the highest quality care giving you the opportunity to access the very best treatment, facilities and consultants. Healthcare the way you want it, when you need it.

Spread the cost

A fixed term loan, provided by our partners Chrysalis Finance, will allow you to spread the cost of treatment and allow you to pay in monthly instalments over a time period to suit you.

Medical insurance

If you have private medical insurance you can get referred to a Healthshare Clinic for the very best treatment. Contact your insurance provider to pre-authorise your treatment today.

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