The wrist is a complicated joint made up of eight small bones, along with ligaments, tendons and other tissues that can become damaged as a result of degeneration, trauma, disease and other factors.
Wrist surgery involves intricate technique to provide pain relief and correction within a confined space. The DeClaire LaMacchia Orthopaedic Institute’s surgical precision ensures that patients receive effective care for even the most complex conditions.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition involving numbness, pain, tingling and instability in the wrist, hand and fingers. It occurs when pressure is put on a nerve in the wrist called the median nerve, which controls motor function in the wrist and hand. This pressure, called impingement, is most often caused by bone spurs, rheumatoid arthritis, repetitive use or injury.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be diagnosed with tests such as an electromyogram or a nerve conduction study. It can often be effectively treated with nonsurgical therapies such as wrist splints, anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. In cases where pain and numbness persist, surgery (usually endoscopic surgery) may be necessary to relieve pressure on the nerve.
A stress fracture is a common injury that involves a small crack in the bone as a result of overuse. This injury most frequently occurs in athletes such as runners and basketball players, as well as those who play tennis, gymnastics and dance.
Patients who experience a stress fracture often experience pain that gradually worsens with physical activity, swelling, tenderness and possible bruising. This type of injury may occur from doing too much too fast, improper technique, improper equipment or bone weak structure.
The ideal treatment for a stress fracture depends on the location and severity of the condition, but may include resting the foot, wearing protective footwear and applying a cast to immobilize the foot. Surgery may be required for severe stress fractures to restore the bones through a process called internal fixation. This may include the use of metal pins, screws and plates. Physical rehabilitation will also be required to restore function and allow patients to eventually resume physical activity.
Broken Wrist Procedures
A wrist fracture is one of the most common types of fracture and involves a break in the distal radius bone, the longer of the two bones that make of the forearm. This injury often causes pain, swelling and physical deformity within the wrist, and can be diagnosed through a physical examination and X-ray images of the affected area.
Treatment for a broken wrist in which the bones are not significantly displaced usually involves wrapping the wrist in a plaster cast until it heals. If the bones are not aligned correctly, surgery may be needed to correct the deformity and allow the wrist to heal properly. The decision to undergo surgery for a broken wrist should involve the consideration of many different factors, including:
- Age and overall health of the patient
- Bone quality
- Location of the fracture
- Degree of displacement
- Effectiveness of nonsurgical treatment
Surgery for a broken wrist typically involves the use of metal plates, screws or pins to hold the bone in place while it heals, ensuring the full function will be restored.
Some patients may also benefit from external fixation treatment, which involves the use of pins and a device outside the skin to align the bones back into position. This treatment avoids the need for an incision. Your doctor will decide whether or not surgery is right for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition.