Diseases & Conditions

Recovering from a hand/wrist condition or injury starts with knowledge. At San Ramon Regional Medical Center, we pay close attention to the latest information on orthopedic diseases and conditions and want to share that information with you. Among the most common conditions of the hand, wrist and elbow:

ARTHRITIS

Millions of people have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, a condition characterized by the inflammation or degeneration of joints such as those in the hand and wrist. Arthritis is often accompanied by stiffness, swelling and pain.

BICEP TENDON INJURY

The biceps muscle is the strength behind every bend of the elbow and rotation of the forearm. It also keeps the shoulder stable. Injuries to the tendons that attach the bicep muscle to the bones can cause arm weakness and pain during the most routine and everyday activities.

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME (CTS)

CTS is a common, sometimes sharply painful condition in which burning, tingling and pain are felt in selected fingers and the hand. CTS is brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. The swelling and pressure is caused by a variety of things, from injury to mechanical joint problems.

CONGENITAL HAND DEFECTS

Congenital hand defects or deformities are anomalies in the hand that are present at birth. While genetics may cause some deformities, others are without cause. Defects range widely in their impact on the appearance and function of hands. Many—though not all – can be addressed with reconstructive surgery.

CUBITAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

This syndrome can cause severe pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and arms, brought on by excessive or repetitive elbow use. It is caused by pressure on the nerve in the elbow, arm or wrist. Treatments can range from merely limiting use to surgery, depending on the case.

DE QUERVAIN’S TENOSYNOVITIS

DeQuervain's tenosynovitis is also referred to as stenosing tenosynovitis. It occurs when tendons near the base of the thumb are irritated or constricted and cause pain when the patient makes a fist or turns the wrist. Repetitive gripping motions such as gardening, golf, racket sports and even video gaming can aggravate this injury.

DISLOCATIONS

Dislocations of the elbow, finger and wrist are very painful injuries that occur when the bones are moved out of their proper jointed position. Injuries are usually caused by a fall or trauma, and can result in pain, swelling and the inability to properly bend or move the hand, wrist and arm.

DUPUYTREN’S CONTRACTURE

A hand deformity that usually develops over many years, this condition affects a layer of skin under the palm. Knots of tissue form under the skin, pulling one or more fingers – usually the ring or little fingers – into a bent position.

LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS

Commonly known as tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis is caused by overuse – often by tennis and other racquet-sports players. The tendons that join the forearm are inflamed from overuse, causing pain and tenderness over the outside of the bone.

FINGERTIP INJURIES

These are the most common injuries to the hand, as fingertips are very vulnerable to cuts, tears or crushing injuries that damage the nail, skin, bone or other soft tissue. Because fingers are rich with nerves and very sensitive, injuries can disrupt the function of the entire hand.

FRACTURES

Fractures of the elbow, hand and wrist occur when the arm or hand is bent with enough force to snap the bone. These injuries are usually caused by a fall or traumatic blow and will result in severe pain, swelling and loss of movement.

GANGLION CYSTS

The most common cause of lumps or masses in the hand, often on the back of the wrist, these cysts are fluid-filled sacs that likely result from a weakness of the joint capsule, ligaments or tendon sheaths. Those that are painful and interfere with function or appearance may require treatment.

MALLET FINGER

This direct-trauma injury is to the extensor tendon in the tip of the finger, which is responsible for straightening it. Often a ball or unyielding object strikes the finger and forces it to bend further than normal, and the finger is not able to straighten on its own.

NERVE INJURIES

These occur often in the hand, since the hand and fingers are filled with an intricate network of nerves used for feeling, gripping and movement. Damage to nerves can result in loss of function and skill as well as pain. Nerves are damaged by hard or crushing impact on the hand.

OSTEOCHONDRITIS DISSECANS

Osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow is most usually found in adolescent children ages 10-18, where a portion of the bone or cartilage is cut off from the blood supply. This creates a dead area of the elbow, resulting in painful locking and popping of the elbow as well as swelling or tenderness.

SPRAINS AND STRAINS

Sprains and strains occur when the ligaments that connect one bone to the other are stretched or torn, usually as the result of a fall or awkward motion that overextends or ruptures the ligaments. They are common in sports, but can occur during the course of any physical activity.

TENDON INJURIES

Tendons are the fibers that connect muscle to bone. Tendons in the wrist, finger and elbow areas can become injured, inflamed or even torn through falls or sudden traumatic events. But injuries also often occur over time through misuse or overuse.

TRIANGULAR FIBROCARTILAGE COMPLEX INJURIES

This type of injury impacts the little-finger side of the wrist. TFCC stabilizes the bone in the wrist and acts also to stabilize its movement. The wrist can be injured in a fall or sudden impact to an outstretched hand, resulting in pain, swelling and lack of movement.

TRIGGER FINGER

A common name for stenosing tenosynovitis, this is a condition in which the sheath that surrounds the tendons in the finger become inflamed. The finger or thumb is trapped in a bent position. People who grip items repetitively have a higher risk for developing trigger finger.

ULNAR COLLATERAL LIGAMENT (UCL) INJURY

Many throwing athletes suffer from UCL injuries, as sprains, injuries and repetitive throwing motions often inflame or even cause small tears within the ligament. The UCL is located on the inside of the elbow.

Let San Ramon Regional connect you with a physician

Call (800) 284-2878 or use our Find A Physician tool to connect to an orthopedic specialist who can help you. You can also read more about orthopedic conditions and injuries in our Health Library.