specializing in advanced surgical care of hand, wrist, and elbow injuries and conditions

HANDling the Holidays

It’s that time of year, we are making our lists and checking them twice. Our gift to you is some “handy” advice.

The busyness of the holidays can stress not only our budgets but often our hands as well. “Tis the season for wrapping, baking, shopping and decorating. Many of these activities are repetitive and place our hands and wrists in awkward positions causing our hands to “over work” resulting in pain and inflammation. Although there are many other things on our minds it may be helpful to be aware of some conditions that may be associated with overuse.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

The carpal tunnel is a small tunnel in the wrist with the bottom and sides formed by small bones and the roof by a strong ligament. The median nerve and the tendons that bend our fingers run through the carpal tunnel. The problem is caused by swelling in the tunnel which crowds the space and places pressure on the median nerve which contributes to the symptoms of carpal tunnel. The median nerve is responsible for giving sensation to the thumb index, middle and half of the ring finger and the muscles at the base of the thumb. There are many causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, although not all are related to overuse, however the symptoms are the same which can include:

  • Numbness, tingling (often at night)
  • Weakness
  • Clumsiness
  • Pain

Trigger Finger:

This condition is related to inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are tissues in our body that connect a muscle to a bone and allow our fingers to move. When we bend our fingers the tendon slides through a tunnel, called a pulley. In the case of trigger finger the tendon becomes thick and swollen and is unable to glide smoothly beneath the pulleys. As the thick swollen tendon attempts to slide under the pulley it gets stuck and that is what causes the “triggering”.

If your symptoms persist contact Hand Surgery Associates for an evaluation and to discuss your best treatment options. Relief of your symptoms may be the best gift you can give yourself!

Have a safe and happy holiday season from Dr. Casey Burke and all the staff at Hand Surgery Associates.