Hand and Elbow Treatments

hand treatments

Your hands, wrists and elbows are very complex, combining multiple joints with different types of ligaments, tendons and nerves. For how often we use them, it’s no surprise that injuries of the hand, wrist and elbow are common and can be the result of overuse, degenerative disorders or trauma.

The MedStar Orthopaedic Institute is home to some of the nation’s most highly experienced hand, wrist and elbow specialists. These specialists offer cutting-edge treatments and advanced diagnostic procedures for patients with a full range of injuries and conditions. While most minor hand, wrist and elbow injuries will heal on their own with only at-home treatment, more serious injuries and conditions need to be treated by a physician. Some of the treatments that we offer include the options below.

Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to repair a damaged joint. During the procedure, your surgeon makes a small cut and uses an arthroscope (thin, flexible tube with a camera) to access your affected joint. Your surgeon then projects the image of your joint on a large screen and uses specialized instruments inserted through the arthroscope to repair any damage.

Recovery from arthroscopic surgery generally includes wearing a splint for a short period of time, followed by physical therapy. Your surgeon will work with you to develop an individualized rehabilitation plan that’s right for you.

Replantation

With the cutting-edge technology available at the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, we are now able to reattach many amputated limbs with a procedure called replantation. During replantation, your surgeon removes any damaged tissue. Then, bone ends are trimmed and arteries, veins, nerves, muscles, and tendons are stitched back together. Finally, areas without skin are covered with skin from other areas of your body.

However, replantation is not always the best option, as function and appearance of the arm, hand or finger may be better without it. If replantation is to be performed, it must be done with minimal delay. The best hope for a successful replantation is when the amputation is sharp or clean; replantation cannot be performed on crushed or contaminated amputations.

Hand and finger reattachments are more successful than those of the upper arm and shoulder, and replantation is often performed when multiple fingers or your thumb are amputated. Age is also a factor as replantation is often more successful in children than adults.

Prosthetics

In the event that you require an amputation, we can create a state-of-the-art prosthesis to replace the appearance and some of the function of your missing body part. These prostheses restore length to a partially amputated finger, supply opposition for a thumb or finger or, in the case of a total hand amputation, help you to stabilize and hold objects with bendable fingers.

Rehabilitation Therapies

At the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our hand, wrist and elbow treatment specialists work with you to develop a treatment plan—including the techniques used in supervised and independent therapy sessions—based on your individual needs.

Additionally, our specialists teach you how to maximize the use of your dysfunctional extremity while preventing the re-injury or worsening of your condition, and they educate you on the disease process, the healing process and rationale for the recommended rehabilitation therapies.

Some of the rehabilitation services we provide at our locations include the following:

  • Management of acute or chronic pain
  • Protective splinting for immobilization and controlled motion following surgery or an injury
  • Exercise programs to restore motion, strength and motor skills
  • Home exercise programs
  • Sensory re-education programs after nerve injury
  • Thermal and electrical devices to minimize pain and swelling, facilitate restoration of joint motion and tendon gliding, and decrease hypersensitivity
  • Whirlpools to assist with wound healing
  • Social work consultations

Hand Therapy

Evolved from both the occupational therapy and physical therapy professions, hand therapy is a specialty that provides quality rehabilitation of the hand and arm. Each of our hand therapists has been certified by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.

When you arrive for your appointment, one of our experienced hand therapists completes a full evaluation of your affected extremity. Following the evaluation, your therapist develops an individualized treatment program to address your needs. The program is modified as necessary throughout the course of therapy to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

Hand therapy is ideal for patients with the following:

  • Bone fractures
  • Wounds
  • Injured tendons or nerves
  • Amputation of a finger, hand or arm
  • Repetitive motion disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and arthritis
  • Neurological disorders

Minimally Invasive Nerve Surgery

During minimally invasive nerve surgery, your surgeon uses small incisions to relieve the pressure on your nerve and ease your pain. This advanced procedure also causes a less painful and faster recovery than traditional surgery..

Our hand, wrist and elbow specialists use minimally invasive nerve surgery to treat conditions including the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Trauma