Treatment of the hand will be based on your primary problem and will include:
- A pain relief program (if needed) and patient education on the hand (including its anatomy, risk factors for pain, and ways to manage pain in the short term at home)
- Development of a home treatment program to speed recovery
- Manual therapy (massage and hands-on stretching) to normalize range of motion and muscle tone
- Exercise to improve movement and strength
Some common injuries of the hand:
Guyen’s canal syndrome (handlebar palsy): occurs with compression of the ulnar nerve as it dives through the “canal of Guyen,” the space between two intrinsic muscles of the hand. This injury commonly occurs in cyclists, or with repeated pressure over the pinky side of the hand. Treatment of this injury is similar to that of carpal tunnel.
- Tingling/pain along the pinky and ½ of the ring finger
- Weakness along the pinky side of the hand/loss of motion in the pinky
- Pain with pressure in this area
Skier’s Thumb: occurs when the thumb is forcefully hyperextended during a fall or blunt force. When this occurs, the lateral ligaments (side) of the most proximal thumb joint (the knuckle) tear. This leaves the thumb unstable, weak, swollen, and with pain along the joint (at rest and with movement). Treatment usually involves immobilization, surgery, and often physical therapy to restore the stability and function of the joint.
Mallet (baseball) finger: occurs when a object hits the finger “head on” and forces it into flexion (bending). This tears the extensor ligament of the last joint of the finger and leaves it bent, unable to extend. Often there is swelling and pain, and over time this joint can develop a flexion contracture (the joint stiffens and even passive stretching cannot fully straighten the finger). Treatment involves splinting the finger in full extension for several weeks, possible surgery, and physical therapy to recover the lost motion and strength
Arthritis of the Hand: is a relatively common condition in which the joints of the hand degenerate and loose flexibility. These joint changes lead to pain, stiffness and loss of motion in the fingers, as well as weakness through the hand. While arthritis is incurable, physical therapy can decrease pain and help you regain lost strength, coordination, and range of motion.