There are three major nerves in the hands and wrists – the radial, ulnar, and median nerves. With 27 major bones, and a network of connective tissue and sensory and motor neurons that help to regulate feeling and movement, the hands, wrists, and fingers can be especially susceptible to overuse injuries, nerve damage, and inflammation.
Inflammation, strain from repetitive movements, trauma from an accident or injury, genetic and hereditary factors, and growths and tumors can place pressure on the nerves, resulting in symptoms like pain, tingling, tenderness, stiffness, and difficulty with movement and range of motion.
There are a number of nerve conditions that can cause hand and wrist pain and mobility problems. The Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Phoenix offers the latest in technologically advanced diagnostic and treatment options for hand and wrist trauma and injuries, including the following conditions:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Thumb Arthritis
- Musician Hand Injuries
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Trigger Finger/Thumb
- Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
- De Quervain’s Disease
- Urgent Hand Injuries
- Lipomas and Masses
How to Prevent Nerve Pain in the Hands and Wrists
Pain, tenderness, and irritation are often caused by the repetitive motions necessary for certain occupations, physical activities, and sports. Depending on the extent and cause of pressure and inflammation on the nerve, conservative and self-care treatments, like rest and physical therapy, can often help to relieve pain, stiffness, and strain on the nerves.
Some of precautions that anyone can take to reduce the risk of developing hand and wrist nerve damage and joint pain include:
- Practice good posture
- Take regular breaks throughout the work day
- Practice proper technique when exercising, playing sports, and engaging in continuous physical activity
- Stretch, especially before and after physical activity and exercise
- Consult with a double board-certified surgeon with expertise in treating hand and wrist ailments if you experience mild to moderate signs of nerve irritation
Effective Treatment Options for Nerve and Joint Irritation
Some instances of pain and stiffness can be relieved with conservative treatments, including:
- Splinting and bracing
- Corticosteroid injections
- Over the counter and prescription NSAIDs
- Heat and cold therapy
- Physical therapy and strength training
Like all injuries and medical conditions, treatment for nerve problems depends on a number of factors, such as the cause, severity, and other individual factors like a person’s genetics, medical history, and general health profile.
Signs and Symptoms of Nerve Injuries
While some people are obviously more active than others, everyone uses their hands and fingers on a daily basis, therefore putting them at risk for injuries and strains. People who regularly engage in repetitive motions like typing, practicing a forward or back stroke in the pool or swinging a baseball bat or tennis racket for a few hours several times a week may be at a higher risk for developing nerve conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis.
That said, seemingly “safe” activities like picking up a baby multiple times a day or spending several hours every week behind the steering wheel of a car can also lead to painful nerve conditions like trigger finger and trigger thumb (also known as “mommy thumb” because of its prevalence among women who repeatedly pick up and carry babies and young children on a daily basis).
Nerve pain or damage in the hands and wrists can have a negative impact on a person’s overall quality of life, especially when it interferes with the ability to perform professional and everyday tasks like driving or lifting objects. Knowing what signs and symptoms to look for and seeking a timely diagnosis and treatment from a skilled physician are key to preventing permanent nerve damage and potential loss of function in the affected hand or wrist.
The most common signs and symptoms of nerve irritation in the hands and wrists include:
- Numbness and tingling/prickling sensation in the hand or wrist
- Pain or burning
- Weakness and muscle atrophy
- Difficulty or pain performing regular activities like typing, lifting, or driving
Minimally Invasive Hand Surgery for Nerve Injuries in Arizona
The Fitzmaurice Hand Institute offers state-of-the-art treatment options for nerve conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger thumb, and emergency hand injuries. We also use our in-office ultrasound and MRI technique to provide a timely and efficient diagnosis of nerve conditions without waiting for results from a third party lab. Dr. Fitzmaurice also pioneered the EndoTech® system to offer minimally invasive hand surgery for common nerve injuries and chronic hand and joint pain.
EndoTech is an advanced endoscopic procedure that provides enhanced visualization of the nerves and joint space for greater precision and accuracy during surgery, which decreases many of the risks and complications associated with traditional operations. With EndoTech, patients enjoy shorter recovery periods and a faster return to everyday life. The typical EndoTech patient can generally return to work within a week of treatment in most cases.
Find the Right Hand Surgeon in Phoenix
For more information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options for hand and wrist nerve injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, contact the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute by calling (480) 351-6483 to schedule an appointment with double board-certified surgeon Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice in Phoenix today.