While taken for granted oftentimes, the significance of the human hands cannot be overemphasized.
Undoubtedly, most day-to-day activities (i.e. writing, eating, working, creating art, dressing, etc.) become difficult if not impossible to carry out without functioning hands.
Many hand problems are often attributed to injuries, trauma, and overuse.
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment alternatives can range from conventional to orthopaedic hand surgery.
Below are some of the common hand conditions that may require hand surgery:
Carpal Tunnel Release
In essence, when there is pressure put on the median nerve, carpal tunnel syndrome is likely to occur. The condition is often characterized by numbness and tingling sensation in the hand. Symptoms will often manifest during prolonged gripping or when the hand is in the upright position.
Treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome can include conservative options like wearing a splint and steroid injections. However, if the condition does not respond to noninvasive alternatives, orthopaedic hand surgery will be recommended.
After the surgery, bandage will stay for at least a week or two. Stitches however, will be removed in 10 to 14 days. By then, patients would already be able to use both the thumbs and the fingers.
While performing heavy tasks will still be prohibited, moving the fingers every now and then is recommended to help guarantee both the tendons and the nerve do not get caught up in any scar tissue that may develop post-surgery.
Dupuytren’s Contracture Fasciectomy
This condition is characterized by tissues that are formed in the palm of the hands and the fingers. While painless and can form skin nodules, in some instances, it can cause fingers to curl down in the patient’s palm.
When the fingers curl, surgery is often recommended to release the affected finger and remove the tissue. Two to three weeks after the surgery, the skin will already heal. However, full use of the hand is only possible after 12 weeks.
Oftentimes, a hand therapist will teach patients hand exercises and will monitor both the hand’s movement and function. Also, while a night extension splint is considered helpful, it’s not required in most cases.
When the tendons tear or snap, the condition is aptly called tendon rupture. While the condition is rare, it is often attributed to rheumatoid arthritis and other kinds of inflammatory arthritis.
Tendons that are repaired will require at least six weeks to heal completely. While healing, the tendons are protected with the use of a hand splint. Full hand recovery can be expected in two to three months.
The bone found in the wrist at the thumb’s base is called a trapezium. When the joint found there is afflicted with arthritis, it can become very painful that carrying out simple tasks becomes extremely difficult.
While the pain can disappear eventually, surgery is required when the pain will persist.
Patients are often required to wear a splint for six weeks after the surgery. Exercises that can help regain hand strength and movement will also be taught.
Knuckle (MCP Joint) Replacement
Also known as rheumatoid arthritis of the knuckles, metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint is very painful and can significantly reduce the hand’s function.
When the condition makes the use of the hand extremely difficult, orthopaedic hand surgery is often performed. During the surgery, small artificial joints will be used to replace the knuckles and will work as flexible hinges.
The surgery is carried out to reduce the pain and enhance hand function.
After the surgery, a few days of rest will be recommended before rehabilitation starts. Patient will be taught exercises that will help move the fingers and wearing a splint (at least for a few weeks) will be recommended.