Hand Nerve Injuries – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Your brain contains literally billions of nerve cells. In fact, the average number of nerve cells or neurons that are located in the human brain is approximately 86 billion. They work with the responsibility of implementing your emotions, your movements, and the various sensations that you experience.
This is accomplished through the transportation of messages and sensations from your brain to other areas of your body. This results in immediate communication of messages to your muscles and organs, which includes information concerning pain, when to make movements, and signals that the temperature has changed. One example of this process occurs whenever you touch an item that is extremely hot or cold, as a warning will immediately advance from the brain.
Your nerves are comprised of fibers which are also referred to as axons. These axons are contained in bundles within the nerve, and the nerve is also encompassed by tissue. This tissue provides a layer of protection as the axons facilitate the process of conveying messages.
Your nerves clearly are important but they are also delicate. This means that they can be susceptible to injury. When an issue does occur with a nerve, the condition can potentially hinder your brain’s pathway of communication with your muscles and organs. All of these factors involving the nerves apply to the three primary nerves in your hand – the ulnar, median, and radial nerves.
Causes Of Nerve Injuries
Unfortunately, nerves can sustain damage for a variety of reasons. These include placing too much pressure on the nerves, which can result in several of the more common injuries that will be discussed shortly.
Nerves can also be impacted by overstretching, which can cause the fibers of the nerve to break. This will impede the nerve’s effectiveness in transmitting signals.
Cuts are also a frequent cause of injury. which involves both the nerve and the insulation. When any of these scenarios transpire, the transmission of signals from the brain can be disrupted.
Common Injuries And Their Symptoms
If a nerve injury of the hand involves either the fibers or the surrounding insulation, then the healing process if more favorable. If both the fibers and insulation have been negatively impacted, then the resulting process becomes more complicated.
While there are multiple nerve injuries that can develop in the hand, here are some of the most common issues.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the condition that most people will be familiar with. This involves a squeezing that places pressure on the median nerve. In many cases, this is caused by repetitive motion. The symptoms can include discomfort in the hand or wrist, and numbness or tingling in the thumb, middle and index fingers.
Trigger finger is sometimes associated with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and gout. It occurs when the area near the tendons of your fingers or thumbs become too thick for your fingers to move properly. It can result in pain at the base of a finger or your thumb. The discomfort could also be accompanied by limitations in your finger movement.
Cubital tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. However, it involves the ulnar nerve and can result in pain and numbness in the little fingers and the ring finger.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis involves the tendons that are located near the thumb. This condition can create pain and swelling near the base of your thumb, Along with difficulty in performing movements of the thumb and wrist.
It is important to consult with a physician promptly if you have encountered a hand injury, or are contending with any of these symptoms. Early treatment can protect you from any further complications or long-term ramifications.
Treatment Of Nerve Injuries
If your nerve injury within the hand is mild in nature, then the nerve is capable of repairing itself. The amount of time that this might incur depends upon each individual and the specifics of the injury.
Any nerve fibers that are broken are also capable of regrowth. However, the amount of time that is necessary for recovery might entail multiple months before the healing process is complete. During that span, the transmission of messages from your brain to your hand will be impacted.
It is also possible that surgery will be required. However, that is dependent upon the specifics of your injury. If a nerve of the hand experiences a cut that involves the nerve outer wrap and the inner fibers of the nerve, then surgery is often necessary.
Surgery that involves the nerves of your hand usually includes reconnecting the insulation that surrounds the injured nerve. This will allow new fibers to grow and the nerve will eventually return to its normal functions. The amount of time that will be involved with the healing process will vary based on the specifics of each individual.
Recovery time following surgery is also dependent upon your age, the type of injury, and the location of the nerve. Physical therapy might be recommended following surgery with the goal of keeping your joints maintaining flexibility in your joints. Otherwise, there would be a risk that your joints will not function properly even after the muscles have regained the original capabilities.
At Orthopedic Associates, We Can Help
If you have any questions or concerns about the possibility that you are experiencing a nerve injury to your hand, or if you need to talk with an experienced hand doctor about any other issue, the specialists at Orthopedic Associates understand how pain in your hand or wrist can affect your daily activities.
We also know that each hand and wrist injury must be approached with the utmost care, regardless of what type of injury you have suffered. At Orthopedic Associates, we are also dedicated to making sure that you recover fully so that you can return to depending on your hand and wrist as you did previously.
Hand doctor Kent F. Dickson, M.D is committed to providing effective, compassionate, and timely care. His expertise in educating our patients on how they can avoid future problems is also beneficial.
Here is the list of hand and wrist problems that we can help you with at Orthopedic Associates:
- Animal Bites to the Hand
- Basal Joint Osteoarthritis
- Boutonniere Deformity
- Boxer’s Fracture
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Colles Fractures
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
- Digital Mucous Cysts
- Distal Radius Fracture (Broken Wrist)
- Dupuytren’s Disease
- Finger Dislocation/Felon
- Fingertip Injuries
- Flexor Tendon Injuries
- Fractures of the Finger/Hand (Metacarpal Fractures)
- Ganglion Cysts of the Hand
- Kienbock’s Disease
- Mallet Finger
- Nerve Injuries of the Hand
- Osteoarthritis of the Hand
- Polydactyly of the Hand
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) of the Hand
- Scaphoid Fractures
- Swan Neck Deformity
- Syndactyly of the Hand
- Thumb Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury
- Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Tears
- Trigger Digit
- Volar Plate Injuries
- Wrist Sprain
Our orthopedic experts are also highly experienced in performing many different treatments and surgeries for the hand & wrist:
- About Surgery of the Hand
- Absorbable Antibiotic Bead Treatment for Osteomyelitis
- Anesthesia (Regional)
- Artificial Joint Replacement of the Finger
- Basal Joint Surgery
- Biologics Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Carpal Tunnel Release (Open Technique)
- Cold Laser Therapy
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
- De Quervain’s Release
- Digital Mucous Cyst Excision
- Digital Nerve Repair
- Distal Radius Fracture Repair with Volar Plate
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
- Finger Felon Drainage
- Finger Fracture Fixation
- Finger Joint Fusion (DIP Joint)
- Ganglion Cyst Removal
- Joint Synovectomy
- Limited Palmar Fasciectomy for Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Multimodal Anesthesia and Pain Control
- Needle Aponeurotomy for Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
- Scaphoid Fracture Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF)
- Tendon Repair
- Trigger Digit Release
- Wrist Arthroscopy
- Wrist Fusion (Total Wrist Arthrodesis)
If you are experiencing a problem with your hand or wrist, we encourage you to visit one of Orthopedic Associates two locations or request an appointment today. We will help guide you down the path of feeling better.