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Patient Education

Dr. Smith is committed to providing ongoing communication to both patients and referring physicians. Before, during and after any orthopaedic surgery or treatment, patients and their families can expect concern and compassion, as well as education about their condition.

The links below are for informational purposes only, for patients and their families.

Tendon Disorders

deQuervain’s Tendinitis

deQuervain’s tendinitis is a condition brought on by irritation or swelling of the tendons found along the thumb side of the wrist.
Learn more about deQuervain's Tendinitis 

Extensor Tendon Injuries

Extensor tendons, located on the back of the hand and fingers, allow you to straighten your fingers and thumb. These tendons are attached to muscles in the forearm. As the tendons continue into the fingers, they become flat and thin.
Learn more about Extensor Tendon Injuries 

Flexor Tendon Injuries

The muscles that bend or flex the fingers are called flexor muscles. These flexor muscles move the fingers through cord-like extensions called tendons, which connect the muscles to bone.
Learn more about Flexor Tendon Injuries 

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is the confluence of the tendons of four muscles that encompass the ball joint (humeral head) of the shoulder. The rotator cuff has two functions. It provides stability to the shallow shoulder (glenohumeral) joint. Its second function is to provide motors (muscles) to move the shoulder. As time passes and we age, so does the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff tendon degenerates with age.
Learn more about Rotator Cuff Injuries 

Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is an inflammation of the tendon fibers that attach the forearm extensor muscles to the outside of the elbow. Pain may be felt where these fibers attach to the bone on the outside of the elbow or along the muscles in the forearm. Pain is usually more noticeable during or after stressful use of the arm.
Learn more about Tennis Elbow 

Trigger Finger

Trigger finger/thumb happens when the tendon develops a nodule (knot) or swelling of its lining. When the tendon swells, it must squeeze through the opening of the tunnel (flexor sheath) which causes pain, popping, or a catching feeling in the finger or thumb.
Learn more about Trigger Finger
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Fractures & Sprain

Clavicle Fractures

The shoulder is a joint suspended by many muscles surrounding the upper extremity. The majority of fractures in children occur in the clavicle. In the adult, fractures within the upper part of the arm (proximal humerus) occur with increasing frequency with older age. Some fractures may occur with dislocation of the shoulder joint.
Learn more about Clavicle Fractures 

Elbow Fractures

Elbow fractures may result from falling onto an outstretched arm, a direct impact to the elbow, or a twisting injury. Sprains, strains, or dislocations may occur at the same time as a fracture.
Learn more about Elbow Fractures 

Hand Fractures

The hand skeleton is made up of many bones that form its supporting framework. This frame acts as a point of attachment for the muscles that make the wrist and fingers move. A fracture occurs when force is applied to a bone that is enough to break it. When this happens, there is pain, swelling, and decreased use of the injured part.
Learn more about Hand Fractures 

Scaphoid Fractures

The scaphoid bone is one of eight small bones that make up the "carpal bones" of the wrist. Fracture of the scaphoid bone occurs most frequently from a fall onto the outstretched hand. Typically there is pain initially, but the pain may decrease after days or weeks. Bruising is rare, and swelling may be minimal. Since there is no deformity, many people with this injury mistakenly assume that they have just sprained their wrist, leading to a delay in seeking evaluation.
Learn more about Scaphoid Fractures 

Ski and Snowboard Injuries

Skiing and snowboarding are among the most popular winter sports. Injuries to the upper extremity occur in a relatively predictable pattern. Fortunately, there are some ways to help decrease the chance for injury.
Learn more about Ski and Snowboard Injuries 

Wrist Fractures

The wrist is made up of eight small bones and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. The shape of the bones allows the wrist to bend and straighten, move side-to-side, and rotate, as in twisting the palm up or down. A fracture may occur in any of these bones when enough force is applied, such as when falling down onto an outstretched hand. Severe injuries may occur from a more forceful injury, such as a car accident or a fall off a roof or ladder.
Learn more about Wrist Fractures 

Wrist Sprains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament. Ligaments are the connective tissues that connect bones to bones; they could be thought of as tape that holds the bones together at a joint. These types of injuries are common in falls and sports. The wrist is usually bent backwards when the hand hits the ground such as when someone slips or trips and falls. These injuries also frequently occur during sports such as football and snowboarding.
Learn more about Wrist Sprains 

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Hand Conditions

Animal and Human Bites

Bites are extremely common and can cause significant pain and other problems, especially when associated with an infection. Early recognition of warning signs and appropriate treatment are key in minimizing potential problems from the bite.
Learn more about Animal and Human Bites 

Burns to the Hand

When the skin comes in contact with something hot, it may be damaged, with death of cells in the skin. The depth of the injury depends on the intensity of the heat and the length of time that it is applied. If sufficiently severe, the full thickness of the skin can be destroyed, as well as tissues under it. Burns can also result from contact with certain chemicals.
Learn more about Burns to the Hand 

Dupuytren's Contracture Disease

Dupuytren’s contracture is an abnormal thickening of the fascia (the tissue between the skin and the tendons in the palm) that may limit movement of one or more fingers. In some patients, a cord forms beneath the skin that stretches from the palm into the fingers. The cord can cause the fingers to bend into the palm so they cannot be fully straightened.
Learn more about Dupuytren's Contracture Disease 

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are very common masses (lumps) that sometimes grow in the hand and wrist. The cysts are generally found on the top of the wrist, on the palm side of the wrist, the end joint of a finger (mucous cysts), or at the base of a finger. They often resemble a water balloon on a stalk and filled with clear fluid or gel.
Learn more about Ganglion Cysts 

Hand Infections

Hand infections can cause severe problems that persist even after the infection has resolved, such as stiffness, loss of strength, and even loss of tissues such as skin, nerve and even bone. Thus early and aggressive treatment of hand infections is essential. When seen early, some types of infection can be treated with antibiotics and local rest and soaking. However many infections begin to cause severe problems, even after a day or two, if not treated with antibiotics, surgical drainage, and removal of infected tissues.
Learn more about Hand Infections 

Hand Tumors

Any abnormal lump or bump is considered a tumor. A tumor can also be referred to as a "mass". The term "tumor" does not necessarily mean it is malignant or it is a cancer. In fact, the vast majority of hand tumors are benign or non-cancerous. Any lump or bump in your hand is a tumor regardless of what causes it. Hand tumors can occur on the skin, like a mole or a wart, or can occur underneath the skin in the soft tissue or even the bone. Because there are so many tissue types in the hand (e.g. skin, tendon, fat, ligaments, bone, etc) there are many types of tumors that can occur.
Learn more about Hand Tumors 

Lawnmower Injuries

Lawnmower injuries are seasonal injuries that can cause severe damage to the hands. They generally occur when a patient tries to remove an object in the way of the machine or an object that is stuck in the machine. Lawnmowers can cut and crush multiple fingers with injury to the bones, joints, tendons, nerves, arteries, veins, and skin.
Learn more about Lawnmower Injuries 

Nail Bed Injuries

Injuries to the nail are often associated with damage to other structures that are in the same location. These include fractures of the bone (distal phalanx), and/or cuts of the nail bed, fingertip skin (pulp), tendons that straighten or bend the fingertip, and nerve endings.
Learn more about Nail Bed Injuries 

Arthritic Conditions

Arthritic Hand Conditions

Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it is most visible when it strikes the hands and fingers. Each hand has 27 bones plus the two bones of the forearm that help define the wrist.
Learn more about Arthritic Hand Conditions 

Basal Joint Arthritis/Thumb Arthritis

Any condition that irritates or destroys a joint is called arthritis. In a normal joint, cartilage covers the ends of the bones and allows them to move smoothly and painlessly against one another. With osteoarthritis (also called degenerative arthritis), the cartilage layer wears out and the bones rub against each other. As the cartilage layer continues to wear out, symptoms of arthritis develop and the joint is eventually destroyed.
Learn more about Basal Joint Arthritis/Thumb Arthritis 

Hand Joint Arthritis

The knuckle joints in the fingers act as hinges between the long bones in the hand and the smaller bones in the fingers. These joints are called metacarpophalangeal joints or MP joints of the hand. The MP joints are important to the hand for gripping and holding things. Pain and deformity in the knuckle joints of the fingers are common in rheumatoid arthritis but can also occur with trauma, gout, psoriasis, or other diseases. Diseases such as those mentioned can injure the MP joints by ruining the structures and muscles that move the joint, or by destroying the surface of the joint causing pain and deformity in the knuckle.
Learn more about Hand Joint Arthritis 

Joint Replacement Surgery

In a normal joint, bones have a smooth, glistening surface made of a substance called articular cartilage on their ends that allows one bone to glide easily against another. Joints are lubricated by a thin layer of fluid (synovial fluid) that acts like oil in an engine to keep moving parts gliding smoothly. When the articular cartilage wears out or is damaged or the joint fluid is abnormal, problems develop and joints often become stiff and painful – that’s arthritis. There are many types of arthritis, but the basic problem is the same in all types: the joint surfaces are worn out or not moving properly. In some cases, it may be possible to treat arthritic joints surgically, including "joint replacement" procedures.
Learn more about Joint Replacement Surgery 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the early stages of the disease, joint problems are the most common symptoms. A general sense of being tired, or just not feeling quite right, often happens before the slow start of joint pain and swelling. Morning stiffness is a frequent complaint.
Learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Nerve Conditions

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition brought on by increased pressure or a pinched nerve at the wrist. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers.
Learn more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. There is a bump of bone on the inner portion of the elbow (medial epicondyle) under which the ulnar nerve passes.
Learn more about Cubital Tunnel Syndrome 

Nerve Injuries

Nerves are the "telephone wiring" system that carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. A nerve is like a telephone cable wrapped in insulation. Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting. Pressure or stretching injuries can cause the fibers carrying the information to break and stop the nerve from working, without disrupting the insulating cover.
Learn more about Nerve Injuries 
The information on this webpage is based on material from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and is for educational purposes only.