Here is everything you need to know about common conditions and injuries of the hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder. Please be sure to make an appointment with one of our doctors if you feel you suffer from one of these and need more information.
Arthritis at the base of the thumb is a genetic predisposition: like graying and thinning of the hair, it comes with age and it shows up earlier in some families. Patients with arthritis of the base of the thumb report pain and weakness with pinching and grasping.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is essentially a pinched nerve in the wrist. There is a space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when swelling in this tunnel puts pressure on the nerve.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that involves pressure or stretching of the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone” nerve), which can cause numbness or tingling in the ring and small fingers, pain in the forearm, and/or weakness in the hand.
Patients with de Quervain syndrome have painful tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Tendons are the ropes that the muscle uses to pull the bone. You can see them on the back of your hand when you straighten your fingers.
Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening of the tissue just beneath the skin known as fascia. This thickening occurs in the palm and can extend into the fingers. Firm pits, nodules and cords may develop that can cause the fingers to bend into the palm, in which case it is described as Dupuytren contracture.
Elbow fractures may result from a fall, a direct impact to the elbow, or a twisting injury to the arm. Sprains, strains or dislocations may occur at the same time as a fracture. X-rays are used to confirm if a fracture is present and if the bones are out of place.
Extensor tendons are just under the skin. They lie next to the bone on the back of the hands and fingers and straighten the wrist, fingers and thumb. They can be injured by a minor cut or jamming a finger, which may cause the thin tendons to rip from their attachment to bone.
The muscles that bend (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. Deep cuts can injure the tendons and nearby nerves and blood vessels.
Ganglion cysts are very common lumps within the hand and wrist that occur adjacent to joints or tendons. The most common locations are the top of the wrist, the palm side of the wrist, the base of the finger on the palm side, and the top of the end joint of the finger.
The hand 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 enough force is applied to a bone to break it.
A mallet finger is a deformity of the finger caused when the tendon that straightens your finger (the extensor tendon) is damaged. When a ball or other object strikes the tip of the finger or thumb and forcibly bends it, the force tears the tendon that straightens the finger. The force of the blow may even pull away a piece of bone along with the tendon.
Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a painful condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow.
Trigger finger/thumb occurs when the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick and constricting around the tendon, making it hard for the tendon to move freely through the pulley. Sometimes the tendon develops a nodule (knot) or swelling of its lining.
The wrist is made up of eight small bones and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. Wrist fractures may occur in any of these bones when enough force is applied to the wrist, such as when falling down onto an outstretched hand.
The most common ligament to be injured in the wrist is the scapho-lunate ligament. It is the ligament between two of the small bones in the wrist, the scaphoid bone and the lunate bone. There are many other ligaments in the wrist, but they are less frequently injured.
Sir James Paget and James Putnam
Although we may think that carpal tunnel syndrome is a relatively new disorder, which came about during the computer age, it was actually originally described by Sir James Paget in 1854. James Putnam, a Boston neurologist, published the first clinical study of 37 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome in 1880 and Learmonth performed the first carpal tunnel release surgery at Mayo in 1933.
Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery Or Open Release
However, up until the 1960s, when carpal tunnel syndrome and its treatment options became fairly well defined, there was still no clear consensus on how to treat the condition. In fact, up until the late 1940s, resection of the first rib was a common treatment for this diagnosis! Once medical opinion coalesced about the cause of the disorder, a standard surgical treatment quickly developed, known as “open carpal tunnel release surgery,” or “open release.”
Open Release Surgery
During open release surgery, the transverse carpal ligament is cut, which releases pressure on the median nerve and subsequently relieves the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. A 1 – 1 ½ inch incision is made at the base of the palm of the hand, allowing the surgeon to see the transverse carpal ligament. After the ligament is cut, the skin is closed with stitches. The ligament is left open, and this decreases the pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. This sectioning of the ligament does not result in any loss of function.
With the traditional open release surgery, the hand can remain swollen and tender for a couple of months. Full use of the hand, especially during gripping and grasping activities, can sometimes take up to 6 to 8 weeks, or possibly longer.
Endoscopic release is a relatively new technique, which uses a thin tube with a camera attached (endoscope). The endoscope is guided through a small incision in the wrist, allowing the surgeon to see the transverse carpal ligament without opening the entire area with a large incision. A miniature blade, inserted through the tube, is used to cut the transverse tunnel ligament.
Here is a quick video of the endoscopic release procedure.
Relief Of Symptoms Of Endoscopic Release
The relief of symptoms of endoscopic release are similar to the traditional open technique. However, you can expect a less post-operative pain and a shorter recovery period after endoscopic carpal tunnel release, because the procedure does not require cutting the palm open and disturbing a large area of the hand. As a result, you can return to work or practicing sports earlier, especially sports that require gripping, such as golf and tennis. Endoscopic release also produces a smaller scar with less swelling and scar-related pain.
If you suspect that you have carpal tunnel syndrome, please give us a call and let one of our physician’s determine the cause of your pain, and know that should you need surgery, we will offer you the most innovative and safe treatment available.
Manhattan Orthopedics & Sports Medicine group has just opened a new Orthopedic and Musculoskeletal medicine facility in the center of Manhattan. But did you know that we also have a state of the art radiology suite, identical to those found in Citi Field (home of the NY Mets), and in Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets)?
How’d we do this? We partnered with NY Imaging, one of the largest independent radiographic solution providers in the Northeast.
They are the x-ray providers for the NY Mets and the Brooklyn Nets.
Our new x-ray facility features advanced digital technology that creates significantly increased image quality, allowing for sharper x-rays, better image detail and ultimately, better visualization and interpretation of fractures and other maladies.
But best of all, the equipment features an integrated generator and cesium digital detector which allows us to deliver x-ray care with a fraction of the x-ray exposure of other, older x-ray facilities.
Whether you are center fielder for the NY Mets or a part-time volunteer coach leading a little league team, safe and accurate x-rays are a vital part of orthopedic care.
That’s why we are dedicated to providing our professional athletes and our weekend warriors alike, with the most advanced medical technology, the highest levels of surgical expertise, and the best medical care in Manhattan.
A couple of weeks ago, our very own Dr. Klion competed in a mountain bike race. As he had increased his training mileage for the event, he had noticed that his wrist was sore, but didn’t find this unusual as almost all cyclists often experience pain in the hand, wrist, and finger region due to excessive pressure placed on the handle bars. It was only after the event that he learned he had broken a bone in his wrist.
Other symptoms that can occur from pressure and overuse include numbness and tingling. Common cycling syndromes are described below.
Ulnar neuropathy – known to cyclists as “handlebar palsy” – results from compression of the ulnar nerve, which controls sensation in your ring and little finger, as well as hand strength with gripping. Holding the lower section of drop-down handlebars can compress the ulnar nerve.
The constant pressure on the hand’s median nerve that comes when resting one’s hands on the top of the handlebars can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. In this case, typical symptoms are numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers, as well as a general weakness in the hand.
As with handlebar palsy, the most immediate and effective action is to change your hand position, use well-padded gloves and lessen the pressure by loosening your grip.
It may take months for the symptoms to resolve; rest, stretching exercises, and anti-inflammatories usually help to relieve the symptoms.
More importantly, you must adjust your equipment and habits! Proper bike fit is essential; adjusting the handlebars, seat, and pedals to your fit is the key to preventing most cycling overuse injuries, a third of which happen to the hands and wrist.
By sitting in a more upright position, you will take weight and pressure off your hands and wrists. During long rides, take rest stops, and change your hand position often. As often as possible, shift your weight from the center of your palms to the outside edge. Padded gloves and good shock-absorbent handlebar grip/tape will help protect your hands from injury.
Like any other part of your body, your hands and wrists will benefit from a short session of hand and wrist stretches before you hit the road.
In order to prevent injury, listen to the moral of Dr. Klion’s story; pay attention to any signs of physical discomfort and seek medical advice if the symptoms do not abate.
Just in time for the spring thaw, Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group is delighted to bring you:
- a bigger, roomier waiting area;
- more comfortable, clean and airy patient exam rooms;
- heating and air conditioning!
- a digital X-ray machine to provide real time results on site for patients’ convenience;
- kiosks to help patient flow;
- online or phone appointment option;
- Spear Physical Therapy if you wish to use
All this and more awaits you at our new location at 57 West 57th Street, 15th Floor. This is the new home of Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group, PC., a state-of-the-art medical facility in the heart of New York. Our new home is a warm and welcoming environment for our patients and friends, and a terrific opportunity for the growth and development of our staff and practice. We are also pleased to have Spear Physical Therapy at this location in order to provide continuity of care.
Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group, PC still maintains their Queens location at 27-31 Crescent Street, Long Island City, NY 11102. Queens appointments can easily be made by calling 718-204-0548.
Please call us at 212-289-0700 or use our online form in order to schedule an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Specialists.
Come see us! We look forward to welcoming you to our new space.
Many patients experiencing back or joint pain will ask if it is caused by osteoporosis. This common question highlights just how high a profile the disease has gained in recent years. Osteoporosis itself has no symptoms, including pain, but the loss of bone density can lead to degeneration of the spine, Dowager’s hump, and fragile bones susceptible to fracture. While osteoporosis is serious, it is fortunately a treatable condition.
Orthopedic surgeons only rarely treat osteoporosis, since the disease is readily combatted by diet, exercise, supplements, and when needed, medication. Post-menopausal women should – even in the absence of bone fractures – be tested for osteoporosis, and studies show that men are also increasingly at risk for the disease.
Why have fragility fractures caused by osteoporosis reached epidemic levels among aging Americans? The two primary causes are our modern diet and sedentary lifestyle.
Like eggshells and seashells, bones are made primarily of calcium, and are thus strong but inflexible, and with a loss of density, can break just like an eggshell. Merely adding calcium to the diet is not adequate, in that calcium uptake by the body is affected by other substances; for example, despite the fact that the largely fish diet of Eskimo women provides over 2000 mg of calcium a day, and even though exercise is a regular part of their life, they are known to have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. The excess fat and protein in their diet prevent calcium absorption.
So in addition to improving your diet, what’s way to avoid becoming a part of this “silent epidemic”? Move! Our sedentary lifestyle is our worst enemy. As you grow older, continue to walk, dance, jump rope; play tennis, basketball, and golf; do Pilates and have fun in a Zumba class. All of these weight-bearing exercises help build strong bones.
Try some yoga too. Yoga will limber you up, and keeping limber is also great prevention, as nearly 80% of fragility fractures are a result of falls.
The longer you can stay flexible, balanced, and upright, the better chance you have of avoiding the pain – not of osteoporosis, but of the debilitating breakage of bone they so often cause.
For treatment of osteoporosis, please consult your PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN, GYNECOLOGIST, or ENDOCRINOLOGIST. The orthopedic surgeons at Manhattan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, ONLY TREAT
THE UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCES of this treatable disease.
Stay active and avoid fractures!
The Physicians and staff at Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group, PC, would like to wish all of our patients a joyous and prosperous New Year. We hope that everyone is happy and healthy in 2015. Exciting things are in store for the practice as we have improved the patient portal with more interactive capability for our patients.
But perhaps the most exciting news this year will be our relocation in April to our new state-of-the-art facility at 57 West 57th Street. We will occupy the entire 15th floor and look forward to welcoming all of our patients to this brand new facility. The same great physicians will be providing all of your musculoskeletal needs under one roof.
Edmond Cleeman, MD
Craig Dushey, MD
Marvin Gilbert, MD
Richard Gilbert, MD
Mark Klion, MD
Vikas Varma, MD
Isn’t it strange that we are called “vertebrates,” and yet we rarely think about our vertebrae – i.e., our spine? Forgetting about the spine is a very old habit of ours; though anatomy theaters were filled with articulated skeletons by the late sixteenth century, most Renaissance medical and anatomical studies focused on the skull and limbs rather than the spine.
In the winter of 1510-11, Leonardo Da Vinci was at the University of Pavia near Milan, where he was able to take part in 20 autopsies that allowed him to make a host of pioneering observations of the mechanics of the body. Though they went unpublished for generations, he made the very first accurate drawing of the spinal column, capturing the delicate curve and tilt of the spine, and the snug fit of one vertebra into another.
Our sedentary modern lifestyle causes most of us to forget our spine. Since movement is literally the “backbone” of athleticism and life, and the spine is the foundation of all movement, we would do well to remember the spine. We need to change our daily habits of movement so that we restore the spine we were given at birth. Much attention has been given lately to the dangers posed by excessive sitting, both to our spine, and to our overall health as well.
Everyone desires freedom of movement, and the wisdom of the body has arranged it so that all of our multiplicity of movements ultimately depends on the most immobile part of our skeleton – the spine.
Maintaining that mobility requires us literally to re-member our spine, to both be conscious of it as an independent segment of our body needing its own exercise and care, and to integrate its health into our overall exercise and activity regime.
If you are having back pain and believe that it is an issue of your vertebral column, there are new non-invasive diagnostic techniques we can provide. Just set up an appointment with one of our orthopedists for a consultation.
Movement is what we should strive to do all the time, moving as well and as often as possible. This will allow us to have fewer injuries, live longer, and have more productive lives. Our spine truly is the backbone of our lives.
So, remember the spine!
“My hand hurts; I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome.” Orthopedists all over America hear this from their patients everyday, often followed by the patient’s assertion that their pain has been caused by typing on a computer keyboard all day. Entire mini-industries have sprung up to support this myth that carpal tunnel syndrome is a work-related injury, rather than a medical condition, yet numerous scientific studies have shown that there is no relationship between typing and the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. And although using a badly positioned computer keyboard or mouse can lead to wrist pain from strain or tendinitis, it is not necessarily carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a compression neuropathy – a condition of the peripheral nervous system – that is caused by an increase in pressure on the median nerve in the hand and wrist. The carpal tunnel is actually a space in the wrist surrounded on 3 sides by bone and covered with a ligament through which 9 tendons and one nerve – the median nerve – travel to the fingers. This nerve supplies sensation to the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger, while conducting nerve impulses to the muscles that control the thumb.
Numbness, tingling, or burning in the hand, particularly at night, localized pain over the carpal tunnel in the palm and wrist, or pain that periodically radiates towards the shoulder are all potential indicators of carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms are oftentimes aggravated by grasping activities, such as driving a car, holding a book or newspaper, and grasping a telephone.
When the median nerve is compressed, it results in increased sensitivity, tingling, pain, weakness, or numbness in the fingers, hand, and wrist; the pinky remains largely unaffected. The predisposing factors that cause median nerve compression and carpal tunnel syndrome are still largely unknown, but there is a higher incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome in patients with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women are the group at highest risk for CTS.
A clinical examination and review of a patient’s history is the best way to diagnose CTS. Your physician may perform simple sensory and strength testing, along with some more specialized diagnostic tests, such as Tinel’s sign, Phalen’s test, or Durkan’s compression test. In some cases, electrodiagnostic examination (EMGs) may be recommended.
Treatment options range from low-tech solutions – avoiding pressure on the median nerve by altering one’s movements, or splinting or bracing the wrist to avoid prolonged flexion or extension (especially at night) – to corticosteroid injections (in most cases this only provides temporary relief of pain). If these treatments do not resolve symptoms, then surgical release is indicated, which decreases the pressure in the carpal tunnel, thereby improving blood flow and nourishment to the median nerve. Surgical treatment generally leads to excellent outcomes in patients who have failed non-operative therapies, but above all, the key is a correct diagnosis.
If you suspect you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, feel free to give us a call and let one of our experts determine the cause of your pain. You don’t have to suffer!
Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints, afflicting almost 25% of the US population. But there are a number of important secrets, practiced by top trainers and professional athletes, to help protect and preserve the knees. Practicing these 5 tips can help ensure good function and high performance on your knees for years to come.
1. Quadriceps strength: Along with serving as the prime extensors of the knee joint, the quadriceps muscle group – which form the bulk of the front of the thigh – are at the same time vital for the stability and health of the joint. Even if you are not placing great demands on the knee through running, dancing, or jumping, it is important that the quadriceps remain strong. Otherwise, damage to the knee joint may occur.
2. Flexibility: If your knee muscles are very inflexible or you are new to exercise, start off with basic knee stretches. You should never feel knee pain in any stretch. If you feel pain in your joint, it’s time to stop and seek advice from your doctor.
3. Cross-training: As with all muscular training, it is crucial to perform a variety of motions that involve the knee joint. A mix of exercise activities – walking, running, biking, tennis, dance, etc. – that create different types of stresses on the knee ensures that different muscle groups are engaged.
4. Low impact exercise: High impact sports and exercise – boot camp classes, step aerobics –expose the knee to significant stress, so emphasize low impact activities like cycling and swimming to protect your knees from long term damage.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight raises your risk for developing knee injuries, especially osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts additional stress on weight bearing joints, particularly the knee. Losing a few pounds can go a long way toward protecting your knees by reducing the pressure on them. The force on your knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs, and four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped. Each extra pound adds to that load!
If you’d like to review your exercise program, or want individualized tips to help optimize your knee health, give us a call at Manhattan Orthopedics to make an appointment.