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  • Mount Elizabeth

Hand & Wrist Health

  • Common Hand & Wrist Conditions

    Anatomy of the hands

    Injuries to the hand and wrist are common. Certain injuries, if not treated promptly, may lead to serious complications. The main nerves of the hand include the median, ulnar and radial nerves, which function to relay messages from and towards the brain, thereby creating sensation and controlling movement.

    Hand injury in its early stages may present with subtle symptoms which could worsen over time. Learn more about the common symptoms and conditions that affect the hand and wrist, as well as the specialty treatments available at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals.

    Symptom Checker: What Condition Do You Have?

    Use our symptom checker to find out what common condition may be causing your symptoms.
    Click on the symptoms you are experiencing.

    matching conditions

    Trigger Finger

    Trigger finger

    Trigger finger is pain or stiffness when straightening or bending the finger. The causes of trigger finger are not always clear. However, conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes, or trauma to the palm or base of the finger, may cause trigger finger.

    Common symptoms of trigger finger include the presence of a nodule, an aching sensation, tightness felt at the base of your finger or thumb, or triggering/locking when opening or closing the fingers.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options available.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    wrist pain

    Carpal (wrist) tunnel is a tunnel in the wrist. Nine tendons and the median nerve pass through the tunnel. When pressure builds up in the tunnel, the nerve gets compressed and is unable to function properly. This may result in numbness, discomfort and pain in the fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome may be caused by a previous wrist fracture that has caused narrowing of the carpal tunnel, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and associated conditions such as diabetes mellitus or hormonal disorders.

    Symptoms usually include pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers, and a weak grip while doing simple tasks such as holding the telephone or reading the newspaper.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

    Hand injury

    De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the tendon sheath at the base of the thumb. The tendons that move the thumb usually glide smoothly in a tunnel. Excessive friction created as the tendon glides along the thumb with repeated movements results in inflammation and swelling of the tendons. The usual cause of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is overuse of the wrist. Nursing mothers are often affected during the time that they are caring for their infant.

    Common symptoms include pain over the wrist joint near the base of the thumb, pain after increased activity involving the wrist and hand, pain beginning as an aching sensation to a sharp pain, and swelling.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Hand Arthritis

    Arthritis of the hand

    Arthritis of the wrists and fingers is a common cause of pain in the hand. It refers to inflammation of the joints, usually causing pain and swelling, and tends to occur in older patients or those who have previously injured their hands. Some patients may have other forms of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid (inflammatory) arthritis or gouty arthritis.

    The symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are similar. They include pain, grinding, clicking or cracking sensations in the affected joint, misshapen joints, reduced movement, and weakened or swollen joints that are tender to touch.

    Osteoarthritis is usually caused by degeneration of the joints, of which the cartilage (cushion between the bones) deteriorates, resulting in the bones rubbing against each other. This added friction can result in pain, swelling, and decreased motion. Osteoarthritis primarily affects weight-bearing areas, such as the knees, hips and spine. Causes of osteoarthritis include generics, gender (females are more prone to it), obesity, sports injuries, illness or infection, and ageing.

    If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor will recommend treatment options that best suit your lifestyle needs. Find out more about the treatment options and sports rehabilitation services available.

    Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis

    As we age, our bone strength decreases. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, leading to the higher likelihood of the bone fracturing or breaking. Osteoporosis develops over time, usually with no symptoms or discomfort till a bone breaks. Fractures due to osteoporosis commonly occur in the spine, hips, and wrists. Causes of osteoporosis include ageing, lack of nutrition such as calcium or vitamin D, hormonal imbalance, gender (females are more prone to it), and lack of exercise.

    If you suspect you may have osteoporosis, speak to your orthopaedic specialist. Your doctor may perform a physical examination, followed by imaging tests or bone density tests. Treatment typically includes non-surgical treatment such as adequate rest and pain medications. However, if severe pain continues, minimally invasive surgical methods such as kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty may be recommended. Talk to your orthopaedic specialist to find out more.

    Dupuytren's Contracture

    Dupuytren's contracture

    Dupuytren's contracture is a hand deformity that develops over years, resulting in a bent position for affected fingers. The condition usually begins as a thickening of the skin on the palm. Over time, the skin may appear dimpled, and a firm lump of tissue may form on the palm. In the later stages, cords of tissue form under the skin and tighten, resulting in the fingers being pulled towards the palm.

    Risk factors include age (over 50), gender (males are more prone to it), family history, tobacco and alcohol use, and diabetes. Due to the bent fingers, certain functions of the hand may be affected. Your doctor will perform a medical examination to assess the condition. Treatment may involve a procedure to remove or break apart the cords that are pulling the fingers towards the palm. Talk to your hand surgeon to find out more.

    This is not a complete list of conditions we recognise and treat. The symptom checker is not a diagnostic tool. Please consult one of our qualified orthopaedic specialists to understand your condition better.