Wrist and Hand

Stevens Point Orthopedics' specialists and surgeons are experts at treating wrist and hand pain.

The wrist and hand are complex structures, consisting of:

  • Bones;
  • The joints between them;
  • The ligaments that keep them stable; and
  • The muscles that generate strength and motion. 

Overuse, traumatic injury, or natural changes can cause wrist and hand problems. These include:

  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Instability
  • Weakness
  • Inflammation
  • Nerve problems
  • Infection or tumors (less common)

Suffering from wrist and hand pain? Contact us to learn about treatment options.

How Your Hand and Wrist Work

This structure has three parts:

  • The fingers
  • The hand
  • The wrist

Each finger is made up of three bones, except the thumb, which has two.

Five metacarpal bones make up the hand. The wrist consists of eight small carpal bones. The forearm bones, radius and ulna connect to the carpals, creating the wrist joint.

Bones are connected by ligaments, which help provide stability. Multiple wrist ligaments connect the carpal bones to each other and to the forearm and fingers. Ligament injuries can cause pain and instability in the hand or wrist.

Within the hand, many muscles help move each finger. Some muscles have tendons that travel across the wrist and run through a bony tunnel called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is covered by soft tissue which can trap inflammation over the tendons and cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the hand and fingers.

Hand and Wrist Surgery

Some hand and finger conditions may require surgery – especially if conservative treatment options haven’t been successful.

For example, a trigger finger may need to be released if anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections are ineffective. Dupuytren’s Contractures may also require surgery to remove the scar tissue that keeps fingers from straightening.

Conditions Where Surgery May be Necessary

The palm of your hand is covered with connective tissue, which helps flatten your palm. Sometimes people get scar tissue or nodules in the webbing between fingers, which can cause the fingers to fold into the palm. Over time, your fingers can become almost impossible to straighten. 

During corrective surgery, your surgeon makes an incision over the band of scar tissue (easily felt through the skin), carefully separates the tissue, identifies the finger tendons, and finds and removes abnormal tissue, restoring full finger motion. The incision is closed and covered with a bulky dressing.

Until the stitches are removed, typically about 10-14 days after surgery, you may shower but not soak the hand, take a bath or do dishes. The stitches may limit your activities initially, but once they’re removed and your incision is healed, you can return to normal activities.

Mild tenderness over the incision completely resolves within a few months.

Each finger has tendons that flex or bend your finger toward your palm. Each tendon is in its own individual sheath. Inflammation or nodules can develop in the sheath, causing a painful catching or triggering in the finger that can limit finger motion.

If oral anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections are ineffective, surgical release is an option. 

During the procedure, your surgeon makes an incision over the band of scar tissue (which can be felt through the skin), carefully separates it, identifies the tendon sheath, and removes the abnormal tissue, restoring full finger motion. The incision is closed and covered with a bulky dressing. 

After surgery, you shouldn’t soak your hand, take a bath, or do dishes until the stitches are removed (typically 10-14 days after your procedure), though you can shower. The stitches may limit your activity, but once they’re removed and your incision is healed, you can return to normal activities.

Mild tenderness over the incision completely resolves within a few months.