When to See an Orthopaedic Hand Specialist

April 9, 2024

Our hands are vital in daily life, and hand or wrist pain can be a major obstacle.

From the mundane tasks of typing emails to the intricate maneuvers of tying shoelaces, our hands are indispensable. But what happens when our hands encounter obstacles like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis? The harmony of our routine is disrupted. At OrthoNJ, we understand your hands and wrists' pivotal role in your life. We have a team of orthopedic hand specialists, including doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, who are dedicated to diagnosing and treating a spectrum of hand and wrist conditions. Whether it's a fractured bone, the discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome, or the constriction of Dupuytren's Contracture, we stand ready with a diverse array of treatments tailored to your needs. Let's delve into the realm of hand and wrist care, exploring common conditions, symptoms, at-home care techniques, and when it's time to seek the expertise of an orthopedic hand specialist.

Meet Our Hand Specialists

Common Hand & Wrist Conditions

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

  • Numbness in the thumb, index, middle, or ring fingers.
  • Tingling in the thumb, index, middle, or ring fingers.
  • Hand weakness.
  • Pain or discomfort in the wrist or hand, often worsening at night.


  • Joint pain and stiffness.
  • Swelling around the joints.
  • Decreased range of motion.

Dupuytren's Contracture:

  • Thickening of the tissue beneath the skin of the palm.
  • Formation of nodules or cords.
  • Finger stiffness, particularly in the ring and little fingers.
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Common Hand & Wrist Injuries:

Hand and Wrist Fractures:

  • Fractures in the hand and wrist can result from falls, direct blows, sports injuries, or accidents.
  • Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the hand or wrist.
  • A fracture can happen in any of the bones in the hand or wrist, such as the metacarpals, phalanges, or radius.
  • Treatment may involve immobilization such as with a cast or splint; surgical intervention may be necessary to realign the bones in severe cases.

Wrist Sprains and Strains:

  • Wrist sprains and strains often occur due to sudden twisting or stretching of the hand or wrist beyond their normal range of motion.
  • A sprain refers to stretching or tearing ligaments, while a strain involves stretching or tearing muscles or tendons.
  • Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected area.
  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) therapy are often recommended initially, followed by physical therapy to restore strength and flexibility.


  • Tendonitis is tendon inflammation, which can occur due to overuse or repetitive movements.
  • Common types of tendonitis in the hand and wrist include De Quervain's tenosynovitis (thumb tendonitis) and wrist tendonitis.
  • Symptoms may include pain, swelling, tenderness, and difficulty moving the affected tendon.
  • Treatment may involve rest, splinting, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs):

  • RSIs, also known as cumulative trauma disorders, develop over time due to repetitive movements or overuse.
  • Common RSIs affecting the hand and wrist include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and intersection syndrome.
  • Symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and reduced grip strength.
  • Prevention involves ergonomic adjustments, regular breaks, and strengthening exercises to reduce strain on the affected tissues.

Ligament Injuries:

  • Ligament injuries, such as a torn ligament in the wrist (wrist sprain), can result from trauma or repetitive stress.
  • Symptoms may include pain, swelling, instability, and weakness in the wrist.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the injury and may range from conservative measures like rest and immobilization to surgical repair for severe tears.
how do i get rid of wrist pain

How Do You Relieve Wrist Pain at Home

Rest and Immobilization:

Avoid activities that aggravate symptoms; using splints or braces to support your hand can help alleviate wrist pain.

Ice Therapy:

Ice therapy is an easy way to help with wrist pain. Apply ice packs for 15-20 min multiple times a day to reduce pain and inflammation.

Gentle Exercises:

To improve flexibility and strength, perform gentle exercises such as wrist stretches and range-of-motion exercises.

Ergonomic Adjustments:

Bad ergonomics can greatly aggravate wrist pain. Maintaining proper wrist alignment while typing or performing repetitive tasks and using supportive devices such as ergonomic keyboards or wrist pads can reduce strain and help alleviate hand and wrist pain.

When to See an Orthopaedic Hand Specialist For Hand Pain and Wrist Pain

While there are many things you can do at home to help alleviate hand and wrist pain, there are some reasons for concern that warrant a trip to the orthopaedic hand specialist.

To determine if your wrist pain is serious, pay attention to the following:

  • Persistent or worsening symptoms despite home care measures.
  • Inability to perform daily activities due to hand or wrist pain.
  • Signs of infection present, such as redness, warmth, or swelling around the affected area.
  • Severe trauma or injury to the hand or wrist requiring immediate attention.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of common hand and wrist injuries is crucial for prompt intervention and optimal recovery. If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or difficulty performing daily activities, don't hesitate to seek evaluation and treatment from an orthopedic hand specialist at one of our OrthoNJ divisions. Whether through non-surgical interventions like physical therapy or surgical procedures performed by our skilled orthopedic surgeons, we're committed to restoring functionality and alleviating discomfort. We're here to provide expert care and support to help you overcome hand and wrist injuries and regain function and comfort.

You don't have to stay in pain. Contact one of our ONJ divisions to schedule an appointment with a hand specialist.

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