The 7 Faces of Neck Pain

The 7 Faces of Neck Pain

Article Featured on Harvard Health

If you’re bothered by neck pain, you have plenty of company. Doctors estimate that seven out of 10 people will be troubled by such pain at some point in their lives. But if you were to ask each of these people to describe their neck pain, you would probably get seven different stories.

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Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis

Exercise helps prevent cartilage damage caused by arthritis

Article Featured on Science Daily

Exercise helps to prevent the degradation of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London.

The researchers show for the first time how mechanical forces experienced by cells in joints during exercise prevent cartilage degradation by suppressing the action of inflammatory molecules which cause osteoarthritis.

The study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, demonstrates the benefits of exercise on the tissues that form our joints and how this is down to tiny hair-like structures called primary cilia found on living cells.

During exercise the cartilage in joints such as the hip and knee is squashed. This mechanical distortion is detected by the living cells in the cartilage which then block the action of inflammatory molecules associated with conditions such as arthritis.

The researchers show that this anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity is caused by activation of a particular protein, called HDAC6, which triggers changes in the proteins that form primary cilia.

Pharmaceutical drugs that blocked HDAC6 activation prevented the anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity, whilst other drug treatments were able to mimic the benefits of exercise.

Changes in length of the primary cilia, which are only a few 1000th of a millimetre, provided a biomarker of the level of inflammation. Cilia got longer during inflammation, but treatments that prevented this elongation successfully prevented inflammation.

Mr Su Fu, PhD student at Queen Mary University of London and study author, said: “We have known for some time that healthy exercise is good for you — now we know the process through which exercise prevents cartilage degradation.”

Professor Martin Knight, lead researcher of the study added: “These findings may also explain the anti-inflammatory effects of normal blood flow in arteries which is important for preventing arterial disease such as atherosclerosis and aneurism.”

The researchers hope that these findings will help in the search for treatments for arthritis which affects over three million people in the UK causing stiff and painful joints.

The researchers suggest the results may lead to a whole new therapeutic approach known as mechano-medicine in which drugs simulate the effect of mechanical forces to prevent the damaging effects of inflammation and treat conditions such as arthritis.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Queen Mary University of LondonNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

What's the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?

What’s the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?

By Aaron Kandola | Article Featured on MedicalNewsToday

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis both cause joint pain and stiffness. They are both forms of arthritis but have different causes and treatments. There are over 100 types of arthritis and related diseases. Two of the most common types are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). OA is more common than RA.

Both OA and RA involve inflammation in the joints, but the inflammation in RA is much greater. Until recently, healthcare professionals believed that inflammation was not present in OA.

OA and RA share some symptoms. RA can affect multiple joints in a subtype called polyarticular arthritis, and it tends to affect the body symmetrically. OA usually affects a few joints and typically occurs on only one side of the body. In this article, we take a look at the similarities and differences between RA and OA, including their symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Causes

Joints contain protective tissues that prevent the bones from scraping against one another. For example, cartilage overlies the bones to allow smooth movement in the joint. Arthritis damages this protective tissue. The causes of joint damage are different in RA and OA:

Rheumatoid arthritis

RA is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues in the joints. This immune response involves both genetic and environmental factors, including cigarette smoking.

Osteoarthritis

In OA, the protective cartilage gradually wears down and the bones begin to scrape against one another. This wear and tear can result from repetitive movements, such as in sports, that place pressure on the joints.

Symptoms

RA and OA share a number of symptoms, including:

  • joint pain
  • stiffness in joints
  • swelling, which is more severe in RA
  • restricted mobility in affected joints
  • symptoms that are worse in the morning

The symptoms of RA may arise and get worse quickly, sometimes within a few weeks. However, the symptoms of OA appear more slowly, as the protective tissues in the joints gradually break down. However, OA stressors, such as going for a hike, may cause a sudden, severe swelling in the knee.

Both OA and RA can affect any joint in the body. OA is most likely to affect the knees and the small finger and thumb joints. RA often occurs in the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, feet, and hips, and it usually occurs in the same joints on both sides of the body.

The symptoms of RA usually affect the joints on both sides of the body. For example, if RA affects one hand, it also affects the other hand. OA often only affects one side of the body. OA is localized, as it only affects the joint and its surrounding tissues. For this reason, OA typically only affects one joint, while RA commonly affects multiple joints.

A key difference between these forms of arthritis is that RA involves a range of systemic symptoms, which are symptoms that affect the entire body.

Symptoms that affect people with RA include:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • inflammation in other areas, such as the eyes and lungs
  • rheumatoid nodules

OA is not associated with systemic symptoms, but people with the condition can develop bone spurs or other bone abnormalities. For example, OA in the hands can often cause small lumps to develop around the ends of the finger joints.

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose RA and OA by performing a physical examination, taking a medical history, and carrying out various diagnostic tests. Diagnosing these conditions can be challenging. This is because the symptoms often overlap, particularly in the early stages.

Blood tests can help diagnose or rule out RA, as this condition leaves certain biomarkers in the blood, such as cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody and rheumatoid factor. They may also check for abnormal levels of the C-reactive protein antibody, which is a marker that indicates inflammation. Doctors may also perform imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound scans, to determine the extent and location of the RA or OA damage.

Treatment

RA and OA are chronic conditions. There is currently no cure for them, but various treatments can help a person manage their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and slow down the progression of the condition.

Treatment may involve using medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation can help alleviate pain and stiffness in the joints and improve their range of motion. Doctors may also recommend steroid-based medications to reduce inflammation. For example, they may inject steroids directly into the affected joints when it is important to reduce inflammation immediately.

Healthcare professionals advise taking disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), often alongside NSAIDs or steroids and biologics, to treat RA. DMARDs aim to suppress the immune system and reduce its damage to tissues in the joints.

Treatments for both RA and OA will often also involve physical therapy. This helps improve a person’s mobility and keep joints flexible. Following a healthful anti-inflammatory diet can also help. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent the need to place excess pressure on the joints. Avoid smoking cigarettes, particularly in RA.

Outlook

RA and OA are chronic conditions that cause pain and stiffness in the joints. Both conditions can become worse over time without appropriate treatment. The effects of OA and RA on a person’s daily life range from mild to severe.

RA and OA can cause similar symptoms, but they have different causes and treatments. In many cases, OA is easier to treat than RA because it usually affects fewer joints and does not involve systemic symptoms. The progression of RA is more difficult to predict than that of OA.

With modern research and treatments, the outlook for people with RA has greatly improved. Doctors can usually prevent or slow down the progression of this disease with effective treatment.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Blood Clot Symptoms: How to Tell if You Have One

Blood Clot Symptoms: How to Tell if You Have One

Article Featured on WebMD

Ever get a paper cut or nick yourself while shaving? When that happens, a blood clot saves the day. It quickly stops the bleeding, and when it’s done its job, it usually breaks up. Sometimes, though, things can go wrong.

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Experiencing Hip Pain? Learn How to Know When It’s Serious and When It’s Not

Experiencing Hip Pain? Learn How to Know When It’s Serious and When It’s Not

Article Featured on IBJI

The hip joint can withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint — the body’s largest — fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement.

Without a fully functional hipbone, you would not be able to stand, walk, run or dance. So, when you suffer from chronic hip pain and certain day-to-day activities suddenly become troublesome, it can feel as if your entire life is being put on hold.

The ball-and-socket hip joint fits together in a way that allows for fluid, repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in its socket. The hip joint isn’t indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. The hip bone itself can be fractured during a fall or other injury. All of the above can cause hip pain.

Symptoms of Hip Pain

Depending on the condition that’s causing your hip pain, you might feel the discomfort in your:

  • Thigh
  • Inside or outside of the hip joint
  • Groin
  • Buttocks

Sometimes pain from other areas of the body, such as the back or groin can radiate to the hip. You might notice that your pain gets worse with activity, especially if it’s caused by arthritis. Along with the pain, you might have reduced range of motion. Some people develop a limp from persistent hip pain.

Causes of Hip Pain

If your hips are sore, here is a rundown of some of the most common causes of chronic hip pain. The first step to fighting your pain is figuring out its source.

  1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most frequent causes of hip pain. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it affects around 27 million people every day. Due to age, trauma or other factors, the cartilage in the hip that cushions your joints start to break down causing the bones to rub together during any movement. The bone-on-bone action creates pain, stiffness, and loss of movement. If conservative treatments fail, hip replacement surgery is an option.

  1. Trochanteric Bursitis

Trochanteric bursitis is an extremely common problem that causes inflammation of the bursa over the outside of the hip joint.  Bursa is the fluid-filled sac that works to reduce friction and cushion the points between the bones, tendons, and muscles. Bursa is located throughout the body, including the hips. It causes degeneration of the soft tissues that surround the muscles and bones of the hip. Rest, ice and pain medications can help treat the condition.

  1. Tendonitis

The tendons are a fibrous structure used to join the muscles to the bone. Tendonitis can occur in any of the tendons that surround the hip joint. When the tendons in the hip become inflamed, irritated or swollen, it can cause immense pain. The most frequently encountered tendonitis around the hip is iliotibial band (IT band) tendonitis. Tendinitis can be caused either by injury or overuse of the tendons. It also happens with age as the tendon loses their elasticity.

  1. Osteonecrosis

Osteonecrosis is a condition that occurs when an inadequate amount of blood flow reaches the bone, the cells die and the bone may collapse. One of the most common places for osteonecrosis to occur is in the hip joint.

  1. Snapping Hip Syndrome

Snapping hip syndrome is a word used to describe three distinct hip problems. The first is when the IT band snaps over the outside of the thigh. The second occurs when the deep hip flexor snaps over the front of the hip joint. Finally, tears of the cartilage, or labrum, around the hip socket can cause a snapping sensation.

  1. Hip Labral Tear

The labrum is the cartilage that surrounds the hip joint. The purpose of the labrum is to hold the ball of the thighbone firmly in the hip’s socket. Trauma, repetitive motions, and hereditary conditions can all cause painful tears in the labrum. Hip labral tears are being recognized as a cause of pain and catching sensations in the joint. Often hip arthroscopy is a treatment option.

  1. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures of the hip are most common in athletes who participate in high-impact sports, such as long distance runners. Treatment usually is successful by avoiding the impact activities.

  1. Muscle Strains

Strains of the muscles around the hip and pelvis can cause pain and spasm. The most common strains are groin pulls and hamstring strains.

  1. Hip Fracture

Hip fractures are most common in elderly patients with osteoporosis. Treatment of broken hips requires surgery to either replace the broken portion or repairing with a metal plate and screws.

  1. Dislocation

A blunt force trauma such as an automobile accident or sports injury can cause the hip joint to become dislocated, where the ends of the bones become forced from their normal position. Hip dislocation is a very painful injury that can immobilize your hip joint, making walking near impossible. If you believe that you have dislocated your hip, seek medical attention at once.

When Should You Seek Treatment?

Always consult your physician for personal medical advice, however here are common times to seek help:

  • The hip pain came on suddenly.
  • A fall or other injury triggered the hip pain.
  • Your joint looks deformed or are bleeding.
  • You heard a popping noise in the joint when you injured it.
  • If you have hip pain at night or when you are resting.
  • The pain is intense.
  • You notice swelling, redness or warmth around the joint.
  • You can’t put any weight on your hip.
  • You can’t move your leg or hip.

You deserve a pain-free life. If you or someone you love is suffering from hip pain, contact New Mexico Orthpaedics today. Our experienced physicians have the solutions for your hip pain, no matter the cause. Make your appointment today and get on the path to recovery.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

ACL Injuries in Children and Adolescents

ACL Injuries in Children and Adolescents

Article Featured on Nationwide Children’s

It has been frequently emphasized that children are not simply “small adults.” Children and adults are different anatomically and physiologically in many ways. Knee injuries in children and adolescents frequently demonstrate these differences.

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Swollen Ankles and Feet

Swollen Ankles and Feet – Causes & Treatments

Article Featured on WebMD

Swollen ankles and swollen feet are common and usually not cause for concern, particularly if you have been standing or walking a lot. But feet and ankles that stay swollen or are accompanied by other symptoms could signal a serious health problem. We look at some possible causes of foot and ankle swelling and offer advice on when to call the doctor.

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Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy

Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy

Protecting your bone health is easier than you think. Understand how diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Bones play many roles in the body — providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. While it’s important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too.

Why is bone health important?

Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.

How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

What affects bone health?

A number of factors can affect bone health. For example:

  • The amount of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than one alcoholic drink a day for women or two alcoholic drinks a day for men may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Gender. You’re at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re a woman, because women have less bone tissue than do men.
  • Size. You’re at risk if you are extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you might have less bone mass to draw from as you age.
  • Age. Your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
  • Race and family history. You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent. In addition, having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk — especially if you also have a family history of fractures.
  • Hormone levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. Prolonged absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
  • Eating disorders and other conditions. People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss surgery, and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and Cushing’s disease can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
  • Certain medications. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, is damaging to bone. Other drugs that might increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital, and proton pump inhibitors.

What can I do to keep my bones healthy?

You can take a few simple steps to prevent or slow bone loss. For example:

  • Include plenty of calcium in your diet. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70.

    Good sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor about supplements.

  • Pay attention to vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. For adults ages 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older.

    Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as salmon, trout, whitefish and tuna. Additionally, mushrooms, eggs and fortified foods, such as milk and cereals, are good sources of vitamin D. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D. If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.

  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.
  • Avoid substance abuse. Don’t smoke. If you are a woman, avoid drinking more than one alcoholic drink each day. If you are a man, avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day.

Enlist your doctor’s help

If you’re concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, including a recent bone fracture, consult your doctor. He or she might recommend a bone density test. The results will help your doctor gauge your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss. By evaluating this information and your risk factors, your doctor can assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Dr. Tripuraneni Featured in ABQ Magazine 2019 Top Docs!

Congratulations to Dr. Tripuraneni from ABQ The Magazine!

Dr. Tripuraneni Featured in ABQ Magazine 2019 Top Docs!Dr. Krishna Tripuraneni is not just one of the most respected orthopaedic surgeons in New Mexico, his reputation spans the entire country. Perhaps that’s why he was one of the physicians chosen by the Albuquerque Isotopes to be a team doctor.

Krishna Tripuraneni, MD, FAAOS is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacement surgery. After completing his undergraduate and medical degrees at George Washington University, Dr. Tripuraneni completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of New Mexico followed by a fellowship in total joint replacement at Stanford University.

Dr. Tripuraneni views his professional career as an opportunity to assist others and finds a deep satisfaction in facilitating people to lead healthier and happier lives.

His comprehensive, personalized approach and open communication with patients, as well as his desire for patients to return to an improved quality of life are integral in his daily interactions. He makes himself readily available to his patients and his empathetic understanding is vital to their satisfaction. His excellent technical skills, along with his compassionate care are the reasons patients travel from all over the state of New Mexico, as well as neighboring states, to seek his professional opinion.

His clinical care extends beyond joint replacement, as he continues to perform general orthopaedic procedures. Dr. Tripuraneni is involved in clinical research, has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on joint replacement, presented at national meetings, and volunteers his time as a member of national orthopaedic societies.

He is passionate about innovative medical care. He stays up to date with the latest orthopaedic research and integrates this into his practice in order to deliver top-notch clinical and surgical care for his patients. He has spearheaded same-day, outpatient discharges for hip and knee replacements in Albuquerque and is involved in a national, clinical study integrating everyday technology into post-surgical care. His excellent clinical and research care teams manage the numerous intricacies from beginning to end in order to ensure a positive experience for the patient.

Dr. Tripuraneni’s commitment to education extends to the numerous medical students and residents he has mentored over the years. He enjoys being one of the several team physicians for the Albuquerque Isotopes, with the added benefit of enjoying the games with family and friends!

During his free time, Dr. Tripuraneni enjoys sporting activities, staying healthy, traveling and spending time with family.

What can cause pain in the hand or wrist?

What can cause pain in the hand or wrist?

By Zawn Villines | Article Featured on Medical News Today

Hand pain is often the result of a recent injury or from overusing the hand or wrist. However, persistent or reoccurring pain in the hand may be the sign of an underlying condition. In this article, we describe the possible causes of pain in the hand and when to see a doctor.

We also cover some home remedies for hand pain.

Hand injuries

The hands and wrists contain many different bones, joints, and connective tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. Injuries to the hand can damage these structures and lead to pain, swelling, bruising, and other symptoms.

Common causes of hand injuries can include:

  • knocks and blows
  • landing on the hands during a fall
  • jamming a finger
  • bending the fingers or wrist too far backward
  • repetitive strain, such as from long periods of typing, heavy lifting, or playing sports

Finger fractures and dislocations are common types of hand injury. The pain usually feels sudden and intense, and it may develop into throbbing or soreness over the course of several days.

Falls and severe blows can also fracture the wrist, causing sharp pain and swelling. People with fractures may require a cast. Less frequently, a doctor may need to set the bones back into place. Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons are called soft tissue injuries. People with soft tissue injuries do not usually require medical treatment, but ice and elevation can help relieve pain and swelling.

It is also important to rest or immobilize the hand while it recovers. Mallet finger, or baseball finger, is another common hand injury. This injury occurs when a sudden blow, such as from a ball, tears or stretches the extensor tendon in the finger. It can also happen if a person jams or cuts their finger.

A typical sign of mallet finger is a drooping fingertip that will not straighten without help. The finger may also be bruised, swollen, and painful. Splinting the injured finger can help with healing. In some cases, a person may need surgery or physical therapy.

Overuse

Repetitive movements or overuse of the hands and wrists can cause the muscles, tendons, and nerves to become painful, sore, or tense. Pain and tension from muscles in the arms and shoulders can also radiate down to the hands.

This type of pain typically results from carrying out very repetitive or high-intensity activities for long periods of time. Holding the hands in awkward positions for too long can also lead to overuse injuries.

Common causes include:

  • typing or using a computer mouse
  • using tools
  • lifting heavy items
  • playing, or training for, sports

Overuse injuries usually respond well to rest, hot or cold packs, and gentle stretching. Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may also help reduce pain and swelling.

A doctor may also recommend physical therapy or making adjustments to a person’s working and training habits to help prevent reinjury.

Ganglion cyst

Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled lumps that can develop near joints and tendons in the hand and wrist. These cysts can vary size, but they are often harmless and disappear without treatment.

However, they can sometimes be painful and may affect a person’s ability to use their hand or wrist. Researchers do not yet understand what causes ganglion cysts, but they tend to be more common in younger people and females.

Ganglion cysts do not usually require treatment. If a person has pain or difficulties moving a joint, a doctor may recommend draining the cyst or removing it surgically.

Trigger finger

Stenosing tenosynovitis, or “trigger finger,” occurs when the ring of connective tissue called the tendon sheath at the base of a thumb or finger becomes swollen. This swelling can affect the movement of the tendon, making it difficult or painful to move the affected finger or thumb.

A person may also notice a popping sensation when trying to move the finger, or a feeling that the finger is catching on something.

Treatment options for trigger finger may include:

  • resting the finger
  • immobilizing it with a splint
  • taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
  • having steroid injections
  • seeking release of the tendon sheath when the above treatments fail

A doctor may also recommend surgery if other treatments are unsuccessful.

Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a group of conditions that result in unusual growth of connective tissue under the skin or around internal organs. All types of scleroderma can cause the skin of the fingers to thicken and tighten, which can make them difficult to move. Systemic scleroderma can also narrow the blood vessels of the hand, which can lead to pain and tingling.

Scleroderma is a chronic condition with no cure. However, steroids, blood pressure medications, and immunosuppressants can help relieve symptoms and prevent the condition from progressing.

Raynaud’s phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition in which the blood vessels in the fingers or toes temporarily narrow. It often occurs in response to cold temperatures or stress. During a flare-up, blood flow to hands becomes severely reduced. This may cause the fingers to lighten or become blue, and they may feel numb or painful.

When the blood flow begins to return, the hands may appear red or purple. The length of these attacks can vary from less than 1 minute to several hours. Other conditions, such as scleroderma, can cause Raynaud’s phenomenon. However, for most people with Raynaud’s, the cause is unknown.

There is no cure for Raynaud’s. However, making lifestyle changes and taking medications can help prevent flare-ups and reduce their severity. Treating any underlying conditions can also help.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a general term for more than 100 different disorders that cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in joints.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage that protects a joint wears away over time. This wear and tear allows the bones in the joint to rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness.

Another common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues in the joints, which can cause inflammation and pain. Over time, this inflammation can lead to permanent joint damage.

Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including in the hands and wrists. Treatment depends on the type of arthritis, but it can include making lifestyle changes, taking medications, exercising, and seeking physical therapy or occupational therapy.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs through the wrist, becomes compressed or squeezed. Symptoms can start gradually and are often worse at night. They typically include pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause weakness in the affected hand. Some people may experience a loss of proprioception, which is a sense of where the hand is in space.

This condition can get worse with time, so early diagnosis and treatment is important. Treatment options include:

  • making lifestyle changes
  • wearing a splint
  • taking medications, including anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections
  • seeking physical therapy
  • having surgery

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the gradual loss of bone mass, which causes the bones to become weak and brittle. This weakness increases a person’s risk of fracturing or breaking bones, particularly in the wrists and hips. Osteoporosis tends to develop slowly and is more common in females and older people.

Treatment for osteoporosis typically involves:

  • exercising to improve bone health, muscle strength, and mobility
  • taking medications to increase bone strength
  • making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of falls and fractures
  • making dietary changes, such as taking calcium or vitamin D supplements to improve bone health

When to see a doctor

A person should see a doctor for severe, persistent, or reoccurring pain in the hands or wrists.

See a doctor for hand pain that:

  • does not get better with home treatment
  • gets steadily worse
  • does not respond to treatment that a doctor recommends
  • may be due to a fall or other injury
  • occurs along with other symptoms, such as arm pain, a fever, or exhaustion

Go to the emergency room for:

  • intense, sudden, unbearable hand pain
  • a suspected broken wrist or arm
  • a visible injury to the hand that causes very intense pain

Home remedies

Hand pain sometimes gets better with gentle stretching exercises.

To ease pain in the hands or wrists, a person can:

  • Rotate the wrists counter-clockwise and then clockwise. Repeat each movement 10 times.
  • Open the hands as widely as possible, spread the fingers apart, then close the hands into a tight fist. Repeat 10 times.
  • Use one hand to gently extend the fingers of the other hand back toward the chest for a gentle wrist stretch. Repeat five to 10 times.

A doctor or physical therapist may be able to recommend additional hand and wrist stretches.

RICE therapy can help with a range of minor injuries, including hand and wrist pain. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation:

  • Rest. Avoid using the affected hand as much as possible.
  • Ice. Apply an ice or cold pack to the injured hand for 20 minutes several times per day.
  • Compression. Wrap the affected area in a soft bandage, splint, or cast.
  • Elevation. Keep the affected hand raised, such as by using a sling, above heart level.

Other home remedies for hand and wrist pain include:

  • Massage. Try massaging the painful area and surrounding muscles. Sometimes, massaging the arms or shoulders can help with hand pain.
  • Heat. Some pain responds well to heat. Consider alternating between heat and cold packs, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for each.
  • OTC medications. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help with pain and inflammation from a wide variety of conditions.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.