We use our hands to work, play, care for others and ourselves. When an injury impairs hand mobility, it can not only cause physical pain, it can significantly affect quality of life. Carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger and arthritis are among the most common chronic conditions of the arm, wrist and hand. Traumatic injury and masses, among other conditions, also commonly need surgical treatment. Many conditions of the hand may worsen over time unless they are treated by a specialist.
Our hand surgeons can offer relief to people with conditions that have limited the use of their hands—and limited their lives. We will develop a treatment plan for you only after we have discussed all the options, including potential benefits and risks. We want you to feel confident about the decisions you make concerning your health and well-being.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the median nerve within the hand and wrist. It occurs when there is too much pressure on the nerve, which can cause pain, weakness and a tingling sensation.
If you have this condition, you might notice that repetitive motions with your hand can aggravate the involved nerve. Avoiding certain activities can sometimes bring you short-term relief, but it may not stop progression of the disease. If untreated for too long, permanent nerve injury can result. For this reason, it is important to seek consultation soon after the onset of symptoms. For some people non-surgical treatment is helpful. When surgery is necessary, carpal tunnel release is a safe and reliable option which can offer substantial relief.
People with trigger finger may have one finger that gets locked or stuck in a bent position, or they find that the affected finger snaps or pops when it is flexed or bent — these symptoms are called “triggering.” The affected finger may also feel sore or stiff. Interestingly, sometimes soreness is the only symptom, and classic “triggering” is absent. In some people, the condition begins as moderately inconvenient and then progresses to become more painful and problematic.
This condition, also called stenosing tenosynovitis, can happen to any finger and may occur in both hands. When it affects the thumb, it’s called trigger thumb.
Our specialists can offer you a range of treatment options, including in-office steroid injections or sometimes surgery, depending on the severity of your condition. We’ll work with you to determine the treatment that best suits you and your lifestyle.
Advances in Hand Surgery
Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand injuries can be treated with an innovative protocol called “wide awake local anesthesia no tourniquet,” or WALANT for short. We offer specialists who are skilled at using this procedure to treat people seeking relief from some types of hand injury. A safe alternative to traditional surgery, a WALANT procedure uses only local anesthesia and can be done in an office setting. As a result, WALANT surgery can mean reduced medical costs and shortened recovery time. While this treatment method has many benefits, it’s not for everyone. Surgery under sedation or general anesthesia is still widely available for patients who need it.
Conditions & Treatments
Our nationally recognized surgeons are dedicated to focusing on your unique hand surgery needs and the following conditions:
- Distal radius fracture
- Scaphoid fracture
- Hand ischemia (poor blood flow to the hand)
- Cancer of the arm and hand
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lipoma and other mass removal on the hand or wrist
- Pain of the arm, wrist and fingers
- Loss of hand or finger function
- Numbness and tingling
- Underdeveloped hands or fingers at birth
- Overgrowth or undergrowth of hands or fingers at birth
- Syndactyly of the hand (fused fingers)
- Polydactyly of the hand (finger duplication)
- Radial club hand
- Ulnar club hand
- Cleft hand
- Hand trauma and other injuries
- Infected or non-healing hand wounds
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Hand fractures
- Dupuytren’s disease
- Burn scar contracture
- Scaphoid non-union
- Kienbock’s disease
- Bone tumors in arms and hands
- Golfer’s elbow
- Tennis elbow
- Joint replacement for severe hand arthritis
- Nerve decompression (carpal tunnel release, cubital tunnel release)
- Tendon transfer
- Digital (finger) replantation
- Toe transplant for severed thumb
Why Choose Us?
Our team of specialists has undergone extensive training and achieved a wide range of experience in advanced hand and wrist treatment options. For example, Kelly Currie, MD, offers WALANT surgery, a type of surgery that can help people return to their lives more quickly than traditional surgery. She and her colleagues are skilled in caring for the entire range of arm, wrist and hand surgery from nail infection to hand replantation. Our subspecialists are experts in nerve surgery, complex bony conditions, arthritis, traumatic and oncologic reconstruction, and more. Together, they make up a team of world-class hand surgeons.
What to Expect
Once you request an appointment, our scheduling team will call you to set up your initial consultation. Your first meeting with one of our specialists will include a comprehensive evaluation of your condition. Our goal will be to find a treatment that fits your lifestyle and addresses your discomfort.
Our hand surgeons meet with adult patients in the Center for Advanced Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and work closely with therapists at Washington University’s Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center. Patients typically meet with their surgeon and therapist during the same appointment for more convenient and collaborative care.
Children with hand injuries or congenital conditions are treated at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.