Advanced Orthopedic Care for Complex Conditions
Scripps physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating conditions and injuries of the hand, wrist and elbow, as well as a range of orthopedic hand injuries that can be caused by trauma, overuse or aging.
Scripps is ranked as the best in San Diego for orthopedic care, according to U.S. News & World Report. Scripps orthopedic specialists see more patients than those of any regional health care provider. These are just a few reasons why the San Diego Padres trust Scripps Clinic for the baseball team’s orthopedic, sports medicine and internal medicine needs.
The nationally recognized orthopedic surgeons at Scripps Health are experts at treating a wide range of conditions that affect the hand, wrist and elbow.
Learn more about treatment options for hand, wrist and elbow injuries including non-surgical options, surgery and physical rehabilitation.
Hand, wrist and elbow injuries and conditions
Scripps orthopedic hand specialists and teams diagnose and treat all types of injuries that can affect the hand, wrist or elbow, including:
- Baseball finger, which is an injury to the thin tendon responsible for straightening the end joint of a finger or thumb.
- Bursitis, which is an inflammation of one or more of the major joints, including joints in the elbows.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, in which the median nerve (the nerve responsible for sensation and movement in the hand) is compressed, leading to numbness, weakness or potential muscle damage in the hands and fingers.
- Congenital hand conditions, which can include conditions where the fingers are curved or bent (also called claw hand).
- Crushed or smashed fingers, which involves trauma to one or more fingers.
- Cubital tunnel syndrome, which is the entrapment of the ulnar nerve, resulting in numbness in the little finger and portion of the ring finger.
- Distal biceps tendon tears, in which the tendon connecting the biceps muscle of the upper arm to the elbow ruptures partially or completely.
- Fractures, which are breaks in bones of varying severity, and for the elbow can include olecranon fractures, distal humerus fractures and radial head fractures, among others.
- Joint dislocations, which can include a perilunate dislocation of the wrist.
- Kienböck’s disease, which is a condition when blood supply to one of two small bones in the wrist is interrupted.
- Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, which are characterized by pain on the outside of the elbow (tennis) or inside of the elbow (golf).
- Trigger finger, which occurs when a finger or thumb becomes locked in a bent position when the tunnels, or sheaths, that the tendons move through become inflamed.
- Skier’s thumb, in which the ligament at the base of the thumb is torn.
- Tendinitis, which is an inflammation of tendons that can be caused by overuse and includes De Quervain’s tendinitis, a condition affecting the thumb.
- Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries, in which the ligament inside the elbow connecting the upper arm (humerus) with the forearm (ulna) is torn partially or completely.
- Ulnar nerve dysfunction (cubital tunnel syndrome), in which the ulnar nerve is compressed by bone or soft tissue. Symptoms can include numbness and tingling in the elbow, little finger and/or ring finger, as well as potential weakness and function of the hand.
- Ulnar neuritis, which is a condition characterized by pain similar to electrical shocks passing from the inner elbow (“funny bone”) to the forearm.
- Valgus extension overload (VEO), which is when cartilage of the elbow is gradually worn away from repeated throwing motions, resulting in bone spurs.
Hand, Wrist and Elbow Injury Treatments at Scripps
Orthopedic treatment available at Scripps for conditions affecting the hand, wrist and elbow include:
Non-surgical methods including:
- Anti-inflammatory injections or other prescription medications.
- Hand therapy and rehabilitation, which can be provided as a primary treatment or following a surgical procedure with the goal of helping patients regain strength and full range of motion.
- Carpal tunnel surgery, in which a surgeon cuts the tendon that’s been putting pressure on the median nerve.
- Minimally invasive surgery, in which a surgeon makes repairs through small incisions and the use of a tiny camera called an arthroscope.
- Wrist arthroscopy, which is surgery for the reconstruction or replacement of the wrist.
- Tendon transfer surgery, which is a procedure that aims to restore wrist function for patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury.
- Reconstructive elbow surgery, including UCL reconstruction (“Tommy John surgery”), in which a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow is rebuilt using a tendon tissue from somewhere else in the body or from a donor.
- Total elbow replacement, in which the elbow joint is replaced with artificial parts inserted into the end of the upper arm bone (humerus) and outer forearm bone (ulna).
- Tennis elbow surgery, which is typically an outpatient minimally invasive procedure performed through small incisions in which the damaged tendon is removed or repaired.
- Replantation, which is the surgical reattachment of a finger or fingers completely severed from the body in a traumatic accident.
- Hand plastic surgery, which is a cosmetic reconstructive procedure that can be part of a treatment plan for traumatic orthopedic hand or wrist injuries.
Sports and physical therapy
Scripps offers several sports and physical therapy options for San Diego with facilities in North County, South Bay, Central San Diego and La Jolla. Sports and physical therapy services are provided at more than half a dozen locations by a team of experts using the latest techniques and technologies to help patients regain strength and mobility to get back in the game. Specially trained Scripps rehabilitation specialists provide hand therapy.