We rarely think about the complex system of bones, nerves, muscles, and tendons that work together to enable our hands to move. Yet many of our daily activities push our hands to the very limit of their design and require moving our hands in ways that they were not designed to move. Also called Repetitive Strain Injury or Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI for short), repetitive motion injuries to the hand, including the thumb, wrist, fingers, and elbows, occur when a repeated motion causes irritation, swelling, weakness, limited range of motion, and discomfort. In some cases, repetitive injuries can lead to well-known, easily diagnosed conditions such as carpel tunnel syndrome, De Quervains syndrome, tenosynovitis, and bursitis, but in other cases, pain may be the only symptom. If left untreated, RSIs can develop into seriously debilitating conditions that significantly impair quality of life.
If you are experiencing discomfort in any part of your hand, wrist, or elbow during regular workplace or recreational activities, it is critical to seek immediate medical advice from a specialized medical practitioner. Dr. Asaf Yalif, lead surgeon at Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is triple Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery, and Orthopedic Surgery, and takes a proactive and unique approach to recreation- and workplace-related soft tissue injuries. With offices located in Atlanta, Roswell, Woodstock, GA, Dr. Yalif offers a boutique-style, patient-friendly surgical practice where you will find lasting solutions to your repetitive motion injuries, with treatments custom-tailored to return your fingers and hands to their optimal, pain-free range of motion and function.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON REPETITIVE MOTION INJURIES?
Repetitive motion injuries of the hand, wrist, or elbow can be caused by any repeated motion of the fingers, hand, or wrist, however, the most common causes today are listed below. Treatment for repetitive stress injury usually begins with lifestyle changes, rest, and physical therapy, and may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Injections with cortisone may also be indicated. In cases of severe damage, surgery may be required to offer long-term relief and prevent further degeneration.
- Tool Usage: Many common tools present a high risk of repetitive injury, especially when coupled with prolonged exposure to cold, including tools that make the wrist bend or twist, are heavy or improperly balanced, expose the hand to prolonged vibration, dig into the soft tissues of the hand or fingers, require significant and/or repeated trigger pressure with one or more fingers, have finger grooves on the handle, and blow cold exhaust onto the hands.
- Computer/Keyboard/Mousepad Use: Typing on a small, flat keyboard, gripping a mouse, and engaging the thumb-activated touchpad for multiple hours per day requires repeated use of the fingers and thumb in a three-dimensional pattern. Symptoms of computer-induced RSI include tightness, discomfort, soreness, or a burning sensation in the hands, wrist, or fingers, tingling or numbness in the hands or fingers, loss of strength or coordination in the hands.
- Gamer’s Thumb/Texting Thumb: Caused by the repetitive use of the thumb in a three-dimensional, rotational motion, symptoms include pain and an occasional popping sound on the outside of the thumb or near the wrist, as well as a decrease in grip strength and/or range of motion. This condition may be a form of either tendonitis, tenosynovitis, or a combination of both, depending on the location and extent of inflammation and irritation.
- Golfing injuries to the hand and wrist: The most common wrist injury for golfers is inflammation of the tendons in the wrist (tendonitis). Another common injury is fracture of the hook of the hamate (a small bone in the wrist), caused by the club striking the ground too hard. Symptoms include pain in the heel of the little finger, as well as numbness and tingling in the ring finger. If left untreated, the tendons crossing the fractured bone may fray and rupture.
- Golfer’s Elbow: Also called medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow is caused by inflammation and irritation of the tendons on the inside of the elbow that help flex the hand and pronate the wrist. It is usually caused by a repeated swinging motion as is common in golf, but can also be caused by heavy lifting and hammering.
- Tennis Elbow: Acute or chronic inflammation of the tendons that run along the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondyle), usually caused by repetitive use of the exterior muscles of the forearm; however, trauma caused by direct blows to the epicondyle, a sudden and forceful pull, or forceful extension has also been found to cause tennis elbow.
CONTACT Y PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY
Dr. Asaf Yalif, lead surgeon at Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is uniquely qualified to provide advanced, cutting-edge surgical treatment options for degenerative or traumatic hand and upper extremity issues. The only surgeon in the Atlanta area specializing in the rare combination of hand and plastic surgery, Dr. Yalif is triple Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery, and Orthopedic Surgery. His unique perspective on soft tissue, joint, and bone-related conditions of the hand, fingers, wrist, and elbow enables him to offer a variety of medical and surgical options unavailable at traditional orthopedic practices. Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is a friendly, welcoming boutique medical practice where cutting-edge surgical techniques are coupled with an emphasis on the patient experience; whether you are dealing with a traumatic injury or a long-standing degenerative disease, Dr. Yalif will take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to ensure that your hands can work as hard as you do!
Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has offices conveniently located in Atlanta, Roswell, and Woodstock, Georgia. If you have been diagnosed with a repetitive motion injury in the fingers, thumb, wrist, or elbow and are interested in learning how Dr. Yalif can help, or would like information on the surgical options available at Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we encourage you to contact us today for an initial consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!