Like most of us, you probably don’t realize how much you use your hands, day in and day out – until arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive use injury or other hand or wrist conditions start limiting your life.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone: The incidence of arthritis in the hands and wrists is significant and likely to rise along with the aging population. Already, the Arthritis Foundation estimates that one out of every five Americans suffers from some form of the disease—an umbrella term for around 100 different inflammatory joint conditions—making it the number one cause of disability nationwide. While arthritis can affect any joint, the hands and wrists—home to nearly a quarter of the body’s bones—are especially hard hit.
Fortunately, modern medicine offers many different treatments and approaches to managing pain and improving mobility, regardless of the cause.
“Minimally invasive surgery and specialized therapy can reduce pain and restore function, often with short recovery times,” says Derek Masden, MD, a hand specialist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “But teamwork is critical in treating the delicate nerves, bones, tendons and soft tissues of the hands and wrists. For us, the hand is not just a focus, but an area of dedicated expertise.”
While the list of conditions affecting the hand and wrist is long, so too is the list of available treatments. In addition to minimally invasive and traditional surgeries, today’s most common options include:
• Physical therapy
• Lifestyle changes
Regardless of the approach, the desired result is the same: reducing pain and helping patients get on with their lives.
“A major way we interact with the world is through our hands,” says Dr. Masden. “I like to take something that’s broken, put it back together and make it whole again.”
For more information on conditions and treatments, visit MedStar Washington Hospital Center.