Hot vs Cold: When to Ice or Heat an Injury

A common question doctors and physical therapists often hear from patients is whether to use hot or cold therapy on an injury. Both are inexpensive and extremely effective modalities that can assist in healing and speeding up recovery.

Hot Treatments
Heat can come in the form of heated packs, warm compresses, hot baths, or other forms of hydrotherapy. These hot therapies warm up the skin and tissue, which stimulates blood flow in the affected area. Increased blood flow improves range of motion and flexibility by delivering oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and joints. By reducing tension, muscles can relax, which helps to relieve pain. Gentle stretching and other anaerobic exercises performed at home can also increase the treatment’s effectiveness. People beginning physical or occupational therapy sessions typically benefit most from hot treatments.

Cold Treatments
Ice packs, gel packs, cold wraps, cold baths, or other forms of hydrotherapy are all viable options for cold therapy. By cooling the skin and soft tissues, inflammation is reduced, slowing down blood flow and preventing swelling in the affected area. Following exercise or therapy, cold treatments are particularly effective. People who suffer from sprains, strains, fractures, or other injuries generally benefit most from cold therapy. Also, cold treatments are useful for reducing arthritis swelling.

While both treatments are beneficial in certain instances, it is imperative to mind the following safety tips before applying either therapy.

  1. Never place either treatment directly on the skin. Always use a thin towel or cloth between the hot or cold application and your skin to act as a barrier.
  2. Always treat the affected area for 15 minutes or less. Remove the application and let your skin normalize to room temperature (about 10 minutes) before re-applying the treatment. Never fall asleep or leave either hot or cold treatment on your skin for a prolonged period.
  3. Check the temperature before applying it to your skin. Hot treatments should not be scalding, and cold should be barely uncomfortable but not unbearable.
  4.  While undergoing treatment, check your skin every five minutes to ensure there is no excessive redness, swelling, burning, freezing, or overall inadequate sensations.

For more information about hot or cold therapy or to speak with someone who can advise whether either treatment would be right for you, call the specialists at MI Hand & Wrist today.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Four Common Types of Hand Tumors

Tumors within the hand can be many different shapes and sizes. Technically, tumors can be cancerous, but most are benign. Common hand and wrist tumors are both above and below the skin.

Warts
These extremely common bumps are non-cancerous and spread due to the human papillomavirus (HPV) easily. Warts are mostly harmless but can be embarrassing, rough or dry, and itchy. Many wart-removal procedures exist, and it is possible to remove them at home effectively. Pumice stones, over-the-counter freezing kits, or certain chemicals are all viable options.

Ganglion Cysts
Some of the most common tumors in the hand, ganglion cysts, can fluctuate in size and appearance. They might be soft or firm, appearing on the wrist or base of a finger. Sometimes these cysts can appear to be smaller than a pea. The cause of these tumors is unknown, and they might be painful. Treatment options include aspiration or surgical removal.

Giant Cell Tumors
The second most common tumors are usually solid and not filled with liquid. Over time, they may slowly grow larger. These tumors are not cancerous.

Epidermal Inclusion
Also benign, these tumors can form where a cut or puncture previously occurred. A soft, waxy material called keratin is what makes up most of the tumor.

One condition that is commonly mistaken for a tumor is Dupuytren’s contracture. This condition causes firm pits, bumps, and cords in the palm, making it difficult to flatten completely. However, it is not technically a tumor.

A specialist should examine hand or wrist tumors to ensure they are benign. Hand surgeons can help devise treatment options through x-rays or bone scans. While sometimes the best option is to leave it alone, other times surgery might be required. There are also many non-surgical options.  

To make an appointment with a hand and wrist specialist to examine a tumor or growth, contact the Michigan Hand & Wrist experts today.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Tips to Avoid Winter Sports Injuries

Chilly weather means the start of winter sports for many athletes. While most people generally associate sports injuries with warmer months, realistically, they can happen any time. It is essential to understand what to do if you find yourself in a situation that might result in bodily harm.

Sledding
For many of us, this pastime seems harmless; however, the dangers of sledding are linked to running into objects at high speeds or falling off the sled. Concussions and broken bones are common results of these accidents.

  • Wear a helmet
  • Ensure your path is totally clear
  • Face forward in a seated position; do not glide down the hill head-first
  • Sled during the day or in well-lit areas at night
  • For extra protection and warmth, pile on layers of clothing

Skiing & Snowboarding
Zipping down a hill at lightning-fast speeds with little to no protection can be an accident waiting to happen. Many body parts are at risk of injury while skiing or snowboarding.

  • Learn the proper form and technique before you take to the slopes
  • Fit your gear adequately and wear a helmet
  • Choose ski runs that are appropriate for your ability
  • Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks if you are tired
  • Stretch before hitting the slopes
  • Avoid using your arms to break your fall

Ice Skating
Enjoyed by figure skaters and hobbyists alike, ankle sprains, fractures, wrist and hand injuries, along with ACL tears are frequently found on the rink.

  • Ensure your skates fit properly
  • Stretch before skirting across the ice
  • Pay attention to your balance and maintain correct posture
  • Avoid performing tricks unless you have been adequately trained
  • Watch for ice chips, cracks, and other hazards
  • Protect your hands and wrists by keeping them near your body when falling
  • Wear a helmet as a learning beginner

Ice Hockey
This sport often involves collisions with other players, pucks, sticks, boards, plexiglass, and more. Injuries resulting from ice hockey include sprains, tears, strains, fractures, dislocations, concussions, muscle pulls, broken teeth, spine injuries, and muscle pulls. The list of damages done to your body can be extensive, so it is imperative to take the proper precautions.

  • Wear all protective equipment, making sure none of it is damaged
  • Master basic ice skating skills (forward, backward, quick stop, etc.)
  • Stretch and warm up before play
  • Stay hydrated and ensure you are in good physical condition
  • Know where to look: understand the rules of ice hockey
  • Treat injuries as soon as possible
  • Before a collision, avoid leading with your head or arms

Winter sports injuries can be preventable despite being fairly common. Follow safety guidelines to prevent getting hurt while still having fun.

If your hands or wrists have been injured during a sporting event, contact the specialists at MI Hand & Wrist today for a full evaluation and treatment plan.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Causes of Hand & Wrist Pain

Our hands and wrists are often an afterthought when it comes to self-care. Many people are not proactive in protecting their extremities from damage despite the fact that they are vital to a number of daily activities. Fine motor functions wouldn’t be possible without our hand-eye coordination; thus, pain in the area can easily affect your overall quality of life. Read on to discover some common culprits of hand and wrist pain and how to manage them.

Arthritis: osteoarthritis is when cartilage (cushions for your bones) deteriorates over time. It is typically uncommon in the wrist, though it may occur in those who have suffered injuries in the past. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the tissues. The wrists are commonly susceptible and both are usually involved. Basal (thumb) arthritis is recognized by pain at the thumb base and can be treated with splints, injections, and reconstructive surgery.

Tendonitis: an inflammation of the tendons, which connects muscle to bone. It is caused by repetitive use or sudden injury. Symptoms consist of pain in the tendon area, swelling, and loss of motion. Treatments include ice, rest, immobilization, and anti-inflammatory medications. Steroid injections are also sometimes recommended.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: affecting almost eight million people in America, this syndrome is marked by a numbness and tingling in the hand/arm, which is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. Symptoms include hand numbness, pin-and-needles sensation, wrist pain, and cramping. Splints are recommended in order to give the wrists a break, but anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery can be treatments as well.

Trigger finger: recognized when the tendons in the fingers or thumb become stuck in a bent position. Pain, popping sensation when using specific fingers, and stiffness are common symptoms. Treatment consists of immobilization, anti-inflammatory medication, restricting activities, and steroid injections.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: numb or tingling sensations in the ring and small fingers, forearm, and/or weakness in the hand are signs of this syndrome. Avoiding actions that cause the syndrome can help reduce symptoms. Wrapping a pillow or towel loosely around the elbow can help, as can wearing a splint at night while sleeping. Surgery is sometimes recommended in severe cases.

Ganglion Cyst: commonly found on the underside of wrists. Usually benign, they can quickly grow and change in size. Bigger cysts can be painful or limit wrist movement. Repetitive movements can cause the cysts to grow, while rest can help them subside. In severe cases, immobilization or non-surgical draining of the fluid is recommended. If the cyst returns, minor surgery for a full removal is sometimes required.

Repetitive Strain Injury: muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments are affected, caused by improper technique or overuse of the fingers, hands, and wrists. More than three million cases per year are reported in America. Anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy are most commonly prescribed.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: marked pain on the thumb side of your wrist, swelling near the base of the thumb, inability to make a fist, strenuous to grasp objects, or difficulty moving the thumb. Treated with over-the-counter medications or steroids to reduce swelling, the exact cause hasn’t been proven.

For proper diagnosis of any of the above syndromes or diseases, contact the specialists at Michigan Hand & Wrist today. We not only diagnose, but we can also help you manage your symptoms and live pain-free.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Ultrasound Guidance Following Carpal Tunnel Surgery Leads to Quicker Relief

Faster and longer-term relief from carpal tunnel can be achieved by using ultrasound-guided release. This treatment makes carpal tunnel release surgery safer and less-invasive than conventional open or endoscopic surgeries. Improvements in hand function and comfortability are also possible with ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release (UGCTR.)

Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital investigated the long-term implications of UGCTR. They found patients had sustained improvements due to the smaller incisions and faster recovery up to one-year post-surgery.

Sarah I. Kamel, M.D., Assistant Professor of Radiology, said, “Our study demonstrates that ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release can be performed safely, with high patient satisfaction and significant long-term relief. The rapid post-operative recovery and longstanding relief of symptoms suggest that ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release may be advantageous to traditional surgical methods of transverse carpal ligament transection.”

Patients were required to fill out three questionnaires designed to assess their hand’s pain and function levels. Researchers used this data as a tool to measure and judge the outcomes. The patients provided answers pre-procedure, two-weeks post-procedure, and 1.7 years later. 

While two patients required follow-up surgery within eight to ten days following the first procedure, no patients experienced immediate complications. The team made two adjustments to avoid these outcomes in the future. They now include more extensive pre-procedural cleaning that extends around the forearm prior to draping. They perform two passes of the ligament transection to potentially decrease the risk of remnant tissue that may contribute to incomplete release.

These results point to the UGCTR procedure’s efficacy, but future investigations into follow-up and cost analysis are necessary. “Ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release quickly improves hand function and reduces hand discomfort, with persistent improvement at one year. Ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release may be a safe, effective, and less-invasive alternative to traditional open or endoscopic surgery, particularly in patients for whom traditional surgery may be high-risk or contraindicated,” said the team.

For more information on ultrasound guidance following carpal tunnel surgery, read the full journal report by the American Journal of Roentgenology. For carpal tunnel guidance, contact the professionals at Michigan Hand & Wrist today.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.