Hand, Wrist & Elbow Injuries & Disorders

We treat all kinds of injuries and disorders to help you get the strength and mobility you need

Injuries and disorders of the hand, wrist and elbow span a wide range. Five of the most common ones treated by experts at Indiana University Health include:

  • Fractures of the hand and wrist
  • Arthritis
  • Tendon injuries
  • Carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes
  • Pediatric hand conditions

Our orthopedics experts offer a high level of training and experience in disorders of the hand, wrist and elbow. Physicians provide expertise, as fellowship-trained and experienced in very rare disorders. They specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis and recommended treatment of hand, wrist and elbow disorders.

Overview

Our orthopedics experts offer a high level of training and experience in disorders of the hand, wrist and elbow. Physicians provide expertise, as fellowship-trained and experienced in very rare disorders. They specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis and recommended treatment of hand, wrist and elbow disorders.

Fractures of the Hand & Wrist

Sports injuries and traumas such as falls and automobile accidents frequently cause broken bones in the hand and wrist. Such fractures can affect any of the many bones in your hand and wrist and can often involve multiple bones.

As with many orthopedic conditions, X-rays help diagnose and reveal the extent of the injury to your bones. Often a cast or splint can set such fractures. However, you displaced your bone or if you have a visible deformity of the hand or wrist, you may need surgery to correct the problem.

Arthritis

The loss of the natural cushion of cartilage between bones results in arthritis. When arthritis occurs in the hand and wrist, you feel pain and decreasing mobility of the joints, particularly the fingers. Your physician will aim to reduce pain and help you regain some or all mobility of your joints.

Depending on the location, splinting and injections of anti-inflammatory drugs can often carry out these goals. In other cases, you need surgery. Surgery cannot remove the arthritis, but it can smooth some of the damage it causes and thus improve mobility and reduce pain.

Tendon Injuries

Tendon injuries fall into two basic categories: tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon) and cut or damaged tendons. Tendonitis includes tennis elbow. Because tendonitis results from a repetitive motion, treatment often includes rest, bracing, stretches and injections of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Occupational therapy may also train you to move the joint differently and avoid further inflammation. If the inflammation continues despite other treatment your physician may recommend surgery. When you damage or cut a tendon, however, non-surgical treatments do not help. These injuries usually require surgery to repair the damage.

Carpal & Cubital Tunnel Syndromes

The carpal and cubital tunnels located in the wrist and elbow provide tunnels where nerves pass through naturally constricted areas. This constriction can inflame and press on the nerve. It can result in numbness and tingling.

Often, you wake at night with these symptoms. Treatment of these disorders includes improving the ergonomics of your workplace and splinting the affected joint. Surgery sometimes helps as well to make room within the tunnel for the nerve to pass without compression.

Pediatric Hand Conditions

Sometimes children have unusual formations in their hands at birth, such as an extra finger or the lack of a thumb. Surgical treatment for these conditions helps allow the child to develop normal use of the affected hand.

IU Health physicians who specialize in hand, wrist and elbow care also treat injuries to children’s hands, a sub-specialty not seen in many hand surgery groups.

Diagnoses & Treatments

Fractures of the Hand & Wrist

Sports injuries and traumas such as falls and automobile accidents frequently cause broken bones in the hand and wrist. Such fractures can affect any of the many bones in your hand and wrist and can often involve multiple bones.

As with many orthopedic conditions, X-rays help diagnose and reveal the extent of the injury to your bones. Often a cast or splint can set such fractures. However, you displaced your bone or if you have a visible deformity of the hand or wrist, you may need surgery to correct the problem.

Arthritis

The loss of the natural cushion of cartilage between bones results in arthritis. When arthritis occurs in the hand and wrist, you feel pain and decreasing mobility of the joints, particularly the fingers. Your physician will aim to reduce pain and help you regain some or all mobility of your joints.

Depending on the location, splinting and injections of anti-inflammatory drugs can often carry out these goals. In other cases, you need surgery. Surgery cannot remove the arthritis, but it can smooth some of the damage it causes and thus improve mobility and reduce pain.

Tendon Injuries

Tendon injuries fall into two basic categories: tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon) and cut or damaged tendons. Tendonitis includes tennis elbow. Because tendonitis results from a repetitive motion, treatment often includes rest, bracing, stretches and injections of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Occupational therapy may also train you to move the joint differently and avoid further inflammation. If the inflammation continues despite other treatment your physician may recommend surgery. When you damage or cut a tendon, however, non-surgical treatments do not help. These injuries usually require surgery to repair the damage.

Carpal & Cubital Tunnel Syndromes

The carpal and cubital tunnels located in the wrist and elbow provide tunnels where nerves pass through naturally constricted areas. This constriction can inflame and press on the nerve. It can result in numbness and tingling.

Often, you wake at night with these symptoms. Treatment of these disorders includes improving the ergonomics of your workplace and splinting the affected joint. Surgery sometimes helps as well to make room within the tunnel for the nerve to pass without compression.

Pediatric Hand Conditions

Sometimes children have unusual formations in their hands at birth, such as an extra finger or the lack of a thumb. Surgical treatment for these conditions helps allow the child to develop normal use of the affected hand.

IU Health physicians who specialize in hand, wrist and elbow care also treat injuries to children’s hands, a sub-specialty not seen in many hand surgery groups.

IU Health physicians conduct extensive research with the Indiana University School of Medicine. In general, their research has consisted of comparing outcomes of treatments for various disorders, and developing new treatments. They have conducted research on a number of conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Tendon injuries
  • Pediatric hand conditions
  • Muscoskeletal tumors

Research

IU Health physicians conduct extensive research with the Indiana University School of Medicine. In general, their research has consisted of comparing outcomes of treatments for various disorders, and developing new treatments. They have conducted research on a number of conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Tendon injuries
  • Pediatric hand conditions
  • Muscoskeletal tumors

Patient Stories for Hand, Wrist & Elbow Injuries & Disorders

You can access information on hand, wrist and elbow injuries and disorders at the following external websites:

Resources

You can access information on hand, wrist and elbow injuries and disorders at the following external websites: