Tag Archives: carpal tunnel

THUMBS UP ON EASING YOUR THUMB PAIN

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At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we are often asked, “My thumb hurts, is this part of aging? Must I live with it or can something be done?” The good news is a resounding YES THERE IS HELP and treatment is typically non-invasive.

Thumb pain is common among females over the age of 50. It can occur as a result of several factors: family history, repetitive pinching, twisting and turning activities, and history of trauma to the thumb. One of the most common joints in the hand to develop osteoarthritis is the thumb. In osteoarthritis there is gradual reduction of joint space. As we continue use of our hands, small muscles around the basal joint of the thumb work hard to compensate for instability. Ligaments also tend to show changes. The wear and tear of the joint exacerbates pain intensity resulting in patients modifying the way they pinch and/or delegating activities or worse, simply giving up on activities they enjoy.

Symptoms of thumb arthritis can be pain with pinching or gripping activities. Usually patients experience pain while turning keys/door knobs, writing or typing, and opening jars or lids. Pain might also occur during rest.

Treatment for thumb arthritis can be operative or non-operative. Non-operative measures could include cortisone injection for pain reduction or a consultation with a hand therapist.

At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, hand therapy consultation includes comprehensive evaluation to understand the activities that cause pain. It also includes measuring the range of motion and strength in both hands. Your hand therapist might fabricate a customized brace to rest the affected joints. Patient education is the most important part of treatment. Our hand therapists will educate you on various pain management strategies, activity modification, or a customized brace to immobilize the wear and tear on the joints. If range of motion is affected we can teach stretching and dynamic stabilization exercises to strengthen the small muscles of hand. Additionally, there are joint protection techniques to reduce stress in the affected joints.

Success of conservative management depends on several factors such as intensity of the arthritis and patient compliance in following through with the therapist recommendations.

Don’t give up on your thumb discomfort. Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has Certified Hand Therapists in all of our three locations.  Check out our website at www.SOA.md where you may make an appointment online or call 941-951-2663. We offer same day appointments when necessary.

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What do YOUR hands say?

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Our hands are an intricate marvel of the human body. With 27 bones in each hand and wrist it’s no surprise so much can go wrong for so many people.

We often think of injuries to athletes or common clumsy mishaps when a hand is injured. It’s not just athletes who come to us for problems with their hands and wrists. Every day, people of all backgrounds share challenges of pain in the hand or wrist. Think about the different occupations that might develop some form of hand/wrist pain and how it could affect their lives:

  • String musicians
  • Administrative workers using laptops
  • Cashiers using a laser scanner at check-out
  • Custodians
  • Homemakers
  • Gardeners/Landscapers
  • Mechanics & assembly workers
  • Accountants
  • Butchers
  • Food preppers

In reality, we are all at risk for hand or wrist issues at some point in our lives. One of the more common complaints we see at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a result of overuse and presents with a tingly feeling or numbness, typically a result of pressure on a nerve in the wrist. Tendinitis will appear with a weakness, discomfort, and/or limited movement. DeQuervain’s has the tendons swollen on the thumb side of the wrist. Trigger Finger presents on a finger that is difficult to bend or straighten and you may see a bump on the palm near the affected finger. You may have heard the condition Dupuytren’s, which a fibrous thickening of tissue causing a finger (or fingers) to curl up. Let’s not forget cysts and arthritis.  Oh my … so many things to go wrong!

hand-trigger   hand-arthritis         hand-cyst

Not all hand conditions require treatment, particularly if there is no associated pain or impairment to your daily activity. It’s always a good idea to be safe and see a physician if you have a specific concern. Ultimately, when you do need treatment, not to worry, we have you covered. Gregory Farino, MD is our hand and wrist physician treating hand/wrist disorders in conjunction with our Certified Hand Therapists at each of our three locations. Our commitment at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life!

IS MODERN TECHNOLGY CREATING NEW PHYSICAL AILMENTS?

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We are often warned about the dangers of driving and walking while texting. A while ago, we blogged about “Candy Crush Thumb”. These common activities have sent far too many people to their physicians and worse, emergency rooms. What’s next?

The newest ailments are plentiful: Selfie Hand, Text Claw, Selfie Elbow, and Text Thumb. Say what?

It is estimated that over the course of their lifetime, Millennials will have taken a staggering amount of over 25,000 selfies. Yes, you read that correctly … 25,000 per Millennial. That repetitive action develops physical challenges in the hand and wrist and it’s not from what you would think. The weight of the phone is not the issue; it’s the position of the hand, wrist, fingers, and even the elbow that compromise muscles, tendons, and ligaments. More commonly, this is referred to as “repetitive strain”.

Some may say that using a selfie stick avoids inflammation of the hand and wrist, however, this may cause other complications in the elbow, wrist, arm, shoulders, and neck from extending the arm frequently.

selfie-athlete

Most of us cannot imagine limiting our smart phone time or disconnecting so what’s the answer to avoiding a generation of these future ailments? Here are some suggestions however, as with any new activity, check first with your physician:

  • Use voice dictation when sending a text or email from your phone.
  • Do a “prayer stretch” by placing palms together under the chin and pulling hands down toward the waist keeping them close to the chest.
  • Push palms up above the chest and down toward your shoulders several times; using an 8 ounce water bottle or soup can may help strengthen muscles.
  • Icing the inflamed area may relieve discomfort.
  • Shoulder and wrist rolls may help your muscles from fatiguing.

If you do suffer from chronic pain in your hands, wrist, elbow, shoulder, or neck it may be time to see a physician who specializes in hand and wrist ailments. At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have highly skilled upper extremity and hand/wrist Orthopedic Physicians, as well as experienced Occupational Therapists and Certified Hand Therapists, to help you alleviate your discomfort. Check out our website at www.SOA.md where you can make an appointment at any of our four locations directly via the home page, or give us a call at 941-951-2663. We offer same day appointments when necessary.

Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life!

WHEN A HAND NEEDS A HAND

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There are 206 bones in the adult body and 27 of them are in the hand and wrist. So it is understandable that most people will suffer a broken bone to the hand or wrist during their lifetime. These injuries can be debilitating since they can inhibit normal functions of the hand, while adversely impacting normal, daily activities. The frequency of hand and wrist use allows for a constant opportunity for injury.

Most disorders of the hand and wrist can be treated non-surgically with splints, injections or physical therapy. However, traumatic injuries to the hand can cause nerve, artery, vein, muscle, tendon, ligament and joint cartilage problems. Sometimes more severe injuries will require joint replacement.

While there are numerous elbow problems and conditions, tennis elbow seems to be the most common and well known. Many elbow conditions can be treated conservatively without surgery. When surgery is needed, minimally invasive arthroscopy permits the orthopedist to treat the problem resulting in small incisions, less pain and an early return to activities.

Utilizing the advancement of medicine and technology, Sarasota Orthopedic Associates’ hand, wrist and elbow specialists can effectively treat the patient’s problems. Our orthopedists’ experience-based knowledge allows them to optimize recovery and maximum function with the best possible outcome.

At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life. With four locations we are able to provide same day appointments when needed. Visit us online at www.SOA.md or call 941-951-2663 to make an appointment. You may also make appointments online at our website.

Thumbs Up for Dr Gregory Farino

Farino 2015 lab coat half

This interview marks the halfway point in chatting with our physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. Dr Gregory Farino, a Fellowship Trained and Board Certified orthopedic surgeon, has a specialty in hand and wrist conditions. Take a look at what inspires Dr Farino and what he does in an occasional spare moment:

What inspired you to become a physician?

I wanted to do something in the sciences where I could be useful and helpful to others. Initially during college, I was going to be a teacher but after spending some time with a few different MDs, decided to pursue medicine.

Why orthopedics?

As a medical student, I thought I would pursue primary care but after rotating through, sensed it wasn’t the right fit for me. I decided to try orthopedics in my 4th year of med school. I did a rotation at Einstein hospital in Philadelphia and worked with a great group of guys. They let me do an entire surgery and I was hooked. I decided to apply for an orthopedic residency.

What do you love most about your job?

Obviously the job is challenging in many ways but I enjoy knowing that the things I do and decisions I make translate into another person feeling better and functioning better. It is satisfying to know all of the time and effort I spent in training allows me to do something useful, not just for myself, but for everyone I see.

What is your biggest challenge?

Dealing with imperfection. I don’t handle failure well at all. I expect 100% success with what I do. Logically, I know it’s not possible but I expect it anyway. That creates unhappiness for me when things turn out less than my expectation.

If I weren’t an orthopedic physician I’d be a ____________.

I’m not sure. Maybe a college professor in history.

Your proudest moment?

I have to say my proudest moment was probably the day I matched in orthopedics at Penn State. It was my first choice and the culmination of 8 years of really hard work.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve travelled? Why?

Sicily. It has everything: food, wine, beautiful vistas (the sea, mountains, an active volcano), fascinating history and great people.

Any hobbies? Activities?

I like to read mostly ancient Greek history and early American history. I am teaching myself to play the guitar and ukulele.

What’s your next adventure?

I usually have a trip planned but don’t at this time. I would love to go back to Italy.

Your guilty pleasure food?

It’s a tie: pizza and French fries.

 NOTE:  Dr Farino, MD is one of 13 physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. He is Fellowship Trained and Board Certified with a hand/wrist specialty. You may read his medical biography and CV by clicking here. SOA offers four locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton), and provides same day appointments when needed. Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.