The anatomy of the wrist joint is extremely complex, probably the most complex of all the joints in the body. The wrist is actually a collection of many bones and joints. These bones and joints let us use our hands in lots of different ways.
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Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve is pinched in the wrist. This nerve, called the median nerve, is the connection from the brain and spinal cord, down to the finger tips. In patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, the median nerve is pinched as it passes through the wrist.
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The condition called de Quervain’s tenosynovitis causes pain on the inside of the wrist and forearm just above the thumb. It is a common problem affecting the wrist and is usually easy to diagnose.
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Dupuytren’s contracture is a fairly common disorder of the fingers. It most often affects the ring or little finger, sometimes both, and often in both hands. Although the exact cause is unknown, it occurs most often in middle-aged, white men and is genetic in nature, meaning it runs in families.
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Wrist injuries are common. If a wrist injury causes significant damage to the ligaments, it can result in serious problems in the wrist. Such an injury typically continues to cause problems unless corrected.
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When you think about how much we use our hands, it’s not hard to understand why injuries to the fingers are common. Most of these injuries heal without significant problems. One such injury is an injury to the distal interphalangeal, or DIP, joint of the finger. This joint is commonly injured during sporting activities such as baseball.
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When you stop to think about how much you use your thumbs, it’s easy to see why the joint where the thumb attaches to the hand can suffer from wear and tear. This joint is designed to give the thumb its rather large range of motion, but the tradeoff is that the joint suffers a lot of stress over the years.
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Doctors commonly diagnose a sprained wrist after a patient falls on an outstretched hand. However, if pain and swelling don’t go away, doctors become suspicious that the injury is actually more serious. A fall on an outstretched hand commonly breaks the scaphoid bone of the wrist.
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Injury to the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb is fairly common. This strong band of tissue is attached to the middle joint of the thumb, the joint next to the web space of the thumb. This condition is sometimes called gamekeeper’s thumb because Scottish gamekeepers commonly injured their thumbs as a result of their job.
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Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injuries of the wrist affect the ulnar (little finger) side of the wrist. Mild injuries of the triangular fibrocartilage complex may be referred to as a wrist sprain. As the name suggests, the soft tissues of the wrist are complex. They work together to stabilize the very mobile wrist joint.
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