“As you can imagine, we obviously use our hands for just about every daily task that there is, whether it’s work or sports or just activities and daily living,” Kirkpatrick says.
Such continued use creates countless opportunities for simple hand conditions like overuse injuries, sprains and strains, as well as more complex hand conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger and arthritis, Kirkpatrick says. These conditions often result in a mix of pain, numbness and/or tingling.
When that happens, there’s help, Kirkpatrick said during a livestreamed event on hand and wrist conditions. He also introduced Tiffany Terp, a physician assistant who recently joined Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic.
“There are splints and braces you can buy. We can help guide people in what the appropriate ones are to use,” Kirkpatrick says. “Obviously, simple, simple things like ice, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, there’s anti-inflammatory gels out there … these things are all useful, especially in the early stages of some of these conditions.”
When home treatments fail to produce results, other options, including therapy and surgery, often can help provide long-lasting relief, Kirkpatrick says.
“There are more advanced things such as cortisone shots, injections and plenty of surgeries that can easily resolve some of these issues,” he says.
Surgery isn’t always an immediate first option, though, Kirkpatrick says.
It becomes an option “if people are dealing with pain or numbness and tingling, any of these symptoms we’ve talked about, and it has not responded to these other modalities,” he says. “We’re not quick to jump to do surgery on people unless they’ve already tried these things.”
Consult with an orthopedic specialist if you have questions or concerns about hand, wrist and upper arm pain, numbness or tingling, Kirkpatrick says.
“It doesn’t have to be a super serious concern to be seen in the clinic,” he says. “A lot of times people want to come in and just be reassured and not necessarily get an injection or talk about surgery or anything like that. So, reassurance is oftentimes beneficial for people as well.”