Understanding the Basics Behind Hand & Wrist Pain
What is Trigger Finger Release?
Though acute injuries can happen at any moment, some of the most common hand and wrist conditions happen due to repetitive motions or other preexisting conditions. This is the case with trigger finger (also known as stenosing tenosynovitis), a condition in which your finger can become locked in a bent position.
Not only is a trigger finger injury potentially painful, it can greatly inhibit your ability to perform basic tasks. Though the extent of a trigger finger condition can vary in severity, there are solutions to help you get back to pain-free living. At Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance, we can perform an A1 pulley release in Kansas City to help treat the issue. The A1 pulley is located near the head of the metacarpal bones in your fingers.
Regardless of wrist issues you’re dealing with—whether it’s a sprain, strain, fracture, ligament tear—help is available. The highly skilled providers at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance can help you find the necessary treatments to get you back to pain-free living.
Common signs you may need an A1 Pulley Release include:
- A clicking or popping sensation in the finger
- Sensitivity to pressure
- And more
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance hand & Wrist Assessment
Assessing the Injury
Determining the proper treatment process for hand and wrist injuries starts with an assessment from one of our experienced providers. You can think of hand and wrist pain as a spectrum, with some instances being more severe than others.
The KCOA orthopedic specialists always focus on each patient and their concerns before creating a treatment plan.
Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:
From there, we can decide what treatment option will align best with your needs and lifestyle goals.
- Does your pain currently limit you or your activities?
- Has your pain progressed or worsened recently?
- Did you notice or hear a popping sound at the time of your injury?
- Does your finger catch or lock in a bent position?
- Have you noticed any change in your symptoms that has made it more challenging to function?
- What are your lifestyle goals?
- How has pain affected those goals?
Once we’ve completed a proper assessment, your provider will often begin with a physical examination to help determine the origin point of your pain. In some cases, advanced testing may be required for a full diagnosis. This may include:
Also called radiographs, an X-ray captures a picture of the wrist. Orthopedic physicians may order an X-ray to rule out the possibility of a fracture (broken bone), osteoarthritis, or other bone-related conditions.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI captures images of muscles, bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons to help provide information other tests can’t detail. During an MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. The machine creates a magnetic field around you, using pulsed radio waves to form the MRI images.
Establishing a Care Plan
Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you.
Many people believe it’s best to wait until their pain becomes severe, leading them to “put off” or delay treatments like A1 pulley release.
If you are in constant discomfort, have shooting or stabbing pains, have limited range of motion, or increasing inability to perform your daily activities, a treatment like A1 pulley release may be right for you.
New technologies allow patients with severe hand and wrist concerns to fully recover and enjoy the benefits of a more active, pain-free lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least two phone calls:
- A hospital registration representative will call to gather insurance and other personal information.
- A registered nurse will call to review your health history and medication information.
Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:
- Pre-surgical laboratory tests
- Primary care clearance
Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery. Always check with your physician before surgery for their specific instructions.
Most physicians require that patients not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery.
Additionally, you will need to designate a family member or friend to drive you home on the day you are released from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.
Day of Surgery
If you schedule your surgery at Kansas City Orthopedic Institute, you can expect the following on surgery day:
- A receptionist will check you in at the registration desk.
- A nurse will take you back and prepare you for surgery. They will start an IV, prepare the surgical site, and review your medical history and medications.
- Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will visit with you prior to your operation.
- The surgical team will take you to the operation suite for surgery.
How it Works
An A1 pulley release in Kansas City is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that we perform at several locations across the metro. The surgery involves applying a local anesthetic before making a small incision in the palm to access the A1 pulley and release it. Since A1 pulley release is an outpatient procedure, patients can go home that same day following their surgery.
This procedure aims to enable the tendon to slide without the affected finger or thumb locking up. The incision gives your surgeon access to the A1 pulley, which your surgeon will then cut to allow your finger or thumb to move through the tendon sheath.
Once your surgeon releases the pulley, we’ll test your finger or thumb to ensure patients have improved range of motion. They will then close the area with the appropriate materials ensuring that the incision is clean and minimized.
The complete recovery timeline for an A1 pulley release in Kansas City will vary by patient.
Following the procedure, you can expect to experience some swelling and soreness with limited range of motion.
The good news is that this normally subsides within a few weeks, and full recovery usually occurs within about 6 weeks.
Typically, your provider will schedule a follow-up appointment 1 to 2 weeks following surgery to view the area, insure there’s no sign of infection and initiate the post-surgery recovery plan.
What to Expect
Ultimately, when you can return to work will vary based on your profession and the physical demands of your job.
After your A1 pulley release, your surgeon will give you a set of aftercare instructions to closely follow to optimize your recovery.
This recovery plan will likely include rest, ice, elevation, and proper wound care. Some plans may also include physical therapy.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Trigger Finger
With so many different parts of your hand and wrist all working in unison, there are numerous chances for acute injuries or chronic pain to develop. Each of these causes comes with its own distinct set of symptoms.
Trigger finger most often occurs due to repeated or forceful motions of your finger or thumb. Inflammation of the tendons may also cause this specific condition. With healthy fingers and thumbs, the tissue sheath covers the tendon and protects it while providing lubrication. When the tendon sheath becomes irritated, scarring in the area can affect motion and cause the finger or thumb to lock in place.
There are a number of different risk factors that can cause a Trigger Finger condition. Pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or gout can cause complications, as can certain occupations that require repetitive finger motions. Additionally, patients over 40 tend to be at higher risk. If you do develop Trigger Finger, an A1 pulley release in Kansas City can help you get relief from your symptoms.
Causes of Hand & Wrist Pain
The body has a number of different joints that all work in unison in order to function normally. However, all of these different working parts means that your hand and wrist can face a variety of potential injuries. How severe your hand and wrist pain is will vary depending on a few different key factors, including both the location and the source of the problem.
As with many of the other joints in your body, both the hand and wrist are susceptible to acute injuries, it can be susceptible to injuries that occur acutely or more chronic conditions that build up over the years because of repetitive motions or poor form. The soft tissue of your hand and wrist, consisting of muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments, help to protect these joints and bones.
Whether you’re suffering from an acute or chronic injury, the hand and wrist specialists at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance are here to assist. We’ll help you find the root cause of your pain and determine whether a trigger finger A1 pulley release is right for you or if you require a different treatment.
In most cases, surgery is not the first option for treatment at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance. If we can treat your knee issues with more conservative treatments, we’ll choose those options. We typically exhaust all non-surgical options prior to recommending surgery. Non-surgical treatments for the hand & wrist and include:
A trained therapist will focus on the issue that’s causing the pain or symptoms as well as the deficits that are present as a result of the injury. Stretches, strengthening exercises, manual soft tissue work, and modalities like hot and cold therapy may help you recover.
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil) or prescription medications. Especially with NSAIDs, you should always talk to your doctor to ensure they are the right treatment for you.
Therapeutic injections can help reduce inflammation, and the effects tend to last for 3 to 6 months. During that time, we often encourage patients to work with a therapist to improve strength and flexibility, while their symptoms are being aided by the medication. Many people manage their pain with injections and physical therapy.
Regenerative medicines like stem cell injections or platelet-rich plasma can help nourish worn or damaged tissue. This option works best if you have mild-to-moderate wrist pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is here to help.
Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.
With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.
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Stephanie was very thorough with her examination of my lower back. ‘Have been in pain for some time. She was professional but friendly and made me feel comfortable. After my MRI, I will go back for further assessment and treatment.
Wouldn't go any place else
One of the best.
Dr. Moore was thorough, kind, and allowed me to ask many questions during my visit. She took the time to answer all my questions. I would recommend her to my friends and family with certainty that they would be treated with one of the best.
Stephanie took great care in explaining my son’s injury and future implications. I feel like we fully understood the injury and what he needed to do to allow it to heal. I would definitely recommend Stephanie!