The wrist is a complex joint that is made up of eight bones and arranged into two rows with muscles that are shared with the forearm. Being an intricate part of the body that connects with both the forearm and hand, specialized knowledge is required to properly diagnose and treat various conditions and injuries, such as from orthopedic wrist specialists.
What are Orthopedic Wrist Specialists?
An orthopedic physician is a type of doctor who specializes in the musculoskeletal structures in the body, which means the muscles, bones, tissue, and supportive structures in the body. A wrist specialist is a subtype of orthopedic doctors and is usually referred to as an orthopedic hand specialist due to wrist conditions being so tied to the hand.
Common Causes of Wrist Pain: Wrist Conditions
Wrist specialists can diagnose and provide care for a wide range of wrist injuries and conditions, such as:
Common Care and Wrist Surgery Options
An orthopedic wrist doctor can provide both non-surgical care and wrist surgery depending on the type of condition. Unless an injury or condition demands surgery, most doctors will first use conservative methods to try and ease symptoms. Below is a list of common non-surgical treatments that are often recommended before surgery is pursued:
Types of Surgery
When non-surgical treatments fail to ease symptoms or resolve the issue, a patient may be recommended to orthopedic surgeons if their wrist doctor isn’t qualified to perform surgery themself. Depending on the condition diagnosed, the following procedures could be performed:
To relieve pressure on the median nerve, the surgeon cuts the transverse carpal ligament. It’s the standard procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome.
A minimally invasive procedure using a small camera (arthroscope) to diagnose and treat various conditions, such as ligament tears or inflammation.
Fusing the bones of the wrist together to eliminate pain, usually performed for severe arthritis.
Replacing a damaged wrist joint with an artificial joint.
Used for certain wrist fractures where the bones are repositioned (reduced) and then secured in place using plates, screws, or pins.
Specifically addresses fractures of the scaphoid bone, one of the carpal bones in the wrist. Depending on the fracture type and location, this might involve screws or pins.
Surgery to alleviate the tightness of the sheath or tunnel that surrounds two tendons in the wrist, relieving the pain.
Surgery to address tears in the TFCC, which acts as a cushion and support between the small bones in the wrist.
Surgical removal of a ganglion cyst, a fluid-filled sac that can develop near a joint or tendon in the wrist.
Addressing torn ligaments in the wrist, such as the scapholunate ligament.
Removal of the first row of carpal bones to treat arthritis or certain types of wrist injuries.
Surgical intervention to repair torn or damaged tendons in the wrist.
A procedure to shorten the ulna bone to relieve pressure on the wrist, usually only used for ulnar impaction syndrome.