Most people don’t give much thought to the nerves in their body until something goes wrong, usually in the form of extreme pain, and the inability to perform the basic, everyday tasks that get taken for granted.
The arms contain a network of nerves that help control movement from the shoulder all the way down to the fingers. An injury to any nerve can affect everything from the ability to bend the elbow, to being able to pick up a pen or use a toothbrush.
The main nerves of the upper extremities include:
- Axillary nerve – responsible for movement and ability to raise the arm
- Musculocutaneous nerve – Helps to bend the elbow and provide sensation to the forearm
- Radial nerve – provides sensation to the back of the hand and thumb, and allows for bending and flexibility of the fingers, wrist, and elbow.
- Ulnar nerve – responsible for movement and sensation in the hand and fingers, as well as flexibility of the wrist
- Median nerve – crosses through the carpal tunnel and responsible for sensation and feeling in the hands
Some of the most common hand and nerve injuries include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Trigger Finger
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
- De Quervain’s Disease
What Causes Nerve Injuries in the Hands and Wrists?
A nerve injury can occur as the result of an accident and trauma, as in a car accident or from a sports injury, or progressively as the result of strain or a repetitive motion injury over time. Because nerves are responsible for carrying the signals to and from the brain that allow for movement and sensation throughout the body, a damaged nerve can impair movement and sensation, and also cause pain. In extreme cases, nerves can lead to serious complications for overall health, as is most commonly seen in patients with diabetes in the lower extremities.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
The peripheral nerves receive messages from the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) that control movement and feeling, throughout the body but most commonly in the hands and feet. Damage to the peripheral nerves is typically caused by:
- traumatic injuries
- metabolic issues
- toxin exposure
- genetic conditions
- diabetes mellitus
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?
Most people suffering from nerve damage in the hands complain of tingling, numbness, and even a burning sensation. Other symptoms of nerve damage to the hands include:
- stabbing or jabbing pain
- sensitivity to touch
- loss of coordination and balance, which can leading to falling
- muscle weakness and paralysis of motor nerves
In addition to traumatic and sports injuries, there are several other factors that can also affect the nerves and potentially cause neuropathy, including:
- autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgren’s Syndrome, necrotizing vasculitis
- poison and toxins from heavy metals and chemicals
- infections such as Lyme Disease, shingles, hepatitis C, diptheria, HIV, Epstein Barr
- Tumors (both malignant and benign)
- Vitamin deficiencies (B and E)
- Bone marrow disorders and bone/blood cancers
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- connective tissue disorders
Occasional soreness and even pain to the wrists and hands does not necessarily indicate a nerve or hand injury, as everyday repetitive activities like typing on a computer and smartphone screen and using a mouse, carrying a heavy bag over the shoulder, repeatedly bending and lifting, and playing sports like golf and tennis can all lead to muscle pain and soreness from time to time. However when pain persists and is accompanied by other symptoms that do not respond to rest and over the counter pain medication in a reasonable amount of time, it may be necessary to seek professional help to rule out a nerve injury like carpal tunnel syndrome or Dupuytren’s Contracture.
Minimally Invasive Hand and Nerve Injury Treatments in Phoenix
Some of the hand and wrist injury treatment options available exclusively at the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Phoenix include:
- Same day minimally invasive hand surgery
- Endotech technology
- Regenerative medicine/stem cell treatment
Hand Surgeon in Phoenix
Are you suffering from pain or signs and symptoms of potential nerve damage? Contact board certified hand surgeon and nerve specialist Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice at (480) 696-6618 to learn more about the cutting edge, minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment options available for hand and wrist injuries at the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Phoenix.