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Should You See a Doctor About Your Hand, Wrist or Elbow Pain?

Hand, wrist or elbow pain can make it difficult to accomplish everyday tasks like eating or bathing, but it also can throw off your exercise regimen. If you are experiencing pain caused by arthritis, injury or repetitive motion that is not getting better with rest, ice therapy and over-the-counter pain medications, it may be time to see a doctor. An orthopedic specialist can treat complex hand, wrist and forearm conditions caused by trauma and degenerative disease of bones, tendons, ligaments and cartilage of the hand, wrist and elbow. If left untreated, nerve and tendon pain that begins in one area can spread to other parts of the upper extremities. However, a comprehensive care plan can help you get back to all the things you love to do in Gadsden, AL.

Elbow conditions we treat:


Caused when the small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles around a joint become inflamed.


When the bones are not in the right position. The elbow joint may occur when the humerus (upper arm bone) is thrust out of sync with the radius and ulna.


These breaks can be brought on by a fall, a jolt to the elbow or a twisting of the arm.

Golfer's elbow

Also known as medial epicondylitis, this condition is an irritation of the tendons between the forearm to the elbow. This condition describes pain in the elbow's interior.


Swelling of a tendon, a tough tissue strand that attaches muscle to bone.

Tennis elbow

Otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, this condition describes pain in the elbow's exterior. It results from inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the elbow.


Many issues can cause pain in the wrist and hand. These include:


A group of conditions that cause inflammation of the joints. It can affect any joint in the body, including the hands and wrists.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers. It is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs through the wrist.


Misalignments can be caused by a fall, a direct blow to the joint or a sudden twisting motion.


Breaks in the hand and wrist can be caused by a fall, a direct blow to the hand or wrist or a twisting motion.


Injuries to the ligaments, the tissues that connect bones.


Injuries to the muscles or tendons are often caused by overuse or a sudden, forceful movement.

Tendon injuries

Often caused by overuse or a sudden injury.

Vascular conditions

Conditions affect the blood vessels in the hand or wrist. Vascular disorders can be caused by several factors, including atherosclerosis, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What causes hand, wrist or elbow pain?

Some causes of hand, wrist or elbow pain are obvious, like a fall forward onto outstretched hands. Others aren't as easy to determine without help. For example, many people don't realize painters, plumbers or cooks, and those who work computer-based jobs can experience painful repetitive motion injuries.

A few of the hand, wrist and elbow conditions we treat include:

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Dislocation
  • Fractures
  • Golfer's elbow
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendinitis
  • Tendon injuries
  • Tennis elbow
  • Vascular conditions
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What are some non-surgical treatment options for hand, wrist or elbow pain?

Physical Therapy - A physical therapist can develop an individualized exercise program that improves flexibility, strength, coordination and mobility in addition to helping ease pain. A physical therapist also can advise you on which exercises and braces may be helpful for your rehabilitation.

Joint Injections - Joint injections may be appropriate in some cases. Injections deliver anti-inflammatory or lubricating medications to limit joint pain and swelling. Some common joint injections include corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid and prolotherapy, but your doctor will help you determine which injection, if any, is right for you.

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What are some surgical options for hand, wrist or elbow pain?

If you're experiencing hand, wrist or elbow pain that doesn't get better with more conservative methods, such as rest, ice, compression, physical therapy, injections or over-the-counter pain medicine, your orthopedic specialist may recommend that you consider having surgery. If surgery is recommended, your surgeon will discuss the next steps to help you prepare for the procedure. When possible, minimally invasive techniques are used for services such as:

  • Arthritis surgery
  • Carpal or cubital tunnel release
  • Elbow and wrist arthroscopy
  • Nerve and tendon transfers
  • Finger joint replacement
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Patient results may vary. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of any surgical procedures or treatment.

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