Hand and Wrist Services
At OHSU, our specialists evaluate and treat a wide range of hand and wrist injuries and conditions. Our team of doctors, surgeons, and therapists use their years of experience and expertise to create the best treatment plan for you. We can help you restore or improve hand and wrist movement and function.
Hand and wrist treatments
OHSU's team of doctors and surgeons are specialty trained to treat hand and wrist injuries and conditions such as carpal tunnel, ganglion cysts, fractures and more. They will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your wrist or hand so you can get back to your active lifestyle. Our surgical and non-surgical treatments include:
Hand Fracture Surgery (Open Reduction Internal Fixation)
Some hand fractures (broken bones in the hand) need surgery to put the bones back together correctly and make them stable. These fractures usually break through the skin or result from a crushing accident. Our hand specialists can put the bones back in place and use tiny wires, screws or plates to hold them together.
Learn more about hand fracture surgeryScaphoid fracture
Arthroscopic surgery can smooth bone surfaces and remove inflamed tissue. It is used to treat several wrist conditions, including:
- Chronic wrist pain: Your doctor can do arthroscopic exploratory surgery to find the cause of chronic wrist pain if other tests do not show the problem. A wrist injury can cause tissue inflammation or cartilage damage that does not show on an X-ray or other scan. In some cases, our hand specialists can find and treat your condition during the same arthroscopic surgery.
- Wrist fractures: Small fragments of bone can stay inside the joint after a bone breaks (fractures). Using wrist arthroscopy, your doctor can take out these fragments put the bone ends back together correctly and make the joint more stable.
- Ganglion cysts: Ganglion cysts usually grow from a stalk between two of the wrist bones. During arthroscopy, our hand experts can take out this stalk. This can make it less likely that these cysts will return.
- Ligament and triangular fibrocartilage complex tears (TFCC tears): Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that link bones together. They support the joints and make them more stable. The TFCC is a cushioning structure inside the wrist. If you fall on your outstretched hand, this can tear ligaments, the TFCC or both. You might have pain when you move your hand or feel a clicking sensation. During arthroscopic surgery, your hand surgeon can repair these tears.
Learn more about wrist arthroscopyWrist Arthroscopy
The radius is the larger of your two forearm bones. The end toward the wrist is called the distal end. A fracture of the distal radius occurs when the radius breaks near the wrist.
If your fracture is stable, usually immobilization of the joint either through a cast or splint is done. Following healing and cast or splint removal, a period of rehabilitation for recovery of strength and range of motion is necessary. Nonsurgical treatment depends on many factors, such as your fracture severity, age and activity level as well as the treatment your doctor recommends will work best for you.
There are many ways of performing surgery on a distal radius fracture. Your hand specialist will determine what is best in your situation. Even if the fracture is treated in the operating room, it may be possible to put the bones back together without making an incision. In other cases, your doctor might need to make an incision to put your broken bones back into place.
Depending on the fracture, there are several ways to holding the bone in the correct position, including:
- A cast
- Tiny metal pins
- A plate and screws
- An external fixator (a piece of equipment like a brace that you wear outside your body)
- A combination of these
Our doctors are experienced at using the latest technology to help you heal.
Learn More About Distal Radius FractureDistal radius fracture
If you think a broken (fractured) finger is a minor injury, think again. Without proper treatment, a fractured finger can cause major problems.
The bones in a normal hand line up precisely and let you perform many specialized functions, such as grasping a pen or manipulating small objects in your palm. When you fracture a finger bone, it can put your whole hand out of alignment. Without treatment, your broken finger might stay stiff and painful.
Your doctor will put your broken bone back into place, usually without surgery. You'll receive a splint or cast to hold your finger straight and protect it from injury while it heals. Sometimes, your doctor may splint the fingers next to the broken one to give it support. Your doctor will let you know how long to wear the splint. Usually, a splint on a fractured finger is worn for about three weeks. You may need more X-rays as you heal, so your doctor can check on how your finger is healing.
Depending on the type of fracture and how severe it is, you may need surgery. Your doctor can use tiny pins, screws or wire to put the broken bones back together.
Learn more about finger fractureFracture of the finger
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may have numbness or tingling in the hand, sometimes with pain up the arm. This is caused by pressure on a nerve that passes through a narrow space in your arm called the carpal tunnel. Pressure can build up inside the tunnel for many reasons; including irritation and swelling of the tissue that covers the tendons.
If your carpal tunnel syndrome does not get better with nonsurgical treatment, our hand specialists can do surgery for this condition. Your doctor will make the carpal tunnel larger to take pressure off the nerve and relieve your symptoms.
Learn more about carpal tunnel syndromeEndoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
The scaphoid is one of the small bones in your wrist. It is the one most likely to break.
Treatment of scaphoid fractures depends on the location of the break in the bone.
Most scaphoid fractures heal well when they are placed in a cast. Depending on where the bone is broken, you will probably wear the cast below or above the elbow.
When the scaphoid is broken in the middle or close to your forearm, your doctor might recommend surgery. A screw or wire might be used to stabilize the scaphoid while it heals.
Learn More About Scaphoid FractureScaphoid Fracture
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Nerve conduction studies