FAQ Category: Hand


What does zone II mean in reference to my hand?

The hand was broken down into a classification scheme based on the flexor tendon along five anatomic zones. Zone II occurs between the distal crease of the palm and the middle crease in the finger.


I am a farmer who works with heavy machinery on a daily basis.  I often wonder about what I should do if my hand ever gets caught in the equipment.  Say my finger is cut off.  What would be the best action to take?

Depending on the type of equipment involved there are several things you need to pay attention to regarding safety features and protective gear that you should wear.  If you do happen to have a finger amputation, the best course of action would be to apply pressure to the stump with […]


I have been diagnosed with a trigger finger. What are my treatment choices?

The most conservative treatment is a simple cortisone injection into the affected tendon. This anti-inflammatory can sometime provide enough to allow the tendon to release and remodel. If the cortisone injection does not work, surgical options are your next choice. There are two surgical options, an open A1 pulley release […]


I have developed a pretty bad case of intrinsic contracture following a stroke several months ago. My surgeon is suggesting that I need a distal intrinsic release. Are there other options?

There are other options for treatment of intrinsic contracture, but your surgeon probably has a good reason to be suggesting this course of action. The most conservative treatment is a trial of Physical Therapy. This would probably focus on specific stretches and possibly casting. This therapy may also help address […]


I had a flexor tendon repair two weeks ago.  My doctor has set me up with this futuristic looking contraption that lets me straighten my finger if I want and then bends it back to a resting position.  He didn’t give me much instruction other than to wear this thing.  Should I be doing something else for my finger?

Flexor tendon repair protocols tend to be very specific to the type of surgical repair and tendon rupture.  Surgeons typically have an exact idea of what motions they want to restrict and when it is appropriate to advance.  You might, however, ask your surgeon for a referral to a hand […]


I jammed my finger playing basketball a few weeks ago.  I’ve rested my finger since then but still am unable to straighten my fingertip all the way.  Should I seek medical treatment or is it just going to stay this way?

Recent review of the literature suggests that you should go ahead and seek medical treatment.  Even though it has been awhile since your injury you are still within the successful treatment time-frame.  Your physician will more than likely refer you to a physical therapist or hand specialist to splint your […]


My grandmother has multiple fingertips that will not straighten all the way. She says that they do not bother her but they look stuck.  Should I take her to the doctor?  What could they do for her?

It seems you are describing mallet finger, a condition where the tendon that helps to straighten your fingertip ruptures.  Typically treatment is only sought if it becomes an aesthetic issue or interferes with your ability to do something.  In your Grandmother’s case it seems that she is not bothered by […]


Are antibiotics always required when someone gets in a fight and cuts the hand on another person’s teeth? This happened to my brother over the weekend. He turned 21 (legal drinking age here) and of course, went out partying. He ended up in a fight and two knuckles bashed in and bleeding. We took him to the emergency department and they hooked him up to IV antibiotics immediately. I was just wondering if so much treatment is really needed. Couldn’t they just clean up the area and give him a prescription? Mom is going to be livid and I know she will question what happened.

Antibiotics are given prophylactically to prevent infection in almost all cases of what is referred to as acute fight bite. The only two exceptions are: 1) patients with minimal superficial wounds (skin is not broken) and 2) those individuals who come for care 72 hours or more after the injury […]


Last night I witnessed a bar fight (my first ever). I tried to get the guy (a friend) who did the punching (to protect me) to go to the hospital for what looked like a bad wound on his knuckles. He must have cut his hand on the other guy’s teeth. He refused to go and today I’m worried about broken bones, infection, I don’t know what! What do you advise?

Acute fight bites that result in broken skin from contact with someone else’s tooth/teeth have a high potential for infection and more dire consequences. It is advised that he get medical evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. Even a small skin opening from such an injury can allow bacteria […]


I’ve heard that smoking is a cause for the pain I have with carpal tunnel syndrome. I would be willing to try quitting smoking if I thought it would really stop the pain in my hands. Is there any kind of test I could have that would show me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ smoking would help?

There are several things you may need to know about smoking and carpal tunnel syndrome. Of course, even without the carpal tunnel, the long-term consequences of tobacco use are well documented and potentially serious. In the interest of your overall health and well-being, it is always advised to stop smoking. […]


I may have to have a second carpal tunnel surgery on the same hand as the first surgery. For whatever reason, I got some relief from my symptoms (mostly numbness) but the pain got worse. How do they do this surgery without creating more problems than I already have?

As in your experience, pain is not a key symptom in primary (first) episodes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, numbness seems to be more common after the surgery is performed. The presence of scar tissue around the median nerve and nearby soft tissue structures after surgery may explain the new […]


Mother is 82-years-old and loves to knit and crochet. She has made over 100 blankets for our local hospice. But she has terrible carpal tunnel syndrome and wants to have surgery. What are the risks and how do other people come out of this surgery? She’s pretty healthy otherwise but slowing down.

There is plenty of research evidence to support the benefits of surgery to release the soft tissues around the affected (median) nerve in the general adult population. But no one has really studied the results of surgical release in the older adult group. The procedure can be done in one […]