The Remarkable Hand

What makes humans so “human”? While there are certainly many factors – spiritual, emotional, physical – that make us human, the human hand is a unique appendage that opened up amazing possibilities in our becoming human.

From our opposable thumbs to the amazing sensory receptiveness of our fingertips, the human hand is ideally sculpted for exploration and manipulation of this incredibly complex world. A study at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013 determined that the human finger can find an irregularity as small as 13 nanometers, which is less than 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair. With sensory tools like that at our disposal, it’s not surprising we humans have done as well as we have!

Let’s spend a minute and look at the basic set-up of the hand.

The eight bones of the wrist are called the carpal bones. The carpal tunnel is the narrow passage through which passes all of the blood and nerve supply for the hand. You’ve probably heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when, for a variety of reasons, that passageway no longer allows for friction-free passage of the tendons, nerves and blood supply to the hand, causing pain and dysfunction.

The five long bones that stretch from your wrist to the base of your fingers are called metacarpals, and the individual bones of your fingers are called the phalanges (phalanx is singular). The muscles and tendons that move your hands and fingers are incredibly sensitive, allowing us to pick up tiny objects, while they are strong enough to lift frying pans and carry babies!

It’s amazing all that we can do with our hands! However, when we begin having pain or discomfort in our hands, it can be difficult to function in the day-to-day. If you are experiencing pain in your hands or wrists, please contact us to set up an evaluation.

How Chronic Conditions Can Raise The Risk For Work Related Injuries

Work related injuries may be directly related to chronic health conditions. Certain medical disorders can lead to daytime sleepiness, unsteady gait, joint pain, poor eyesight, and diminished hand strength, all of which can heighten the risk for occupational injuries. Here are three medical disorders that may contribute to on-the-job accidents.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can cause snoring, gasping, and cessation of breathing while sleeping. Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include obesity, consuming spicy foods and coffee, certain medications, drinking alcohol, acid reflux disease, and hiatal hernia.

Because those with sleep apnea awaken numerous times during the night, daytime sleepiness can occur, raising the risk for work-related injuries. To diminish this risk, chronic snorers should undergo sleep studies for further evaluation of their apnea so that an effective treatment plan can be implemented.

Carpal Tunnel

Individuals who have conditions of the hand that decrease grip strength and manual dexterity such as carpal tunnel syndrome may be more likely to get hurt while at work.

Wearing hand splints, icing the affected area, physical therapy, and taking prescribed anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce the pain and swelling associated carpal tunnel.

In some cases, release surgery is recommended to mitigate pain and resultant inflammation of the hand so that strength and mobility of the finger joints is restored.

Diabetic Retinopathy

People with diabetes, especially those with long-standing diabetes or people with poorly managed blood sugar levels may develop diabetic retinopathy. This condition leads to damaged blood vessels inside the retina, causing poor visual acuity and raising the risk for work-related injuries.

Maintaining effective control over blood sugar levels may help prevent the progression of retinopathy, however, if the normalization of glucose is ineffective in improving vision, laser surgery may be recommended. To learn more about preventing work-related injuries, contact us anytime.

Cardinals Like What They See in Oh, Hazelbaker

The St. Louis Cardinals, with a record of 16-16 as of May 9, aren’t off to the most torrid start they’ve ever seen, but newcomers Seung Hwan Oh and Jeremy Hazelbaker are giving them plenty of reasons to feel optimistic. In the first few weeks of the season, the pair have already made a splash in the St. Louis sports news scene. With starts like theirs, Cardinal fans and players alike are asking, “Who are these guys, and are they for real?”

Meet Mr. Oh

Seung Whan, pronounced sewn-whan, is a native of South Korea. His calm demeanor on the mound earned him the nickname “Stone Buddha.” He signed with the Cards in the offseason after playing the last two seasons in Japan, where he established himself as a force in the bullpen. In 2015, he broke his own Japanese Central League saves record with 41 and made the All-Star team.

Despite such prowess, nobody around Cardinal land knew what to expect of Oh as a rookie in Major League Baseball. Success playing abroad is one thing, but how would he fare in the Major Leagues facing unfamiliar hitters? The early results are in, judge for yourself:

  • 20 strikeouts in 16 and 1/3 innings
  • Team-leading 1.65 ERA
  • No home runs allowed
  • .158 opponent’s batting average

Looks like he has the Cardinals’ brass singing, “Oh say, can you stay?”

Meet Mr. Hazelbaker

At 28, Jeremy Hazelbaker has finally arrived in the Big Show. Drafted by the Red Sox in 2009, he spent the last seven seasons bouncing around the Minors. The Cards selected his contract from AAA Memphis just before the season began, and he’s not wasting any time in confirming that their decision was a good one.

Thus far, the center-fielder has clubbed six home runs, knocked in 14 and is hitting an eyebrow-raising .297, significantly better than his career .264 average in the Minors. On April 11 against the Brewers, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, including a double and a triple.

“It’s an indescribable feeling,” he replied when asked how he feels after making it to the Majors. “It’s been a long journey, quite a journey. It’s finally paid off.”

Congratulations Seung Hwan Oh and Jeremy Hazelbaker. Here’s to your continued health and success!

At Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine, your health and mobility is our priority. If you are suffering from an orthopedic or sports injury, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Understanding Elbow Arthroscopy

The elbow joint consists of three bones: the humerus bone of the upper arm, and the ulna and radius bones of the forearm. The ulna and the humerus meet at the elbow and form a hinge, allowing the arm to straighten and bend. Life without this ability would be difficult, indeed.

Thanks to elbow arthroscopy, conditions inhibiting the normal use of the elbow can be treated, relieving pain and enabling one to freely use their elbow again.

What is elbow arthroscopy?

Missouri Orthopedic Care St. Louis, Advanced Sports Medicine

Arthroscopy is a procedure that allows surgeons to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems such as releasing scar tissue to improve range of motion, removing loose cartilage and bone fragments, repair lesions, among others.

Common procedures include:

  • Removing loose fragments in the joint
  • Repairing fractures
  • Treatment of tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Treatment of osteoarthritis (arthritis that causes wear and tear)
  • Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory arthritis)
  • Treatment of elbow stiffness often caused by fractures and other injuries

How is elbow arthroscopy performed?

Under general or regional anesthesia, a fiber-optic camera is inserted through a cut the width of a pencil in the elbow, magnifying and projecting the structures of the elbow on a television screen. This allows the surgeon to diagnose the condition. Several other small cuts allow insertion of additional instruments into the joint for treatment.

Recovery and rehabilitation.

Arthroscopy is usually an outpatient procedure; expect to return home with a bandage over your incisions, your arm possibly placed in a splint to keep it still and instructions to put ice on it and elevate it regularly for the next couple of days. You more than likely will be given instructions for certain exercises to perform to build strength and increase movement and may even need physical therapy to complete the rehabilitation process. While recovery from elbow arthroscopy is often faster than that of open surgery, expect it to take several weeks for your joint to completely recover.

For more information on elbow arthroscopy and how we can help, contact Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine.

Hip Arthroscopy: A Minimally Invasive Option

HipArthoscopy

The hip-joint is one of the most amazing and important joints of the body. A ball and socket joint, it is one of the most flexible, providing a level of mobility that allows the femur to rotate freely through a 360-degree circle and is capable of supporting half of the body’s weight along with any other forces acting upon the body.

Estimable as it may be, like any other part of the body, the hip-joint is capable of suffering several painful conditions due to falls or repetitive use that is common in athletes. The normal wear and tear that comes with age plays its part as well and can lead to arthritis or tears of tendons and ligaments.

Non-surgical treatments that include rest, physical therapy and injections to reduce inflammation can help but some injuries and even diseases demand a more aggressive approach. Bone spurs around the socket; dysplasia and snapping hip syndrome are a few of the conditions that may fall into this category.

In cases like these, your doctor may recommend hip arthroscopy, a procedure where your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your hip-joint. The camera then displays pictures on a screen, allowing the doctor to use these images to guide miniature surgical instruments to the affected area.

Hip arthroscopy is generally performed under general anesthesia and on an outpatient basis.

Recovery will likely include crutches for a specified amount of time, as well as physical therapy to help restore strength and mobility.

For more information on how we can help, contact us