Why and When to See an Upper Extremity Specialist | Accidents can occur while on the job, playing, or at home. Bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments can suffer trauma after an accident. Injuries to the soft tissue, tendon, or bone might occur in the arm, hand, wrist, or elbow. Injuries to the upper extremities might make it impossible for you to participate in your normal daily activities. Dr. Kristopher Downing in La Jolla at Upper Extremity Specialists offers various treatment options to cure an injury. Together with his team, they provide state-of-the-art surgical and non-surgical treatment options to help patients achieve quick recovery and return to their normal activities.
When should I see an upper extremity specialist?
We usually start to seek medical help when we feel pain. However, sometimes we ignore the pain in hopes it will go away. Specialists recommend that one should not ignore any discomfort in the body. Injuries may get worse and prevent you from conducting chores and lead to disability if not treated. You should seek medical help in the following cases:
- When you hear a cracking sound in the splint or cast.
- Severe pain or swelling
- Tingling, numbness, swelling, discoloration in the fingers.
- Reduced motion or lack of movement in the fingers
- Irritation around the injury
- Fever accompanied by temperatures of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
What does diagnosis involve?
When you visit your doctor, you may receive a comprehensive medical screening. Your doctor may ask about your medical history and current medications. Be ready to receive questions such as how it started, when you feel the pain, and what triggers or relieves the pain. After a physical examination, your doctor may carry out imaging tests such as X-ray, Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. They may further recommend blood and nerve tests. Such tests enable your specialist to check the accurate location of the injury, its severity, and the cause of the pain. Once your condition has been determined, your doctor may proceed to develop an individualized treatment plan.
How is a fractured hand treated?
When your hand is fractured, the diagnosis will involve a physical exam and imaging. If the bones are not in position, your doctor may begin the process of realigning them. Depending on the severity of pain and swelling, you may need general anesthesia. Your doctor may ask you to move your fingers regularly as you continue healing. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve it, but they might recommend an opioid if it is severe. Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) might also help with pain, but they alter bone healing if used for long. If you have a wound near the fracture, you will be given medications that prevent infections. In case your fracture is severe, your doctor may recommend open surgery to correct the damage. After treatment, your doctor may need to monitor you for several days. Injuries can worsen if left untreated; if you have an injury and want medical help, book an appointment with Dr. Kristopher Downing at Upper Extremity Specialists for management and quick return to normal activities.