Thursday, June 23, 2011

MALLET FINGER (baseball finger)


A mallet finger occurs when the extensor tendon at the tip of a finger ruptures. The rupture of this tendon can involve the tendon alone, be associated with a small bone fragment or fracture or can be associated with a fracture that requires significant care.

The force applied to the finger can come from something as simple as tucking in a bed sheet or can come from a direct blow to the end of a finger. Mallet finger has also been known as baseball finger.

A mallet finger often begins with pain at the distal joint of the finger.  At times there is an immediate loss of motion while at other times the finger seems to stay straight for a while and only later starts to lose its ability to be extended actively at the tip.  At times there is an injuries are typically closed in that the skin and nail is intact but at times there is an injury to the skin or nail bed as well. In severe cases the injury is associated with an open injury to the joint or bone, a so called open or compound fracture.

In adults the injury can involve the joint surface.  In children it can involves the growth plate or physis.

The diagnosis is often made based upon the type of injury and the appearance of the finger.  The fingertip will droop down and there is a loss of active motion.  Often the finger can be passively pushed up to straighten it but the independent active motion to extend the digit at the tip has been lost

Mallet finger.
X-rays are often taken to further delineate the injury and see how much if any bone, joint or growth plate is involved

Treatment depends largely upon the extent the soft tissue and underlying boney injury.

Tendon rupture without bone injury

Most of these mallet finger injuries can be treated with splinting.  The splint can be applied in a variety of ways depending upon the injury.  Typically the split is left in place full time for six to eight weeks with a time for part time splinting after that depending upon what daily activity is done by the patient with a typical part time period of 3 – 4 weeks.  In some situations pinning of the joint is used rather than a splint

Tendon rupture with a small bone fragment

These injuries typically are treated like non-boney injuries
Types of splints used to treat mallet finger. A, Dorsal aluminum splint. B, Commercial splint.
Reproduced with permission from Culver JE Jr: Office management of athletic injuries of the hand and wrist. Instr Course Lect 1989;38:473-482.

Tendon rupture with a large bone fragment involving the joint.

These injuries may respond to splinting and splinting is often used however a small bump may always be present a t the joint.  At times if the doctor feels that that the bone fragment is large enough and the joint may be unstable surgery may be offered.  During surgery pins or small screws may be used and the joint itself may be pinned to prevent motion during the healing process.

Above: X-rays showing fracture at the insertion of the extensor tendon. In the first image on the left the fragment is displaced.  This will heal with a bump but will be able to be treated with a splint.  IN the image on the right the joint has subluxed.  This will  need to have surgical repair.
In adults with severe open injury more immediate surgery may also be offered


In children the doctor needs to differentiate between these injuries that require reduction or realignment of the bone without surgery and those who may have a portion of the nail bed significantly torn or retained within the fracture site or growth plate.  Often children will not have a tendon injury but a fracture through the physis which appears to be a mallet injury.  X-rays often will reveal this.

Mallet deformity from a fracture across the growth plate in a child is different than the adult fracture or tendon avulsion

Late or Delayed Treatment in adults

Delayed treatment of mallet finger deformity may consist of splinting initially and at times surgical methods are offered to correct chronic deformities and other associated joint and tendon problems that may accompany the chronic situation


Most mallet fingers heal well, although often there is a slight loss of full extension. The slight extension loss typically has no effect on hand of finger function, but if left untreated it can cause other issues to occur in the finger due to tendon imbalance. While treatment of a closed mallet finger is not an acute emergency, the improper, partial or untreated injury can lead to further problems such as a swan neck deformity.

 Swan neck deformity from tendon imbalance and laxity at the proximal joint.
While there may be special circumstances where a professional athletes plays with a splint in place for mallet finger for the child or recreational athlete, or even most professional or collegiate level athletes this is not typically recommended.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Needle Aponeurotomy and Xiaflex are on Facebook

Dupuytren's Disease updates Needle Aponeurotomy and Xiaflex are on Facebook

Dupuytren's Disease updates Needle Aponeurotomy and Xiaflex are on Facebook

Needle Aponeurotomy and Xiaflex update from the Hand Center of Western MA

What are the treatment options for Dupuytren's disease?

In mild cases especially if hand function is not affected, only observation is needed.
 For more severe cases various  techniques are available in order to straighten the finger(s). Your treating surgeon will discuss the method most appropriate for your condition based upon the stage of the disease and the joints involved. The goal of any treatment is to improve finger position and thereby hand function. Despite  treatment the disease process may recur. Before treatment, your doctor should discuss realistic goals and results.
Types of treatment may include Needle Aponeurotomy, Partial or Complete Fasciectomy, and limited release as well as on Collagenase injections or cortisone injection in a nodule.  The rationale behind each treatment depends upon the treating physician and the patient.
Surgical Fasciectomy  (Partial or Complete) uses open incisions and the cords and nodules are removed
Incisonal Aponeurotomy or Fasciotomy uses small incisions  or portals and the cords are released or perforated
Needle Aponeurotomy  (NA) or Percutaneous Aponeurotomy (PA) or Percutanoeous Needle Fasciotomy (PNF)
Needle aponeurotomy uses a small gauge needle or a microblade as a cutting device to sever the abnormal cords of tissue in the palm and digits which cause the fingers to flex down.  The tissue is not removed it is essentially perforated or cut in multiple places along the palm  to release the contracture (see figure 3) Incisional aponeurotomy fasciotomy is done in some instances.
Collagenase Injection (Xiaflex)
Collagenase is an enzyme that digest collagen a structural protein in tissues.  Xiafllex is a collagenase derived  from the bacteria Clostridium Histolyticum.  Xiaflex is a mixture of several types of collagenase, titrated to achieve digestion of  tissue or cords that are present in the hands  of those who have Dupuytren's disease. (Figure 4)
Corticosteroid Injection (cortisone shot)
When a steroid or cortisone injection  is given to the palm, in a nodule or small cord  it will often soften the cord. There are studies that state that this may limit progression of the disease While there have been no large scale prospective double blinded studies or dose dependent studies many surgeons now will attempt to inject a nodule or soft cord that is not ready for surgery in an attempt to treat it.

IMPORTANT considerations:
  1. The presence of a lump in the palm does not mean that surgery  or treatment is required or that the disease will progress.
  2. Correction of finger position is best accomplished with milder contractures and contractures that affect the base of the finger. Complete correction sometimes can not be attained, especially of the middle and end joints in the finger. no matter what method is used.
  3. Skin grafts are sometimes required to cover open areas in the fingers if the skin is deficient during open fasciectomy or open removal of cord tissue..
  4. The nerves that provide feeling to the fingertips are often intertwined with the cords and may be affected by any treatment
  5. Splinting and hand therapy are often required after surgery  or other treatment procedures in order to maximize and maintain the improvement in finger position and function.
  6. All treatments for Dupuytren's may involve the risk of tendon, nerve, joint, skin: injury, infection, and stiffness. as well other conditions that may negatively affect the result.

Monday, June 20, 2011





With certain fractures
A water proof cast may be an option.


Most insurance companies DO NOT see fit to reimburse our office for the significant extra cost for the materials used in preparing a waterproof cast.

BE AWARE that there is an additional charge for a waterproof cast payable at the time of service.

This charge may change with the cast size but there is a minimal starting charge.

If you think about it…if you have to come back in because you soaked your cast and it can’t dry, or if your cast gets so dirty that its an issue for you, you will need to pay another co-pay and the insurance company  or you pay for another cast.. SO for many it makes good sense to either do a good job protecting their cast from the outset or getting a waterproof cast right away. -----IT IS YOUR DECISION!

You can have a non-waterproof cast and protect it.  Non waterproof casts cannot get routinely wet or washed.  If it gets wet by accident typically we tell you to let the cast air dry or use a hairdryer on a cool setting.  But the cast is not designed to get wet repeatedly. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THIS OPTION. IT’S WHAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE DONE AND CONTINUE TO DO

A non waterproof cast and a plastic newspaper bag, bread bag, or a grocery bag can work well too. WE DO NOT ROUTINELY CHANGE a cast if it just gets some water on it.

Cast covers can be purchased at surgical supply stores or online

Commercial waterproof cast covers at with online prices
Short arm covers at $35.95 – $37.95
Long arm covers at $35.95 – $39.95
You can also go to a surgical supply store. Local storesin Western Massachusetts include:
Agawam medical supply 413 789 1100
Footit Surgical-West Springfield 413-733-7843
Mass Surgical supply-Holyoke 413-532-1401

Prices from a recent round of phone calls ranged from 32-40 dollars
There are other cast covers out there too such as seal tight which we were quoted as $33.99

Other covers such as ARMRX are in the 8-12 dollar range but these are thinner and some of our patients have come back and told us that these were no better than the plastic bag and tape method
.  To swim and more successfully  keep dry we have found you need to use a more expensive type. But your cast may still get too wet if it leaks/tears no matter what you pay for the cover.  In general a plastic bag and tape does not work for swimming.


With a waterproof cast you can WASH YOUR ARM with water and squirt liquid soap down the cast and RINSE IT OUT.

WITH A SHOWER/SWIM cover or bag you cannot wash your cast/arm

The text of the mmodified HAND OUT WE USE IN OUR OFFICE FOR 3M™ Scotchcast™Wet or Dry Cast Padding  is below:

A new cast is awkward. You probably feel limited in what you can do with it. Luckily, your physician has fitted you with different kind of cast, constructed of the most innovative casting materials available, and designed with your comfort in mind. Your cast is made of a synthetic water-repellent padding material (3M™ Scotchcast™Wet or Dry Cast Padding), and a fiberglass outer shell designed so that you may get your cast wet, if your physician allows. The outer part is fiberglass which means that the cast is light, strong and water resistant. The combination of these materials allows you to shower or bathe without having to wrap the cast in a waterproof cast cover, if you follow the cast care instructions listed below. You must carefully follow your physician’s instructions if your cast treatment is to be successful. The following are general guidelines only. These guidelines should not be a substitute for your physician’s advice

Cast Care —Wet Use
• If your physician permits you to get your cast wet, you must allow the cast and your skin to dry thoroughly before getting the cast wet again.
• If you experience maceration (i.e., softened, white or wrinkled skin), skin irritation, heat rash or pain, do not get the cast wet.
• Drying time for casts will vary. In some cases, weather conditions, perspiration will prevent the cast from drying completely. Most casts will feel comfortably dry in one to three hours. If your cast feels wet longer, stop getting the cast wet.
• Parents or guardians of young children should monitor the condition of the cast and skin under the cast after the child has gotten the cast wet. If the cast is not drying, do not allow the child to get the cast wet again.
• If a blow dryer is used to aid in drying your cast, use only on a cool setting.
• Gravity causes the water to drain from the cast. If your cast is wet, it is important to position your cast so that water will drain out. .  Hang your arm downward and drain from end of cast.  The material will not absorb water and it will drain to the lowest point. If the cast will not drain, or you cannot position yourself to drain the cast do not get the cast wet again.

• Avoid swimming in natural bodies of water (lakes, rivers or oceans). Waterborne parasites or contaminants entering your cast may cause skin irritation or other problems.
• Ensure that you rinse out the cast thoroughly with clean water after swimming, showering or bathing.
• For your safety when swimming, deep water should be avoided.

General Cast Care —Wet or Dry Use
• Move your fingers frequently to prevent swelling and joint stiffness.
• If your cast becomes soiled on the outside, clean it with a damp cloth and a small amount of mild detergent.
• Do NOT stuff cotton or toilet tissue under your cast, since it may fall into the cast, or decrease your circulation and cause serious medical problems. Do not pull out the cast padding.
• Do NOT break off rough edges or trim your cast before consulting your physician. (Rough edges can be reduced with light filing with a nail file.)
• Do NOT expose the inside of your cast to dirt,
sand or powder.
• Do NOT scratch under your cast with anything. This may break the skin and cause infection.
• Do NOT remove your cast yourself.

Although an old invention, casts are still the most common way of treating broken bones and several other injuries. A key to the effectiveness of you cast is good cast care.

Contact your physician if you
experience any of the following:
• If your cast feels too snug or tight. NOTE: swelling around the injury is common and can cause a cast to feel tight for the first 48 hours.
• If your cast does not dry.
• If you have continued coldness or discoloration of your casted limb.
• Any pain, numbness or continued tingling of your casted fingers or toes.
• If your skin becomes red, raw or emits a bad odor.
• If your cast has cracks, soft spots or becomes loose.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011



this link will translate the assh patient education information from english to spanish

CONDICIONES DEL MANO, la muneca, el antebrazo y el hombro

CONDICIONES DEL MANO, la muneca, el antebrazo y el hombro

Dedo en Gatillo
Tenosinovitis estenosante, comúnmente conocido como dedo en gatillo o pulgar en gatillo, afecta a las poleas y tendones en la mano que flexionan los dedos. Los tendones funcionan como si fueran una larga cuerda que conecta  los músculos del antebrazo con los huesos de los dedos y el pulgar. En los dedos, las poleas forman un túnel bajo el cual los tendones se deslizan.
Tendinitis de Quervain
La  tendinitis del primer compartimiento dorsal, más comúnmente conocida como tendinitis o tenosinovitis de Quervain, en honor al cirujano suizo Fritz de Quervain, es una condición producida por la irritación o inflamación de los tendones de la muñeca en la base del pulgarEl dolor en la muñeca en el lado del pulgar es el síntoma principal. El dolor puede aparecer tanto en forma gradual como súbita, y se localiza en el primer compartimiento dorsal. 

Síndrome del Túnel Carpiano
Los síntomas del síndrome del túnel carpiano incluyen por lo general dolor, insensibilidad, hormigueo, o una combinación de los tres elementos anteriores. La insensibilidad o el hormigueo se presentan con mayor frecuencia en los dedos pulgar, índice, medio y anular

LLiberación endoscópica del túnel carpiano Cirugía

Real metraje: Cirugía endoscópica de video de la liberación del túnel carpiano mediante el Agee proximal limitada pequeña incisión método y dispositivo

Sindrome del tunel cubital El síndrome del túnel cubital es una condición provocada por el aumento de la presión sobre el nervio cubital en el codo. Hay un chichón de hueso en la parte interior del codo (epicondyle medial) en virtud de la cual pasa el nervio ulnar.
Fractura de Colles
Al caer una persona casi siempre tiende a extender la mano para amortiguar la fuerza de la caída contra el piso. Esto puede causar la fractura del hueso del antebrazo (radio) justo por encima de la muñeca, se conoce como la fractura de Colles.

Fracturas del Antebrazo en los Niños
A los niños les encantan correr, brincar, saltar y rodar. Pero si ellos caen con el brazo extendido, ellos podrían romper uno o ambos de los huesos del antebrazo. Las fracturas del antebrazo representan el 40 a 50 por ciento de todas las fracturas de la niñez. Las fracturas pueden ocurrir cerca la muñeca en el extremo más lejos (distal) del hueso, en medio del antebrazo, o cerca del codo en la cabeza (proximal) del hueso. Los huesos del antebrazo son el radio y el cúbito (también conocido como el ulna)

Inflamación del hombro
El síndrome de la inflamación del hombro (síndrome de impedimento) se debe a un problema o a una combinación de problemas, que incluye la inflamación de la bolsa lubricante o bursa (sinovial) ubicada justo por encima del manguito rotador, ésto se denomina bursitis; la inflamación de los tendones del manguito rotador denominada tendinitis; y la calcificación de los tendones debido al uso, lesiones o desgarros. El desgarro del manguito rotador es un posible resultado de la inflamación del hombro.

Cirugia del tunel carpiano en ingles y espanol

Amputacion en los dedos La amputación es la eliminación completa de una herida o parte del cuerpo deformado. Una amputación puede ser el resultado de una lesión traumática o puede ser el resultado de una operación donde el dedo debe ser eliminado. Algunos traumática amputarle los dedos puede ser replantadas o reattached, pero en algunos casos, reattachment del dedo de la mano amputada no es posible o conveniente. Condiciones, tales como un tumor, podrá exigir que un dedo se quirúrgicamente amputados para preservar la salud de una persona.


PARA MAS Informacion en espanol:El Centro de Mano de Massachusetts Occidental
para más visita de la información nuestro Web site


What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) involves compression of the median nerve at the wrist. The finger tendons, blood vessels and median nerve extend from the forearm to the fingers through a small tunnel (surrounded by bone) in the wrist, named the carpal tunnel. If any of the tendons in the carpal tunnel become swollen, the median nerve is pinched resulting in pain, numbness and tingling of the first three fingers of the hand. If CTS is not treated in its early stages, it can result in permanent disability. It is estimated that close to 1 million people in the United States annually may develop CTS, requiring medical care and leaving them at least temporarily disabled.1

What Causes CTS?
CTS can be caused by chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes. It has also been linked with pregnancy and birth control use. Exposure to workplace factors can also cause CTS. It is estimated that approximately 50% of all medically diagnosed cases of CTS are work-related.2,3

Work-related risk factors for CTS include repetitive and forceful exertions of the hands and wrists, combinations of either force or repetitive work and awkward hand postures, and exposure to hand vibration.4 Acute trauma to the wrist can also cause CTS.

Is Work-Related CTS Preventable?
Work related CTS (WR-CTS) is preventable. Prevention practices to reduce the risk of developing CTS are varied. Examples are:

•Adjusting your workstation so that you are working in the proper posture;
•Reducing the number of times per hour or a day you use your fingers and hands;
•Reducing the number and weight of forceful exertions such as lifting or pinching objects.
•Using well maintained, correctly sized tools.
Other prevention strategies involve changing work organization. These include, for example, reducing the pace of work, and making certain you take frequent rest breaks throughout the day.

What is known about work-related CTS in Massachusetts?
Since 1992, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, has conducted surveillance of work-related CTS in order to identify industries, occupations and workplaces where prevention efforts are needed. The Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) at the Department uses two data sources to identify cases of work-related CTS: 1) workers' compensation claims filed in Massachusetts with an injury code for "CTS"; and 2) case reports of confirmed and suspected work-related CTS filed by physicians in accordance with Massachusetts regulations requiring physicians to report select work-related conditions to MDPH.

Key Surveillance Findings
•Between March 1992 and June 1997, 4,837 cases of work-related-CTS were reported to OSHP.
•The highest rates of work-related CTS were found among workers in manufacturing industries. However, the largest numbers of cases were employed in technical, sales and administrative support occupations. Fifteen percent of the cases employed in manufacturing were employed in administrative/sales jobs.
•Data entry keyers, general office clerks, secretaries and cashiers appear on the list of occupations with both high numbers of cases and high rates of work-related CTS.
•Grocery stores were the single industry with the highest number of cases; cashiers made up 40% of the cases. Hospitals (a service industry) has the second highest number of cases. Secretaries make up 15% of the cases in the hospital industry.
•Over 300 cases were less than 25 years old, raising significant concern about the long term impact of work-related CTS on health and employment options of young workers who are just beginning their careers.
•Many more women in Massachusetts are getting work-related CTS than men. A number of factors likely account for this finding. Women may be more likely to select or be selected into high risk jobs. Underlying biological differences between men and women and gender differences in reporting injuries and seeking medical care are also possible factors.
•Over 70% of cases identified through workers' compensation who were interviewed have had surgery for their CTS and almost 70% reported CTS in both hands.
•Approximately 50% of the workers who attributed their CTS to keyboard use reported having had surgery for CTS and 50% reported CTS in both hands

1 Tanaka S, Wild D, Seligaman P, Behrens V, Cameron L and Putz-Anderson V.(1994):The US prevalence of self-reported carpal tunnel syndrome: 1988 national health interview survey data. Am J of Public Health 84(11):1846-1848.

2 Ibid.

3 Cummings H, Maizlish N, Rudolph L, Dervin K, Ervin A (1989): Occupational disease surveillance: Carpal tunnel syndrome. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 38: 485-489.

4 Bernard B (1997): "Musculoskeletal disorders and workplace factors: A critical review of epidemiologic evidence for work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, upper extremity, and low back." Cincinnati: Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

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