Treatments for Elbow, Wrist & Hand Pain

Expert surgery and care for hand, wrist and elbow pain.

Your hands and arms are at the center of your life. They let you carry groceries, throw a ball for your dog and hug your loved ones. With specialized therapy and surgery care, we’ll protect your upper extremities so you can continue living the life you love. 

Overview

Specialized Care to Treat Hand, Wrist & Elbow Pain

Your hands, wrists and forearms are amazing tools that serve you every day. But with dozens of bones connected by muscles and tendons, hands and arms can be easily injured.

Whether you’re experiencing a hand injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis or tennis elbow, Aurora Health Care’s orthopedic team can offer relief. Together, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan to ease your pain. With the help of surgery, tendon release or other treatments, your hands and arms can get back to work.

The Aurora Difference

Expert Hand, Wrist & Elbow Care: From Elbow Replacement to Therapy

When you’re in pain because of hand or arm difficulties, you just want to get your body working again.

The delicate, complex structures of the hand, wrist and elbow require specialized medical and therapeutic knowledge. Our team has the expertise you need, whether you’re looking for hand surgery, elbow replacement or anything in between.

People choose Aurora because we offer:

  • Comprehensive care, centered on you: Our experienced team can diagnose many conditions during just one or two office visits. Sometimes you can even see multiple specialists in a single visit. Together, we’ll discuss your options so you can make informed decisions about treatment.
  • Fellowship-trained joint specialists: Our orthopedic surgeons have specialized training in hand surgery and joint reconstruction. These hand experts are at convenient locations throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
  • Minimally invasive treatments: We were among the first in Wisconsin to offer less-invasive carpal tunnel surgeries. Known as arthroscopic or endoscopic procedures, these surgeries use tools inserted through small incisions. The result is faster recovery times and better outcomes for you. Learn more about minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.
  • Hand therapy specialists: Our certified hand therapists have thousands of hours of experience in helping people regain function after surgery. Learn more about hand therapy.
  • Occupational therapy on-site: On-staff occupational therapists are often in-clinic at the same time as our hand surgeons. That makes it easy for your doctor and therapist to discuss the best options for you – like whether you should try custom-fitted splints or specific exercises to improve your range of motion after surgery.
  • Convenient care in Milwaukee and beyond: The Aurora Hand Service Program offers specialized surgical and nonsurgical treatment for all hand and arm conditions – from your fingertips to your shoulders. This special expertise is available to you and your family throughout eastern Wisconsin.

Conditions

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Non-Surgical Care

Restoring Elbow, Wrist & Hand Movement Without Surgery

Not everyone needs surgery. As a first line of treatment, you may consider nonsurgical methods including:

  • Customized splints or casts: Sometimes, a hand or wrist problem simply needs support. You may benefit from ready-to-use splints, or you may require a customized brace. Our orthopedists and occupational therapists can help.
  • Symptom management: Sometimes, you just need help managing your pain until a condition improves. We provide integrative medicine like chiropractic care or acupuncture and nonnarcotic medications.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help ease impingement (compression of a nerve or blood vessel by joint or muscle problems), improve range of motion and build strength in the elbow, wrist and hand. Learn more about physical therapy.
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can make it easier to do your daily activities. Specialized occupational therapy can help you regain hand strength and prevent further damage. Read more about occupational therapy.
  • Guided injections: Injections administer fast-acting or long-lasting medication directly into the joint to reduce inflammation and pain. With the help of ultrasound imaging (using sound waves) or fluoroscopy (injecting a dye agent to more clearly show the joint), injections can reach the source of pain to bring relief. Learn more about injections for joint pain.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP): For conditions like tennis elbow (tendonitis in the elbow), PRP can help you heal. Your doctor separates platelets (blood cells that contain growth factors) from a sample of your own blood and injects them right where you have pain. Read more about tennis elbow.
  • Xiaflex® for Dupuytren’s contracture: People with Dupuytren’s contracture (an inherited, progressive hand disorder that limits finger movement) may benefit from injection with Xiaflex. Done in your doctor’s office, Xiaflex injections can relieve stiffness and let you move your fingers again.

Surgery

Elbow, Wrist & Hand Surgery to Restore Motion

When you’re facing hand, wrist or elbow surgery, you may have questions about the procedure and wonder how long recovery will take.

Before surgery, we’ll discuss every aspect of your treatment and recovery so you know exactly what to expect. Afterward, we’ll help you with therapy to regain function in your hand and arm.

Elbow, Wrist & Hand Surgery: Our Procedures

Our team specializes in minimally invasive surgery, reconstruction, and microsurgery on tiny blood vessels, tendons and nerves. Our surgical specialties include:

  • Minimally invasive tendon treatments: Newer treatments use ultrasound guidance to remove scar tissue from around tendons. This scar tissue can cause pain and impair movement. Your doctor can remove the scar tissue through a tiny incision, allowing you to return to normal activities within a few weeks. This procedure often helps people with golfer’s elbow.
  • Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery: For carpal tunnel, we offer a less-invasive technique using an endoscope – a narrow instrument with a tiny camera on the end. This procedure lets your doctor perform surgery through small incisions in your hand or wrist. Smaller incisions may help you heal faster and with less pain. Read more about carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Fusions and reconstructions: Our specialty-trained hand and wrist surgeons provide a complete range of procedures to reconstruct the wrist or hand – from open surgery to arthroscopically assisted surgery (procedures that use small incisions and small instruments). For advanced osteoarthritis, surgeons may replace or fuse joint surfaces. Procedures like thumb reconstructions can help improve mobility for those with arthritis.
  • Total elbow replacement: Also known as total elbow arthroplasty, this procedure can restore movement and relieve pain due to arthritis or an injury. Learn more about arthritis and musculoskeletal care.

Recovery

Recovery & Rehabilitation After Surgery

After hand, wrist or elbow surgery, most people can get back to work quickly and return to their extracurricular activities soon afterward. Depending on the procedure, many people return to their activities within two to six weeks, but a full recovery may take up to six months. Your specific recovery time will depend on your individual situation.

Rehabilitation plays an important role in recovering from hand surgery. Our integrated care teams work closely together during your transition from surgery to physical or occupational therapy and back to your regular routine. Learn more about orthopedic physical therapy.

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