Strengthening Hands, Wrists and Elbows

Hand and wrist conditions can be debilitating. You don’t have to suffer through pain, stiffness, numbness or weakness. Our expert hand surgeons address function in your hands, wrists and elbows.

Turn to Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to repair both sudden and chronic injuries. General wear and tear, trauma, repetitive movements, disease and more can cause pain in your hands or wrists. Our orthopedic hand surgeons work to restore and preserve function through nonsurgical or surgical treatment.

When Do You Need Hand Surgery?

You need treatment if your hands feel chronically numb, stiff or painful. Sanford Health’s hand specialists don’t recommend surgery until you’ve exhausted other avenues, such as wearing a splint or taking medication.

We offer treatments for these conditions:

  • Arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Hand infections
  • Lumps on the hands or wrists (ganglion cysts)
  • Nerve compression syndromes
  • Permanently bent fingers (Dupuytren’s contracture)
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Trauma
  • Trigger finger
  • Tumors
  • Wrist pain

Sometimes, all it takes to relieve hand pain is therapy or activity modifications. But if you do need surgery to correct hand injuries, look no further than our surgeons.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Carpal tunnel is one of the most common hand conditions. It afflicts millions of Americans every year. It is a numbness or tingling in the hand, typically caused by a pinched nerve. Sometimes carpal tunnel clears up with rest or by using ice and wrist splints. Your doctor may also prescribe medications or cortisone injections.

If these treatments don’t relieve your pain, you may need carpal tunnel surgery. During the operation, our hand surgeons will enlarge the carpal tunnel with small incisions to reduce the pressure on the nerve.

The surgery typically lasts 30 minutes with local anesthesia and is done on an outpatient basis. Patients go home on the same day as their procedure.

Recover Faster After Surgery

Sanford Health offers surgery that puts precision and accuracy first. We aim to reduce your recovery time and increase your comfort during and after surgery. We’ll walk you through recovery.

You may need therapy and rehabilitation to regain full use of your hand. Your doctor will decide the specifics of your recovery depending on your surgery.


Find an Orthopedic Hand Surgeon

Get specialized care from a hand surgeon at Sanford Health. Our orthopedic surgeons are experts in their field and will put your comfort and recovery first.

Find a Hand Specialist


Find a Surgery Clinic

Sanford Health has orthopedic and sports medicine clinics across the Upper Midwest. Find a dedicated team of surgeons at a location near you.

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How long does hand surgery take?

This depends on the type of surgery you need. Procedure times range from 20 minutes to two hours.

A majority of our hand surgery patients go home after their procedure. Most do not need to stay overnight in the hospital.

Are you asleep for hand surgery?

It depends on your surgery. Most hand surgeries can be performed using only local anesthesia. The hand or finger is injected with lidocaine and the patient does not need to be under sedation.

Local anesthesia comes with benefits. It skips preoperative physicals and testing that are required for sedation. Patients can go home after their surgery and do not need to miss breakfast or interrupt their medication regimen. We’ve performed thousands of hand surgeries using only local anesthesia and most patients rate the experience as better or the same as going to a dentist appointment.

If you prefer some type of sedation for anxiety or would prefer not to be awake during your surgery, talk to your surgeon. We offer sedation for patients who would prefer it.

What is the typical recovery time?

Every surgery is different. Some patients may return to regular activities like typing or writing within days. Others may take weeks or months to fully recover. Talk to your hand surgery team about how you can improve your recovery time.

Can I use my hand after surgery?

We’ll apply a bandage or splint to the affected fingers after your surgery. You should move your other fingers to avoid stiffness. Your surgeon will have specific recommendations for you based on your surgery.

How can I reduce swelling after hand surgery?

The easiest way to reduce swelling is to elevate your hand and wrist. Try to keep the affected hand at the level of your heart or higher as much as possible.

Too much activity can also contribute to swelling. Make sure to rest your hand and wrist after the operation.

To reduce pain after your surgery, try:

  • Alternating over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications with acetaminophen
  • Keeping your hand elevated at or above your heart
  • Placing an ice pack under your armpit, which will delay the nerves’ messages of pain from getting to your brain
  • Resting when possible

Learn More

Before Hand Surgery

Let Sanford Health guide you to the information you need to make the best decision for your hand and arm health. We answer common questions such as:

  • How do you diagnose hand conditions?
  • What tests can you expect?
  • How should you prepare for diagnostic tests?

After Hand Surgery

What can you expect after hand surgery? Recovery depends on the type of surgery you had and the cause of your hand condition. In many cases, surgery is just the start of recovery, but we can give you an idea of what to expect, such as:

  • Immobilization in a bandage or splint
  • Restrictions on work and activities
  • Rehabilitation including physical therapy or occupational therapy
  • Exercise


Non-Surgical Options

Our hand surgeons offer non-surgical options for conditions affecting your hands. We also recommend these as rehabilitation after surgery. These options include:

  • Caring for wounds and controlling scars
  • Desensitization, sensory re-education or nerve glides following nerve injury or trauma
  • Exercises to increase motion, dexterity and strength
  • Fluidotherapy
  • Ultrasound
  • E-stimulation
  • Iontophoresis
  • Paraffin
  • Reducing swelling
  • Splints for preventing or correcting injury

Helping you learn to perform daily life skills and work skills through adapted methods and equipment, activity modification and conditioning work.

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