April 13, 2024

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Types of Upper Extremity Conditions

Upper Extremities Disorders

The upper extremity is your arm, hand, and fingers. Your upper extremity is one of the most important parts of your body. It allows you to do many things, such as feeding yourself, writing, holding objects, and performing other activities necessary for daily living. Unfortunately, these body parts will likely develop problems affecting the quality of life. If any organ in your upper extremity is ailing, Dr. Kristopher Downing La Jolla can help.

Here are some common types of upper extremity conditions.

Rotator cuff tear

A rotator cuff is a group of muscle tendons and ligaments that provide stability and strength to your shoulder. It allows you to raise your arm to the side, rotate it inward and outward, and lift it behind your back. The tendons attach the muscles to the bone of the shoulder joint. Ligaments connect bone to bone in joints. When one or more of these structures becomes injured or inflamed, it’s called a rotator cuff tear.

It can happen in any person at any age but is more common in people 40 or older and those who participate in certain sports that involve repetitive overhead motions, such as tennis, golf, and swimming.

Treatment options include rest, medications, and corticosteroid injections. However, surgery may be needed for some patients who have persistent pain from their rotator cuff tear or have a significant loss of function from their injury.

Humerus fracture

 The humerus is one of two bones that make up your upper arm, the other being the radius. A fracture of this bone usually occurs during an impact from an outside force, like falling onto an outstretched hand or arm, also known as an avulsion fracture. A fractured humerus may require surgery if it is displaced or unstable. However, most fractures heal well without it.

Brachial plexus injury

 This involves damage to the nerve roots that travel from your spinal cord to your upper extremity. Damage to these nerves causes a loss of sensation and muscle weakness in your arm or hand. This type of injury may be caused by a neck injury during birth or car accidents.

Elbow dislocation

 This occurs when one part of your elbow joint moves out of place relative to another part of your elbow joint, causing pain and swelling in that area elbow. It usually happens when you fall on an outstretched hand while bending at the waist with a straightened knee, called a hyperextension injury.

Thoracic outlet syndrome

The thoracic outlet is where the nerves from your neck go down through an opening between two ribs before they reach their destinations in the arms and hands. If this area becomes too tight or inflamed, it can compress these nerves resulting in pain or numbness (usually in one hand). Treatment includes taking anti-inflammatory medication.

Upper extremity conditions affect an individual’s quality of life. It is essential to prevent these injuries because they can be debilitating. Those with upper extremity conditions are often at an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Patients also experience problems with function, pain, and loss of mobility. For help with upper extremity disorders, contact Upper Extremity Specialists of Ortho 1 Medical Group.