Hands and wrists are amazingly complex, with twenty-seven bones, a complex network of ligaments, tendons, joints, nerves, and muscles that work gracefully together. The human hand can type using a keyboard, serve a tennis ball, turn a doorknob, and feel the gentle touch of a child’s hand.
The constant swiveling and pivoting motions of the hand and wrist create painful conditions resulting from wear and tear. Over time, pain and numbness can reduce the hand’s range of motion. In fact, hand and wrist injuries are so common among athletes they have names like “skier’s thumb” and “gamekeepers thumb.” Furthermore, overuse conditions such as “gamer’s thumb” (a repetitive stress injury of the thumb) are becoming more common as people spend longer periods of time interacting with mobile devices and game controllers.
Our hands play such an essential role in our daily lives that these conditions can be debilitating and life-altering. For example, arthritis of the hand and thumb (basal joint arthritis) are prevalent today, affecting people at a relatively young age when compared to arthritis of larger joints of the body.
In This Article:
- What Is Regenerative Therapy for Hand and Wrist Injuries?
- Hand and Wrist Injuries Treated with Regenerative Therapy
- Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist
- Regenerative Therapy for Hand and Wrist Injuries
- Novus Spine & Pain Center
- Regenerative Therapy for Hand and Wrist Injuries Resources
What is Regenerative Therapy for Hand and Wrist Injuries?
Steroid injections and reconstructive surgery may help improve hand and wrist injuries for some; however, additional problems can develop. Over time, it is possible for new problems to appear, causing a return of pain and restricting the range of motion. Fortunately, though, most hand and wrist injuries are treatable with regenerative therapies rather than surgery or steroid injections.
Non-invasive treatments that do not include a lifetime of medications, braces/wraps, or pain is possible because of regenerative therapies like stem cell therapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and prolotherapy. As a result, pain from carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, arthritis, and much more is treatable with a same-day, in-clinic procedure using the patient’s own stem cells to repair and rebuild injured body tissues.
Hand and Wrist Conditions Treated with Regenerative Therapy
Some of the more common hand and wrist injuries treated with stem cells, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and prolotherapy procedures include:
- Arthritis at the base of the thumb (metacarpo-trapezio joint). Injury to this joint is debilitating and a common problem. It can eventually limit movement of the thumb.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Can be a debilitating condition caused by repetitive hand work. Numbness and tingling in the hand and arm are from a pinched nerve in the wrist.
- Chronic Thumb Sprain (“skier’s sprain”). An injury of one or both of the ligaments at the base of the thumb, which is most often the result of a hard fall or collision.
- De Quervians Tendonitis. Pain and tenderness along the thumb side of the wrist, created by tendons and tendon sheath swelling. There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments to help with this.
- Flexor tendon nodules (“trigger finger”) is the result of a tendon nodule hanging and then “popping” past the tendon sheath. You can feel the tendon nodule moving under the skin of the palm as the involved finger is passively moved.
- Ganglion Cyst. The wrist is the most common location for a ganglion cyst to occur. The cyst is a bump or mass that forms under the skin from the joint capsule containing synovial fluid (an egg- white like fluidthat helps reduce friction between joints during movement). The cyst usually returns if the synovial fluid is drained or the entire cyst is surgically removed. Though often painless, it can cause discomfort.
- Mallet finger (joint furthest from hand) and boutonniere deformity (middle joint). Both result in an inability to straighten the affected joint. Usually the result of playing sports and accidents.
- Wrist Arthritis. An inflammation in the joints that causes damage to the cartilage coating the joints that allows the wrist bones to glide smoothly.
- Wrist Fracture (broken wrist). A break in any of the small bones that connect to the bones of the forearm (radius and ulna). The radius is the most common one to break, although any of these bones can break.
- Wrist Sprain (also “triangular fibrocartilage complex” – TFCC injuries). The tearing or stretching of wrist ligaments. This often happens when a person falls onto their outstretched hand, which can be very disabling.
Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist
Besides accidents, arthritis is a very common condition causing pain in the hand and wrist. The wrist contains eight bones (called carpal bones) that serve as a junction between the other bones of your thumb, hand, and forearm. Wrist osteoarthritis is a “wear and tear” degeneration of the wrist joint surfaces. Inflammation of any of these joint surfaces can cause pain and a decreased range of motion. The pain can range from mildly irritating to severely debilitating.
Traditional treatment of wrist osteoarthritis is to modify activity, immobilize the affected wrist, and physical therapy exercises. In essence, stop the activities that led to the arthritis! The conventional wisdom has been that bracing the wrist, and performing specific exercises, will increase strength, stability, and range of motion.
For moderate or severe wrist osteoarthritis, a doctor usually prescribes steroid injections (cortisone) to reduce pain and inflammation. If surgery is necessary, an orthopedic surgeon may remove several carpal bones in the wrist (proximal row carpectomy). Should these fail to relieve pain, a more drastic option is to fuse the wrist bones together so they cannot move and cause pain. The goal of these procedures is to eliminate the pain by eliminating movement.
Regenerative Therapy for Hand and Wrist Injuries
Today, advanced non-surgical regenerative therapies can relieve the pain of hand and wrist injuries. Regenerative therapy repairs the body by using its own tissue to initiate the healing process. The process works by injecting the patient’s own stem cells or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the painful area. Another form of regenerative therapy is prolotherapy, which includes injecting a mildly irritating solution into the area of concern to stimulate the body’s healing response and naturally increase blood flow to the area.
Stem Cell Therapy for Wrist Conditions
One man had severe daily hand pain that made shaking hands almost unbearable. He had cysts and holes in his wrist bones. Prescription anti-inflammatory medications only managed the pain but did nothing to heal the problem.
After a single injection of his own stem cells, the patient reported his wrist felt better within the next couple of weeks. His hand continued to improve over the next seven months. A follow-up MRI revealed the cysts were gone, and the bone was restructured. The patient had no inflammation, and his hand was forming new cartilage. One injection of stem cells was sufficient for this patient’s ongoing improvement.
PRP Therapy for Wrist Arthritis
The use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) produced from a patient’s own blood is a non-surgical option for wrist osteoarthritis. Platelets and growth factors in the blood help facilitate the healing. The PRP process concentrates the elements for injection into the wrist.
People with wrist osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb have benefited from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections in clinical studies. Individuals treated with PRP had less pain, greater strength, and greater wrist function than those treated with a placebo injection. Additional studies found platelet-rich plasma improved outcomes in people with osteoarthritis in the carpal bones of the wrist.
Prolotherapy for Wrist Conditions
Dr. Rodney S. Van Pelt a California prolotherapy doctor, recounts the story of a 23-year-old female patient. The patient with a rough, physical job, fell and landed on her right hand. She had severe pain and swelling of her wrist, and endured the pain for three months before seeking medical attention. Her demanding job placed ongoing stress on her wrist injury, which led to continued pain and very restricted range of motion.
When she sought medical attention with an orthopedic surgeon, she was told she had significant damage to the wrist and needed surgery right away. The surgeon said the surgery would decrease the range of motion further to her wrist, which was less than 10 degrees at that time. The surgeon also informed her that without immediate surgery the wrist would collapse, making her arm bones protrude through the wrist, resulting in damage that could not then be repaired.
Seeking a second opinion, she decided to undergo aggressive prolotherapy – injections of a strong solution targeting the injured ligaments. She received three treatments one week apart followed by three more treatments, six to eight weeks apart. A total of six treatments over a six-month period.
Three months after her last treatment, she reported no pain and a full range of motion of her wrist! She was back at work doing everything she did before the accident.
Novus Spine & Pain Center
Novus Spine & Pain Center is in Lakeland, Florida, and specializes in regenerative therapy for treating the pain of hand and wrist Injuries. By using a comprehensive approach and cutting-edge therapies, we work together with patients to restore function and regain an active lifestyle, while minimizing the need for opiates.
Regenerative Therapy for Hand and Wrist Injuries Resources
Stem Cell Therapy and Blood Platelet Procedures for Common Hand & Wrist Injuries & Arthritis (Columbia Pain Management)
Targeted Procedure Thumb Basal Joint / CMC Arthritis (Regenexx)
Regenerative Platelet Rich Plasma Injections for Wrist Osteoarthritis (American Regenerative Medicine Society)
Hand and Wrist Prolotherapy (Journal of Prolotherapy)
Patient uses fat stem cells to repair his wrist (CNN)
Stem Cell Treatment For Joints In Hands & Wrist (NSI Stem Cell)
Investigating the effect of intra-articular PRP injection on pain and function improvement in patients with distal radius fracture (Science Direct)
Chronic Wrist Pain and Non-Surgical Treatment Options (Stem Cell Institute)
Leukocyte-Reduced Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment of Basal Thumb Arthritis: A Pilot Study (PubMed)
Biologic Approaches to Problems of the Hand and Wrist (PubMed)