Diseases & Conditions

When it comes to hand and wrist injuries, the road to recovery begins with being armed with the latest information about your condition. At Desert Regional Medical Center, we’re committed to staying up-to-date on the orthopedic diseases and conditions that affect our patients.

The information provided below includes common hand and wrist conditions that you may encounter. If you have specific questions about your condition, please call (760) 416-4511 and you’ll be connected to one of our specialists. You may also use our convenient physician finder tool.


Arthritis is a condition characterized by the inflammation or degeneration of the joints, including the knee. Arthritis is often accompanied by stiffness, swelling and pain.

Bicep tendon injury

The biceps muscle is the strength behind every bend of the elbow and rotation of the forearm and also keeps the shoulder stable. Injuries to the tendons that attach the bicep muscle to the bones can cause arm weakness and pain during the most routine and everyday activities.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

CTS is a common, sometimes sharply painful, condition where burning, tingling and pain are felt in the fingers and hand. CTS is brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. There are a variety of causes of swelling and pressure, from injury to mechanical joint problems.

Congenital hand defects

Congenital hand defects or deformities are anomalies in the hand that are present at birth. While genetics may cause some deformities, others are without cause. Defects range widely in impact on the appearance and function of hands, and many (though not all) can be addressed with reconstructive surgery.

Cubital tunnel syndrome

This syndrome can cause severe pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the arms and hand, brought on by excessive or repetitive elbow use. It is caused by pressure on the nerve in the elbow, arm or wrist, and treatments can range from merely limiting use to surgery depending on the case.

De Quervain's tenosynovitis

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is also referred to as stenosing tenosynovitis. It occurs when tendons near the base of the thumb are irritated or constricted and cause pain in making a fist or turning the wrist. Repetitive gripping motions such as gardening, golf, or racket sports can aggravate this injury.


Dislocations of the elbow, finger and wrist are very painful injuries that occur when the bones are moved out of their proper jointed position. Injuries are usually caused by a fall or trauma, and can result in pain, swelling and the inability to properly bend or move the hand, wrist and arm.

Dupuytren's contracture

A hand deformity that usually develops over many years, this condition affects a layer of skin under the palm. Knots of tissue form under the skin, pulling one or more fingers (usually the ring or little fingers) into a bent position.

Lateral epicondylitis

Commonly known as Tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis is caused by overuse, often by tennis and other racquet sports players. The tendons that join the forearm are inflamed from overuse, causing pain and tenderness over the outside of the bone.

Fingertip injuries

These are the most common injury to the hand, as fingertips are very vulnerable to cuts, tears or crushing injuries that damage the nail, skin, bone or other soft tissue. Because fingers are rich with nerves and very sensitive, injuries can disrupt the function of the entire hand.


Fractures of the elbow, hand and wrist occur when the arm or hand is bent with enough force to snap the bone. These injuries are usually caused by a fall or traumatic blow and will result in severe pain, swelling and loss of movement.

Ganglion cysts

The most common cause of lumps or masses in the hand, often on the back of the wrist, these cysts are fluid-filled sacks that likely result from a weakness of the joint capsule, ligaments or tendon sheaths. While many don't require treatment, some can, as they are painful and interfere with function or appearance.

Mallet finger

A direct trauma injury to the extensor tendon in the tip of the finger, which is responsible for straightening the finger. Often a ball or unyielding object strikes the finger and forces it to bend further than normal, and the finger is not able to straighten on its own.

Nerve injuries

These occur often in the hand, since the hand and fingers are filled with an intricate network of nerves used for feeling, gripping and movement. Damage to nerves can result in loss of function and skill as well as pain. Nerves are damaged by crushing or hard impact on the hand.

Osteochondritis dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow is most usually found in adolescent children ages 10-18, where a portion of the bone or cartilage is cut off from the blood supply. This creates a dead area of the elbow, resulting in painful locking and popping of the elbow as well as swelling or tenderness.

Sprains and strains

Common in sports but can occur during the course of any physical activity, sprains and strains occur when the ligaments that connect one bone to the other are stretched or torn, usually as a result of a fall or awkward motion that overextends or ruptures the ligaments.

Tendon injuries

Tendons are the fibers that connect muscle to bone. Tendons in the wrist, finger and elbow areas can become injured, inflamed or even torn through falls or sudden traumatic events, but often occur over time through misuse or overuse.

Triangular fibrocartilage complex injuries

This type of injury impacts the little finger side of the wrist. TFCC stabilizes the bone in the wrist and acts to stabilize movement. The wrist can be injured in a fall or sudden impact to an outstretched hand, resulting in pain, swelling and lack of movement. 

Trigger finger

A common name for stenosing tenosynovitis, it is a condition where a finger or thumb is trapped in a bent position. People who repetitively grip items have a higher risk for developing trigger finger, where the sheath that surrounds tendons in the finger becomes inflamed.

Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury

Many throwing athletes suffer from UCL injuries, as sprains and injuries repetitive throwing motions often inflame or even cause small tears within the ligament. The UCL is located on the inside of the elbow.