Hand and Wrist Conditions

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Pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand or wrist can make it difficult to perform even the simplest tasks. Our orthopaedic specialists provide the latest treatments to help relieve hand and wrist problems in children and adults. Our hand and wrist surgeons are also experts at restoring function following injuries; correcting deformities that are present at birth; fixing fractures of the hand, wrist, and elbow; and treating sports injuries of the hand, among other conditions.

Our Orthopaedic Clinics

Our hand and wrist specialists see patients at Duke Orthopaedic clinics throughout the Triangle. Find one near you. In-person and virtual appointments are available.

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When to Seek Treatment for Hand or Wrist Pain

If you or your child has hand or wrist pain or other symptoms that haven’t improved with rest or over-the-counter pain relievers, it may be time to see an orthopaedic specialist. 

Duke Orthopaedic Urgent Care
Our Orthopaedic Urgent Care clinic can provide expert treatments for a wide range of hand and wrist conditions and can refer you to a Duke orthopaedic specialist for follow-up care. This clinic is open seven days a week. Get fast service with no unnecessary exposure to illness. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.

About Hand and Wrist Problems

Some problems with the appearance or function of the hand or wrist are congenital, meaning you are born with them. Others can result from a variety of injuries or conditions.
Accident or Trauma
Fractures can result from sports activities, a fall, or an accident. Serious accidents can cause amputation of a hand, finger, or thumb that surgeons may be able to reattach.
Compressed Nerves (Neuropathies)
Repeated movements such as typing, working on an assembly line, or playing golf or racquet sports can cause compression of the nerves in the hands and wrists -- leading to numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness. Common nerve-compression problems include carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.
Tendon Inflammation or Injury
Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones. When the tendons in the hand and wrist area become inflamed or damaged, they can cause disorders such as trigger finger, trigger thumb, de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, wrist tendinitis, finger tendon ruptures/lacerations, and distal biceps and triceps ruptures. Tendon problems are sometimes caused by overuse.
Ligament or Cartilage Injury
Ligaments and cartilage are connective tissue that help stabilize and protect our joints. They can get damaged or torn as a result of traumatic injury or overuse. One common condition is a tear in the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) -- cartilage found on the pinkie side of the wrist.
This joint inflammation causes pain, swelling, and -- in severe cases -- joint deformity. The most common type, osteoarthritis, is caused by wear and tear and tends to occur with age. It can also develop from overuse or following an injury. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease -- where the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues -- and can occur in children as well as adults.
Ganglion Cyst
This fluid-filled sac usually forms on the front or back the back of the wrist joint.

Why Choose Duke

We Treat the Full Range of Hand and Wrist Conditions
This includes injuries in amateur and professional athletes of all ages. Many come to Duke from other parts of the country for our expert sports-injury care. We often help patients who come to us after treatment at other centers has failed.

Leaders in Hand Transplantation
Less than 300 people have received hand transplants in the world. The head of our hand transplant program participated in the first two hand transplants performed in the U.S. in 1999 and 2001. Since then, less than 100 hand transplants have been performed in the U.S. North Carolina's first hand transplant was performed at Duke in 2016.

Advanced Care from Skilled Experts
Our hand and wrist surgeons are skilled in the most advanced surgical techniques for repairing injuries; correcting deformities; reattaching hands, fingers, and thumbs; and restoring function. This includes wrist fusion and wrist replacement surgeries. Whenever possible, our surgeons offer minimally invasive procedures, which can reduce your healing time.

Specially Trained Hand Therapists
Occupational therapists who specialize in hand and wrist conditions are located right in our clinics. They provide customized therapy to help you recover from surgery as quickly as possible -- or avoid the need for surgery altogether.

We’re Innovators and Teachers
Our hand and wrist specialists have developed new treatment techniques and devices that are now used across the country. For example, a Duke doctor developed a new type of fusion plate that results in better outcomes in wrist fusion procedures. They’re also teachers who train the next generation of orthopaedic specialists in complex surgical procedures.

Best Orthopaedic Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our orthopaedics program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

This page was medically reviewed on 09/19/2022 by