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Author Topic: Advice in how to treat hurt hands (injury due to using crutches)??  (Read 16655 times)

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Offline ChrisAngel

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Hello!

I would like to ask for some advice to my situation. It is not directly knee-related, but the injury is due to using crutches because of knees. Original post that has the whole story can be found here
http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=23127.msg179095#msg179095

I hurt my shoulders a bit over 4 months ago, which probably is a pinched nerve. Rest, pain meds, cortisone shot, icing and heat, has been tried in treating the shoulders. At the moment I cannot go to work, but do it mostly from home (occasionally I have to go there, though). Boss is not liking it (I am a personal assistant to a politically important person and have no one to cover for me), but I cannot help my situation at work.

My shoulders are still painful and it's been 4 months now. Only that it's not just the shoulders that hurt alone. Now my elbows and palms are getting more painful as well and I'm worried of the pressure-type-of feeling I get in my palms and wrists every now and then. I'm familiar with the feeling and usually it passes, but with my current condition it's just too much to handle.

I don't think I could handle carpal tunnel syndrome AND the shoulders at the same time!! :-\ I had carpal tunnel in both wrists when I was 21 (will turn 26 in March) that lasted almost a year...don't wanna go through that again. Now I cannot at times even pick up things when my palms hurt, or even press the buttons on the remote control!! :'(

Shoulders alone were one thing, but WITH the palms and elbows hurting, it just gets too complicated. The whole hand is hurting, 3 joints in pain at the same time. And I should be going into a new knee scope sometime in the near future...so heavy crutch-time will be ahead. I have no idea how to get through this...hands alone would be one thing, but combined with the leg-issues....mission impossible  :'( :'( :'(

I'm tomorrow going to see a doc to ask referral to get an electric test, ENMG (electroneuromyography), done for the shoulders and hands. I had ENMG done for my wrists back then. Maybe it will show something..

Or is there any other tests that could be done in this situation? (maybe MRI?)

Does someone have any efficient tips in treating painful elbows and palms? For the wrists/palms I remember using this soft rubber ball my doc at the time recommended me buy, squeezing it in my hand for exercise. I still have that ball somewhere, do you think that would help with the palm/wrist pain? The pumping movement could increase circulation and therefore be good. Opinions?

How about elbows? I really haven't had any severe elbow pains before, so have little info in how to treat them (in addition to icing?). The pain I now have in them must be radiating from the shoulder joint. It feels like muscle pain, though is sharp at times.

Shoulders I really cannot exercise, since they are in constant pain (a person does all the time something that requies shoulder movement), so I think if I could do something to ease pain elbows and palms/wrists.

Thank you so much for any possible tips!

Chris
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Offline tippyclubb

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Re: Advice in how to treat hurt hands (injury due to using crutches)??
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2006, 02:37:32 AM »
Hi, Chris .  Have had trouble with my left wrist, hand for years.  It comes and goes.  This summer it got so bad and the doctor told me it was carpal tunnel, had the test which showed up as carpal tunnel??  Surgery was not a option for me due to my line of work so looked for an alternative way to ease the symptons.  I started wearing a wrist brace which didn't help much so I went to a chiropractic doctor.  After two sessions I began to feel better and 2-3 weeks later I had improved by 80%.  The chiropractic doc says my wrist , hand problems were not carpal tunnel, but a pinched nerve in my neck.  I have to agree with him because after 6 weeks of seeing him I had no pain, tingling, or numbness in wrist, hand, or arm.

When I broke my knee and had to rely on crutches the pain came back in wrist, hands, shooting up arm. It hurt so bad using those crutches and my hands could not stand the pain.  Back to the chiorpractor I went and that did relieve some of the pain, but at the end of the day I was all messed up again.  I knew I could not use those crutches so I got a wheel chair and thats how I got around until I was able to walk.  A few more visit with the chiropractor and I am ok now.  No more pain in the wrist.

Thats my story, and maybe you could try a chriopractor, and get a wheelchair so you don't have to rely on crutches. It worked for me.  I understand what your going through.   Theres no way I could deal with the pain from my knee and have the crutches cause more pain.  They had to go!  I hope you find a solution to your problem.

tippyclubb

Offline ChrisAngel

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Re: Advice in how to treat hurt hands (injury due to using crutches)??
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2006, 06:33:53 AM »
Hey Tippyclubb!

Thank you for your advice and sorry to hear u too have been in such a bad situation urself! Unfortunately a wheelchair is not an option for me. First, I live in the 3rd floor, in a 3 floor building with no elevator and second, the surroundings does not allow that in any way (lots of stairs etc). But good it helped u.

Nice to hear chiropractor was able to help u! I shall keep that in mind for the future. Today I'm gonna get an Xray and ultrasound done for the shoulders. Maybe that will show something.

Gotta get going there now, bye and thanks!

Chris
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Offline tippyclubb

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Re: Advice in how to treat hurt hands (injury due to using crutches)??
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2006, 07:16:10 PM »
If you find out today its a pinched nerve, you should seriously consider seeing a chiropractic doctor.  They wanted to do surgery on my wrist.  All of my pain was due to a pinched nerve, which was corrected by the chiroprator.  I cannot imagine having to go up and down 3 flights of stairs on crutches, with your hands , wrist , and shoulder hurting.  You must be in terrible pain.  Lets us know the results of your test. Good luck!

tippy

Offline ChrisAngel

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Re: Advice in how to treat hurt hands (injury due to using crutches)??
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2006, 07:57:04 PM »
X-ray and ultrasound didn't reveal anything relevant. So next week I'm gonna have the ENMG done. After that I hope we can discuss about some treatment that actually could work (already tried acupuncture and massage) for me. That shall be seen then. 

Good thing is, that I've lived the last 19 years in this apartment, 3rd floor with no elevator, so I'm used to it. It's a good thing I don't have any comparison, otherwise I don't think I could do it. And at times I can't, but there is no choice! I've lived in a ground level house the first 6 years of my life and moved here when I just turned 7, so it's so long ago I cannot remember it anymore. Which is good thing. At least I get stair-exercise the days I get out of the house. Little movement is better than nothing, I try to think, as otherwise I cannot do any exercise. Just like the movement I get when doing the necessary moving around home with crutches, between rooms. Better than nothing. I'm not an optimist by nature, but I try see the good sides when I can..

Right now I work mostly from home, go to work maybe once, rarely two times, a week. My boss is not liking it (he is an important political person and I am his assistant), but what else can we do. There is no one to cover for me, so right now my dad is doing that, as he also is involved in the city politics and knows about the stuff. He does what he can, although he is still in recovery from cancer surgery last summer. I didn't ask him to do it, so he does it by his own choice. It's not easy, but we do what we can.

Thank you so much for your support, tippy!! :D  I shall keep you posted on how things go!

Hugs,
Chris
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Offline ChrisAngel

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Update of my situation!
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2006, 12:05:26 AM »
Heya all!

Been a while since I last wrote here...well, if u've read my earlier background stories, u know how I've been cursing these hands preventing me from writing here, which normally would help me to cope. It pretty much just makes me miserable, since now most of the things that used to bring me comfort, are not ripped away from me. Mailing I can sometimes do, if dividing the writing in small parts. Like I'm going to do with this post as well.

It's now been over 9 months and the situation with my shoulders has not changed. Still having to use 1-2 crutches to get around because of kneepains. Living in the 3rd floor with no elevator pretty much puts me into a spot of spending most of my time inside 4 walls, only having TV and books to keep me occupied when not having to work (working from home mostly still) or during those rare times some friend is visiting. Which really doesn't happen often. TV and books are pretty much the only things I can do these days. But they are not bad. I have lots of videotapes and DVDs to watch. And lots of fun books to read. And now that it's warm I can go read to the balcony of our apartment.

And of course backpains bug me almost all the time too, when I can often do nothing else than lie in bed because of all the other pains. Biking is a no-go, since knees cannot take that. Swimming might be good, but there is too long way to the nearest general swimming hall, when I don't have a car (not that I could drive now anyway). Lately the backpain has gone worse, which worries me. I've had one BIG backpain "attack" in my life, which caused me to live in constant fear of getting it again some day. It happened in 2004 when I was bending down in the kitchen to get something from the lower shelf...when something snapped in my back, sending me tumbling down to the floor. One of the scariest things happend in my life! What if the next time happens when I'm home alone... ??!!?:-\

Well, back to the shoulders.

Every possible (at least what I can think of) test has been taken. X-ray, ultrasound, ENMG (showing no pinched nerve or nerve damage) and the latest was MRI, where I had to do some serious fighting to get my occupational doctor to give me a referral to one. As my work health care covers for MRI, of course I went to get it done that way. Otherwise I couldn't have been to pay for such thing! The work doc had been nice until that, getting me into those earlier tests in his own request (xray, ultrasound, ENMG) to examine my shoulders. But when I asked for the MRI, he was like "Those are expensive and I don't see the point of u going there, if they aren't going to do surgery for your hands". I was mortified. That doc had the nerve to tell me I didn't have the right to get that MRI done! But I insisted it, since a new miracle of an OS told me to get an MRI done for my knees and shoulders.

And true, the original order to go MRI came from an outside source. The one finnish OS I've seen recommended here had been haunting in the back of my brain for about a year. Last year we tried PT, which got us nowhere. After that it was just trying to find a doc that would operate me. I tried to get in to public hospital, but they wouldn't operate me. So going to private is the only way for me now. Pricy, but there is no other choise.

Then finally, I decided to try my luck and made an appointment to the doc recommended here. I did my research of him, and everything looked good. Sakari Orava, a professor, wide-area experience in treating traumatized joints and specialized in arthroscopic surgeries, a publisher of over 400 pieces of medical writings in articles and books. But as things might turn out to be different in reality than they are on paper, I was really nervous. This OS, Dr.Orava, was my last hope. If this failed, then there would be no hope for my knees anymore, since no one would operate me. Well, one woman OS did agreed to operate me, but she lacked experience in treating arthrofibrosis.

Dr. Orava seemed to be very popular professional and worked in 3 cities. One being the capital city of Finland, Helsinki, which is next ot my home town. I was lucky as there was a cancellation of appointment in Helsinki, which I got. On March 31th me and my mom went to see him. Mom coming in there with me, was something that hasn't happened since when I was like 19. That OS I visited, seemed to be just the angel among OS's I have been waiting to appear all these years. All the other docs had said it's no use to operate my legs anymore, since going there would only cause more damage. But this doc said, that we couldn't leave it like this! My god, those wonderful words! "We cannot leave u like this, of course we have to try do something."

And the moment he opened his mouth to speak about my knees, I knew he knew the stuff I've searched in OS's for so long for someone to know about. He knew the stuff I've learned here, but never heard coming out of OS's mouth. I couldn't do anything but think if this was too good to be true! He was the FIRST OS ever I've heard telling me such things about plicas. Things I've only found out from here during the 2,5 years I've been on this very forum. NO doc has ever told me those things, it's been like they hadn't even been aware. Dr.Orava told me how plicas sometimes had to be removed 4 times! I learned from here that plicas can grow back, but this was the FIRST DOC EVER to actually tell me that!

Earlier when I've been asking for a doc that has special experience in treating plica and scar tissue, I've just gotten the same blunt answer flat against my face every time. "There is no SPECIAL information about scar tissue *said in a mocking tone*, of course everybody knows what that is, but there is no SPECIAL experience about it existing." Like I was demanding something that didn't exist. A lot of docs put me down with their attitude.

But this one seemed not just KNOW stuff WAY more than the others, but also having that genuine ability to make the patient feel like she is being listened. Dr.Orava was very polite, a charming grey haired man. Most likely about 60yrs old. So he has a long medical experience. He took well notice that my mom was there and spoke to her as well as he spoke to me. One time earlier mom was with me when I tried to get operation in the public hospital, the doc there didn't even notice someone was with me.

Seeing Dr.Orava showed respect to us both and being so professional and polite, gave me a good first impression of this doctor. He told me to get MRI's of my shoulders and knees and then come back to him.

Of my shoulders no exact diagnose cannot be done, since all the tests didn't show any damage. There is no pinched nerve or any nerve damage. Only thing Dr.Orava could think of was that my joints are hypermobile. I've been diagnosed with Syndroma Hypermobilitas (along Fibromyalgia) earlier. That could cause the shoulder joints being not as stable it should and could explain how the pains just started without any trauma or addicent. They just came and have been bugging me ever since October 2005. Dr.Orava was very honest about things and said that these things often take long to heal. He also didn't promise 100% cure for my knees, which I already knew of course. But he did say, that maybe 3rd time has the charm...which showed he had some optimism ;)

Getting into MRI took it's time, as told above, but longer took to get another appointment to Dr.Orava. As I was about to learn he only gave out a few appointments at a time, which always were taken almost within the same day. Finally after waiting 2 weeks, the new appointments came out and I got the second last one in one of the 3 cities he worked in. It was in Turku, which is a 2-3 hour drive from where I live. Mom and I drove there on May 17th. I've never travelled that long to see a doctor (as Finland is a small country and the best medical services usually are in the capital city and therefore near), but the long trip was worth it.

He said we will operate my legs one by one (last time I got 2 legs operated at the same time, what Dr.Orava grately wondered...). The 2 operations will not be cheap, but I won't go to any other doctor now that I found Dr.Orava! And in the public side they refused to operate me. I have some money (my only savings) saved, but it will only cover one half of one operation. I'm gonna have to take a loan again, which won't be cheap....but as said, to get to this doc, I'd do anything. And if he manages to help me, it has been worth of it all.

First we try to get my shoulders better before doing surgery for my knees. After surgery there is a certain amount of time when u lean more heavily than normal to the crutches. Shoulders may go worse from that, so we try get them better first. If even a little. I saw my therapist last friday. Now I try PT for a month and then I'll go see my therapist again to see how I've done. He gave me exercises to do at home rather than having me running there every week...which maybe a little less effiicient than actually having PT watch I do the exercises correctly, but this will save me money in PT itself and cabs (to get to and from PT) so I agree. The exercises are not difficult, but they cause pain. There is no quarantee PT will help my shoulders, but we will try. There is no quarantee it will help at ALL, but we will try.

If shoulders respond positively to the PT, I can go have one knee done then. If not, the exercises will be lightened and then again we see the situation after a month in august. But if after 2 months shoulders still have gone worse...then PT cannot help them. My therapist also was very honest about this, so that I wouldn't have any false hopes. Kinda good, since being realistic is very important right now.

So, right now I will be doing shoulder exercises at home, working from home as I'd done the entire half of this year (dad is still covering for me)...which still is not a good thing. But I honestly don't know when I will be able to return to work full time. Everyone and everything gives pressure and of course there are pressures about going back to work. But the truth is, I just don't know and can't know yet! The last week of this month I'll see my PT again. But only then will I see how all of this goes.

Thanks for listening, now I will go to sleep. Good night!

Chris
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Offline Nettan

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Re: Advice in how to treat hurt hands (injury due to using crutches)??
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2006, 06:32:25 AM »
Chris, nice to hear from you !!
Have missed you !!
Hope that this with Dr Orava will be the solution on you knee problems.
I know it will take time for you, but if you can get better, this must feel good anyway.
If you think it's easier we can start writing letters by ordinary mail..will keep you busy and give you something to look forward too..would be fun !! ;D
IM me if you want that.
Take really good care of you !!

HUGS NETTAN  8)
Surgery 6 times left knee torn meniscus, RSDS,chondromalacia, nervdamage cause constant nervpain,chronic inflamm.
Spinaldamage wheeler 100%.
Right knee damaged aug-06, use brace surgery 4/9-07.LCL tear.

Offline ChrisAngel

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Re: Advice in how to treat hurt hands (injury due to using crutches)??
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2006, 02:26:31 PM »
In case anyone is interested, I just did an update of my situation. It can be found from this topic
http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=27316.new#new

Have a nice summer, ye all!  :D

Chris
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31 young :)
RemovePlica
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-L 8/06 ->R postponed for now (need to find a new surgeon..*sigh*)
*Fibromyalgia+CPS+Acid Reflux+Tietze's syndrome+CFS+depression*















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