Diagnosing Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Conditions

The hands, wrists, and elbows are comprised of various muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones. These structures work together to allow for a wide range of movements and functions. When patients experience pain, limited range of motion, or hindered function of the hands, wrists, or elbows, it can greatly impact their daily activities and quality of life.

At The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery, Dr. Steven Bailey has a comprehensive understanding of the conditions and injuries that affect the upper extremity. If you are experiencing problems with your hands, wrists, or elbows, Dr. Bailey will discuss your symptoms with you and perform the appropriate tests in order to provide an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan. To schedule your diagnostic exam with our skilled hand surgeon, contact our practice today. We serve patients in Marietta, Atlanta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Austell, Dallas, Powder Springs, Douglasville, Cartersville and other areas in Northwest Georgia.

Discussing Your Symptoms

Because of the complexity of the anatomical structures of the hands, wrists, and elbows, reaching an accurate diagnosis involves the patient?s input. During your appointment, we will discuss the symptoms you are experiencing.

Some of the questions we may ask during this portion of the diagnostic exam include:

  • Where is the pain located?
  • What type of pain are you experiencing? Patients may experience temporary bouts of shooting pain, or a permanent ache. Others may experience a tingling feeling.
  • When does the pain occur or when is it at its worst? Pinpointing the actions that trigger the pain can help us identify possible causes.
  • Are you experiencing a limited range of motion?
  • Are certain tasks, such as writing, becoming more difficult to perform?
  • When did the pain or hindered function start to develop? What has its progression been like?
  • Have you developed stiffness or inflammation in the area of concern?
  • Do any of your joints lock or click during movement?

Physical Examination

As we review your symptoms with you, Dr. Bailey may perform various tests to determine which structures are affected and how your range of motion may be inhibited. These tests may check the strength of your muscles, your ability to complete fine movements, the function of your joints, and the feeling in the affected area. Dr. Bailey may also perform pressure or stress tests by tapping or pressing on certain nerves.

Other Diagnostic Tests

In addition to discussing your symptoms with you and performing a physical exam, Dr. Bailey may order tests to help him confirm your diagnosis.

Blood tests: Blood tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of certain conditions, such as arthritis of the hands, wrists, or elbows.

X-rays: X-rays of the underlying structures of the affected area allow Dr. Bailey to see problems such as fractures, bone spurs, malalignment and poor joint space. X-ray images are ideal for conditions and injuries affecting the bones and joints.

MRI: MRI images may be ordered so Dr. Bailey can see problems affecting the soft tissues, including the cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. MRIs can also identify areas of swelling.

Arthroscopy: This surgical procedure provides an internal view of the joints, including its cartilage, lining and ligaments and offers the ability to treat the affected area at the same time.

This three-pronged approach to the diagnosis of hand, wrist, and elbow injuries enable Dr. Bailey to provide patients with a correct diagnosis and effective treatment plan. Contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery to schedule your diagnostic appointment today.