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Idaho Hand Institute

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I have been bitten, what should I do?
Bites may not look like a bad injury, but mouths are often filled with germs and other bacteria that can quickly cause a serious infection. In the case of any bite wound, rinse and wash the site in running water with soap, elevate the injured extremity, and seek professional medical attention immediately. Also take note of the type of bite and the type of animal that it came from. Your physician will use this information to determine the need for anti-rabies vaccinations and the type antibiotics. When someone strikes another person in the teeth and suffers a laceration, the wound is the same as a bite and has a high potential for serious infection; seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Do you see other orthopedic conditions besides hands?
Although our name hints that we are hand specialists only, we are fellowship trained in the care of the upper extremities; therefore, our area of expertise is from the finger to the shoulder. We are also board certified orthopedic surgeons, which means we have been trained in the care of all orthopedic injuries and pathology. In fact, we participate in the call rotation for general orthopedic emergencies in the Emergency Room. However, there are some conditions that we refer to other specialists, such as spine, hip and knee replacements, and most foot & ankle disorders. Many of our upper extremity patients come to us for a referral or before seeking help for other orthopedic injuries.

How long should I wear compression stockings (TED Hose) after surgery?
Depending on the type or length of your surgical procedure, your doctor may order compression stockings, which are specially designed to help prevent blood clots. The risk of blood clots increases when your ability to move around is restricted or you are expected to spend the majority of the day in bed or in a chair. Usually instructions will be given by your doctor or by the surgical facility indicating how long these should be worn. In most cases, compression stockings only need to be worn until you are back up and moving around. If you have questions about your risk of blood clots check with your doctor.

Can I take my own stitches out after surgery?
No, we do not recommend removing your own stitches. Having the stitches removed in the office allows your provider to ensure the wound has closed and is healing properly, provides an opportunity to visualize the affected area and assess for infection or other complications, and reduces your risk of unnecessary infection that can result from the removal process. It is always best to return to your primary care provider or specialist for stitches removal, depending on who initially placed them.

I cut off part of my finger, what should I do?
Wrap the fragment in a slightly moist paper towel and place it in a waterproof plastic bag. Place the plastic bag on ice. DO NOT ALLOW THE FRAGMENT TO COME IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH ICE. Cover the injured finger with a bandage. Do not use a tourniquet. Elevate the arm and seek medical attention immediately. Do not discard any fragments that look destroyed or useless. Your physician may utilize those items that are still intact.

I burned my hand and/or arm, what should I do?
Put the burned area under water for about fifteen minutes. Apply a clean compress or bandage to the burn and seek medical attention. Do not apply lotions or other products. Do not apply ice to the burn; it may further damage the tissue. Do not break any blisters, this may lead to infection.

What is a hand surgeon?
Although the term “hand surgery” may insinuate hands only care, hand surgeons generally deal with surgical and non-surgical conditions of the fingers, wrist, forearm, and elbow too. Many of us have received additional training in the shoulder as well. Some hand surgeons are orthopedic surgeons, while others are plastic or general surgeons, all of whom are required to take specialized hand training. Both Dr. Esplin and Dr. Stucki are board certified orthopedic surgeons and fellowship trained in the care of the hand and upper extremities. If you experience an injury or have pain or numbness from the fingers to the shoulder, or somewhere in between, you may consider consulting with your local hand surgeon. We commonly treat trigger finger, carpal tunnel, fractures, dislocations, arthritis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, lacerations of arteries, tendons, and nerves, shoulder instability, impingement, and tears, to name a few.

We are often asked what anti-inflammatories are safe to take?
No anti-inflammatory is completely safe as they can all cause side effects, such as the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleed, heart attack, stroke, as well as kidney problems. However, taking an occasional low dose has a low risk of complications for most people. If you require regular anti-inflammatories then you should visit with your physician to discuss your options to minimize the risks. For example, Celebrex has the least GI side effects, while Naprosyn is less likely to increase cardiovascular risks; although every person is unique and their response and complications can vary. If you are taking other medications, consult with your physician regarding potential interactions.

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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?…/que…/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/
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