Management of the Patients with Stiff Digits and Developing Contractures

At The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery, Dr. Norman Weinzweig often treats patients presenting with stiff and functionless digits and developing or fixed developed contractures as a result of devastating work injuries. These patients are injured while operating machinery, power tools, or agricultural machines. These patients have usually had their initial surgery performed elsewhere and have a poor functional outcome. This in relatively commonplace considering the devastating nature of these injuries. However, few hand surgeons have the necessary experience in taking a functionless hand and making it functional.

A significant portion of Dr. Norman Weinzweig’s hand surgery practice is specifically dedicated to the care of the “stiff hand”. Following extensive evaluation, Dr. Weinzweig will proceed with a combination of various procedures to lyse or remove the scar tissue preventing motion of these digits. This will entail extensor and flexor tenolyses, joint capslotomies for adhesive capsulitis of the joints also called “arthrofibrosis”, and intrinsic releases. Often, all these procedures are performed in multiple digits with outstanding clinical results. The “stiff hand” is converted into a useful hand requiring rigorous occupational therapy, use of the Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) Machine and occasionally intraoperative manipulations under anesthesia.

The occupational therapists at The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery are extremely well trained in the management of these debilitating problems. They work with the patients almost immediately postoperatively to obtain the optimal functional result.