Diseases & Conditions FAQs

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of tendons that may be damaged from overuse.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Unsurprisingly, it is often caused by overuse in sports such as tennis or other racquet sports; however, there are several other activities that may also put you at risk. Repeating the same motions over and over again can lead to damage, creating an inflammation of the tendons that join your forearm muscles, and the pain associated with it.

Treating Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow symptoms can be treated by Dr.Berschback, who has locations in Altoona, Chippewa Falls, Rice Lake, and Ladysmith.

There are many treatment options for tennis elbow, aimed at reducing pain and ultimately recovering from the condition. Your primary doctor, physical therapist, and orthopedic surgeon will work together to decide on and provide the most effective care for you. 80-95% of patients with tennis elbow symptoms will recover without surgery. Non-surgical remedies include:

  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Physical therapy
  • Brace
  • Steroid injections

If your symptoms do not improve in 6-12 months, your doctor may recommend surgery. The right type of surgery will depend on the severity of your injury, your personal needs, and your general health. Talk with your doctor to decide on the right surgical approach for you:

  • Open surgery – This is the most common surgical treatment for tennis elbow. It is an outpatient surgery and rarely requires an overnight stay.
  • Arthroscopic surgery – Using miniature instruments and creating small incisions, tennis elbow can also be repaired with arthroscopic, out-patient surgery.

After surgery, your arm may be immobilized with a splint. Splints are often only necessary for about a week and will be removed after that. After the splint is taken off, you may begin exercises aimed at restoring strength and flexibility.

Tennis elbow surgery has been found successful in 80-90% of patients; however, a loss of strength in the elbow is not uncommon.

If you suffer from tennis elbow and need treatment or surgery, contact us or call (800) 322-1747. Dr. Berschback has locations in Altoona, Chippewa Falls, Rice Lake, and Ladysmith.

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Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Osteoarthritis is wear and tear of the shoulder joint. Over time, the smooth cartilage that cushions the bone cracks and thins. This leads to the bones in the joint rubbing together. This causes shoulder pain and inflammation, and the roughened bone may create growths called bone spurs. The joint becomes very stiff and painful and may “catch” when it moves. There are a variety of treatments that can be used to help address and heal your shoulder pain, most of which do not include surgery. The earlier you start treatment, the sooner you can enjoy your life again, free of shoulder pain.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Imaging tests help to look inside the shoulder and rule out other possible problems. You may have one or more of the following tests:

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Arthrograms

You may also have a combination of the most common treatment options:

  • Active rest
  • Icing and heat
  • Medication
  • Injection therapy
  • Exercise

Based on the evaluation of your shoulder joint, you may have several surgical options for treatment:

  • Arthroscopy
  • Shoulder replacement, in extreme cases

You will discuss these options with your surgeon and together you will decide on the best surgical, or non-surgical, treatment option for you. Replacement surgery is often very successful and may offer the best option for relieving your shoulder pain.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition brought on by increased pressure in your wrist. Essentially, it is a pinched nerve at the wrist. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers. The numbness and tingling usually occur in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. Some patients may notice a weaker grip, occasional clumsiness, and a tendency to drop things. In severe cases, sensation may be permanently lost and the muscles at the base of the thumb slowly shrink, causing difficulty with pinching.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms may be treated and relieved without surgery. Treatment can include wearing wrist splints, which will keep the wrist in a straight position and may help reduce pressure on the nerve. A steroid injection may help relieve swelling around the nerve. If symptoms do not improve, surgery may be needed to make more room for the nerve. To decrease the pressure on the nerve, the ligament that forms on the top of the tunnel will be cut. The goal of carpal tunnel release surgery is to free the ligament, allowing more room for the nerve in the carpal tunnel. To learn more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatment with Dr. Berschback, click here.

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Osteoarthritis of the Hand

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease. When the cartilage covering the bone surfaces of your hand wears out, you will experience stiffness, swelling, and pain. Osteoarthritis in the hand can develop in four main areas:

  • The Base of the Thumb
  • The Fingertip End Joint
  • The Middle Joint of a Finger
  • The Wrist

Osteoarthritis in the hand may cause deep, aching pain, and it may make it seemingly difficult to complete daily tasks, such as turning keys or opening jars. Osteoarthritis in the wrist may cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Treating Osteoarthritis of the Hand

To treat osteoarthritis of the hand, anti-inflammatory medication may relieve pain. Finger or wrist splints, as well as soft sleeves, may help relieve pain at night or for selected activities. It is important to maintain motion and continue using your hand as much as possible. Hand therapy is helpful in order to regain range of motion and to keep the joints limber. Surgery is not typically recommended; however, it becomes an option when the patient has too much pain or too little function. Joint fusion may be used to relieve pain by fusing the bones on each side of the joint are fused together, eliminating motion from the joint. Joint reconstruction is another surgical option, in which the joint surface is removed. This eliminates the bone-to-bone contact that causes pain. Which treatment option is used will depend on the joint(s) involved, your activities and needs, and what your hand surgeon believes is the most appropriate for you.

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand

Rheumatoid arthritis affects the synovial tissue of your hand, or the cells that normally lubricate the joints. It most commonly affects the wrist and finger knuckles. Rheumatoid arthritis of the hand causes the joint tissue lining to become inflamed and swollen, resulting in a sausage-shaped finger. The swelling may stretch the cartilage and bone, and the tissue may stretch the surrounding ligaments. This will result in visual deformity and overall instability.

Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand

Rheumatoid arthritis of the hand inflames the tendons and joints in your hand. Medications can be prescribed to decrease the inflammation, as well as reduce pain. They may even slow the progression of the disease. Several new disease-modifying treatment medications may also help suppress the body’s immune system to reduce pain and inflammation. To help relieve pain and protect your joints, you may be referred to a hand therapist for exercises and instruction on how to use your hand in alternate ways that are not as painful.

In some Rheumatoid arthritis cases, preventative surgery is recommended and may include: removing nodules and releasing pressure on tendons. If a tendon has ruptured, your hand surgeon will be able to repair it with a tendon transfer or graft. Surgery to treat the joints in the hand that are affected by rheumatoid arthritis include: joint replacements, removal of the inflamed joint linings, and possibly removal of the damaged bone. Your hand surgeon will help you decide on the most effective and necessary treatment option.

Arthritis in Hands Altoona & Eau Claire

Arthritis literally means “inflamed joint.” Normally a joint consists of two smooth, cartilage-covered bone surfaces that fit together and move smoothly against one another. Arthritis results when these smooth surfaces become irregular and don’t fit well together anymore–they wear out. Often, arthritis in hands symptoms is gradual. For questions about arthritis in hands treatment in Eau Claire, Altoona, and Chippewa Falls contact Dr. Berschback today.

Arthritis in hands symptoms include:

  • Joint pain in fingers, thumb or wrist
  • Finger stiffness or swelling
  • Loss of motion  in hand joints or muscles
  • Growth of bony bumps around joints

Each hand has 19 bones, plus 8 small bones, and the two forearm bones that form the wrist. Arthritis in hands can be both painful and disabling. The most common forms of arthritis of the hand are osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis (after an injury), and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Arthritis of the Thumb

In a normal joint, cartilage covers the end of the bones to serve as a shock absorber to allow smooth, pain-free movement. In osteoarthritis the cartilage layer wears out. This produces direct contact between the bones and produces pain and deformity. One of the most common joints to develop osteoarthritis in the hand is the base of the thumb. The thumb basal joint, also known as the carpometacarpal joint, is a saddle-shaped joint that is formed by a small bone of the wrist and the first bone of the thumb. Pressure and movement, such as twisting, will produce pain at the joint in the form of a grinding sensation.

Treatment of Arthritis of the Thumb

Thumb Arthritis will usually respond to non-surgical care. Medication, splinting, and limited cortisone injections may help alleviate pain. Patients with advanced disease or who fail non-surgical treatment may be candidates for surgical reconstruction. Surgical procedures include removal of arthritic bone and joint reconstruction (arthroplasty), joint fusion, bone realignment, and arthroscopy in some cases. A consultation with your hand surgeon will help decide the best option for you.

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Boutonnière Deformity

Boutonnière deformity is a common extensor tendon injury. Boutonnière deformity is a condition resulting from a cut or tear in the tendon of the middle joint of your finger. This prevents your finger from straightening and requires a splint. Splinting the middle joint of an injured finger is necessary in order to treat boutonnière deformity. Stitches are needed occasionally, when the tendon has been cut or torn. If the deformity is not treated, the finger may become more bent and stiffen to this position permanently. Typically, splints should be worn for four to eight weeks, or to the length your hand doctor recommends.

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De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis induces painful tendons along the thumb side of the wrist. In De Quervain syndrome, the tendon tunnel runs narrow, due to the thickening of the soft tissues. Motion in the hand and thumb causes pain, especially with grasping or twisting motions. Some patients describe the pain as inflammation; however, studies show that De Quervain syndrome is not inflammatory. Pain caused by de Quervain syndrome can affect patients of all ages and is especially common in new mothers. Symptoms develop four to eight weeks after delivery, due to possible changes in hormones and swelling.

Treating De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Eau Claire & Altoona

Treatments for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis may vary, based on the severity of the pain associated with it. Treatments that may relieve symptoms temporarily include splinting the thumb and wrist, as well as Tylenol or aspirin-type medications. Treatments that may alter the course of the disease include steroid injections and, in extreme cases, surgery. Surgery allows the tunnel to become open which allows more room for the tendons.

If you are suffering those De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, Dr. Berschback can help. He is located in the Eau Claire, Altoona, and Chippewa Falls area, as well as Rice Lake and Ladysmith.

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Dupuytren’s Contracture

Dupuytren’s Contracture is a condition resulting in loss of range of motion. It is an abnormal thickening in the ring and pinky fingers that is typically inherited. This disease is often painless, but it can restrict movement and decrease ability to straighten the fingers. Your hand surgeon can help restore motion by repairing, removing, or replacing the tissue causing the contracture.

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