Scottsdale Extremity Pain Management
You Don’t Have to Live in Pain. We Can Help.
Pain in the arms or legs can result from many causes, such as arthritis, bursitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome, to name just a few. Hand and arm pain may be related to complex regional pain syndrome that causes stubborn pain or numbness in the hands or fingers. Leg pain is a very broad category that can include the buttocks, thighs, and even the heels. It may be the result of sciatica, peripheral neuropathy, strains and sprains, or arthritis, among other causes. It’s important for your doctor to carefully diagnose the cause so your treatment can be customized to your needs.
Types of Extremity Pain & How They Are Treated
When severe arthritis affects your hands or arms, it can be very difficult to accomplish even basic everyday tasks. Arthritis may be caused by an inflammatory autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis) or gradual wear and tear that breaks down the cartilage that cushions the bones of a joint (osteoarthritis). Nonsurgical, noninvasive arthritis treatment may involve splinting or bracing to protect the affected joint and lessen strain. Corticosteroid injections may also be effective at reducing inflammation. If you’re overweight or a smoker, it’s important to lose weight and/or stop smoking as soon as possible. Specific lifestyle changes can significantly diminish your pain without the need to resort to more aggressive treatments such as joint replacement surgery or opioid therapy.
Often, osteoarthritis affects the weight-bearing joints, including the hips, knees, and ankles. It may also affect the hands and arms, although this is less common. Arm or leg joint pain can be effectively managed nonsurgically in many cases, and treatments are similar to those used for arthritis, as it’s common that arthritis and joint pain have the same root cause.
Tennis & Golfer’s Elbow
Tennis or golfer’s elbow occurs from overexertion that damages the muscles and tendons that control the wrist and fingers. As the names imply, they are particularly prominent in golfers and tennis players, but they can occur to anyone who performs repetitive movements, especially as part of their job. Surgical treatment is only very rarely necessary, as pain management techniques such as lifestyle changes, including rest, can improve these conditions.
Although bursitis typically gets better on its own with home remedies, sometimes further treatment is necessary to relieve discomfort. You may require physical therapy, corticosteroid injections to relieve inflammation (typically, only one injection is necessary without need for additional injections), or an assistive device to help relieve arm or leg pain in the affected extremity.
Damage to the nerves in the spinal cord can cause peripheral neuropathy that causes weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet. It may be caused by a traumatic injury or infection, or be inherited. The pain is often described as stabbing, burning, or tingling. Pain management techniques may include topical treatments, especially capsaicin cream (the substance found in hot peppers). Plasma exchange can help those with inflammatory conditions.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
This type of chronic pain usually affects the extremities only, and it can develop from an injury, prior surgery, a stroke, or a heart attack. In many cases, though, its cause isn’t clearly defined. Pain management techniques may include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and to improve mobility. Nerve blocking medication injections can block pain fibers in the affected nerves and topical analgesics and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Phantom Limb Pain
Once a limb has been amputated, a peculiar phenomenon in some patients experience is the sensation of continuing pain. They still feel pain signals in their nonexistent arm or leg, despite the fact that the amputation has already taken place. It is not a psychological problem as originally assumed, but legitimate pain caused by faulty brain signals. While it can improve over time even without treatment, managing it can be difficult for others. Pain management techniques may include spinal cord stimulation to relieve pain.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Nerve irritation and compression in the carpal tunnel (a small canal running through each wrist) can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome that causes hand and wrist weakness and pain. Nonsurgical pain management interventions include corticosteroid injections in the carpal tunnel or splinting the wrist to prevent nighttime symptoms of tingling and numbness. Surgery should only be the last resort.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue in the lower part of the foot, and it is one of the most common causes of heel pain, as the tissue connects the heel bone to the toes. Pain may be stabbing as you take your first steps when you wake up. It is common in runners, overweight individuals, and those who wear shoes with inadequate support. Effective nonsurgical pain management may include physical therapy, night splints, orthotics, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, or steroid injections.
Limb pain can be excruciating, but you don’t have to “live with it.” To book an appointment, please call (602) 888-9198 today.