Diagnosing and Treating “Claw Hand”

Named for the noticeable bend or curve it inflicts upon the fingers, those suffering from the condition known as “claw hand” may wish to seek the care of a hand specialist for treatment.

The insensitive nickname bestowed upon the condition stems from the perceived similarity in appearance between the hand of those afflicted and that of a bear’s claw. The severity of the condition can be enough to impede one’s ability to pick up or grasp objects. But with the care of a skilled hand specialist, the symptoms of claw hand can be improved significantly.

In this article board certified Oakland County hand specialist Dr. Uzma Rehman discusses the symptoms and treatment of “ape hand”.

Causes of Claw Hand

Claw hand can be a present at birth or it may be due to certain a hand injury, or an underlying medical condition. Claw hand patients treated by Oakland County hand specialist Dr. Rehman have occasionally dealt with the condition since their infancy, with claw hand sometimes occurring as a congenital birth defect.

Nerve damage -caused either by disease or injury- can also result in patients seeking out a hand specialist for claw hand. Conditions that can result in such nerve damage include ulnar nerve entrapment, cervical spondylosis, and ulnar nerve palsy.

Oakland County hand specialist Dr. Rehman also regularly treats patients whose claw hand has occurred due to nerve compression caused by abnormal wear of the bone or cartilage of the spine.

The care of a hand specialist should also be sought out should an individual experience a burn injury to their arm or hand. Scars to one’s skin from such injuries can also result in claw hand, and in much more rare cases, can also lead to certain bacterial diseases capable of inflicting long-term damage to the nerves and skin. Such diseases include leprosy, and while theoretically very dangerous, are an extreme rarity in the United States. Nonetheless, any injury an individual suspects may have caused nerve damage should contact hand specialist Dr. Rehman for a consultation.

Diagnosing Claw Hand

Schedule an appointment with Oakland County hand specialist Dr. Uzma Rehman if you notice symptoms associated with developing claw hand. Based on the appearance of your fingers, the hand specialist will make a diagnosis, and will then perform tests designed to ascertain the cause and severity of your condition.

To determine whether a past illness or injury could have resulted in your claw hand symptoms, hand specialist Dr. Rehman will also ask questions regarding your medical history. Patients may also be asked to grasp objects, bend their fingers, and/or perform other tests to demonstrate your hand and fingers’ level of strength and flexibility.

Electromyography can also be performed by a hand specialist to assess a condition of claw hand. Hand specialist Dr. Rehman uses an electromyography (EMG) test to better understand the patient’s nerves’ level of functionality, which aids in determining the best method of treatment.

Treating Claw Hand

Fortunately, for our Oakland County patients, most cases of claw hand are treatable, with the best form of treatment depending on the cause of each patient’s individual symptoms. But with treatment from an experienced hand specialist, many patients see significant improvement to their symptoms, with some even having their symptoms disappear completely!

In order to help regain flexibility in the patient’s hand and fingers, hand specialist Dr. Rehman may recommend physical therapy. Through a series of strengthening exercises and precisely targeted stretches, symptoms of claw hand are often met with significant improvement. Physical therapy may prove sufficient as the only form of treatment the patient requires, or may be prescribed in conjunction with other treatments.

If damaged nerves, ligaments, or muscles that are causing your symptoms, some patients may benefit from surgery to repair them. And in cases of claw hand caused by tight skin from a burn injury, skin grafts and surgery to remove scar tissue may be the optimal course of action.

Oakland County Hand Specialists

If you were born with – or are only now experiencing – claw hand it is extremely important to have your hand examined by a hand specialist like Dr. Rehman for a correct diagnosis and proper treatment. She can diagnose the underlying cause of your condition – and then and create a treatment plan to help relieve symptoms, restore hand function, and avoid progression of the condition.

Oakland County Hand Specialists: 248.335.2638