Hand Stiffness and Finger Stiffness

Dr. Steven Rueda is one of the most sought after doctors for treatment of hand stiffness and finger stiffness in Palm Beach. Stiffness is a common consequence of injury in the hands and fingers. Our daily tasks demand our hands and fingers to be very mobile, therefore stiffness is poorly tolerated by most patients.

Hand Stiffness and Finger Stiffness Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms arising from stiffness are mostly mechanical and present with loss of movement at the joints. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Not able to fully make a fist
  • Not able to fully open the hand
  • Stiff fingers

For these reasons they receive the name “hand contractures” or “joint contractures”.

The diagnosis of hand stiffness and finger stiffness is usually performed by clinical examination and history. The focus of the examination is to determine the underlying cause of the stiffness.

WHAT CAUSES Hand Stiffness and Finger Stiffness?

Stiffness can arise from several areas of the hands and fingers including joints, ligaments, and tendons. The joint tissue and ligaments shorten leading to a contracted posture. Tendon scarring inhibits gliding and therefore limits the ability of the joints to move. In some cases stiffness arises from a combination of all of the previous structures. Treatment usually begins with aggressive therapy to restore mobility and gradually progresses to surgery if needed.

Hand Stiffness and Finger Stiffness Treatment Options

Stiffness of the hands and fingers usually arises from the joint, ligaments, and tendons. These structures either shorten or scar down to its surrounding tissue. There are two main treatment options: therapy and surgery.
Therapy focuses on gradually forcing the joint, ligaments, and tendons into bending and stretching. Combinations of methods are used including heat, ultrasound, and stretching. Dr. Rueda advises patients to try therapy for several months prior to considering any surgical treatment.
If therapy was unable to regain the desired movement then surgery becomes an option.

Hand Stiffness and Finger Stiffness Procedure

Surgery focuses on freeing up the tight and shortened ligaments and joint soft tissues. This allows the finger and hands to stretch as they are no longer held by tight tissues. If necessary, surgery also releases the scar tissue around the tendons that may be impeding joint movement.
The most common areas to undergo treatment are the finger joints as they are the most mobile; the PIP and the MCP joints are most frequently treated.

There is no standard incision to treat contracture of the fingers and hand. The incision location depends on which structure needs to be addressed. They are typically done in the back of the hand and fingers over the affected knuckles.


A splint is worn after surgery for about 1 week. There is swelling and bruising for the first few days a after the procedure. After the splint is removed, aggressive therapy is started to ensure the mobility gained after surgery is maintained.

The downtime is for finger stiffness surgery is as long as the incisions take to heal which is 1-2 weeks on average. Most patients return to their regular work in 1-2 weeks after the procedure once the dressings are removed.

Why Choose Precision Hand Center for your Hand Stiffness and Finger Stiffness Procedure?

Dr. Rueda, a Hand Fellowship trained surgeon who has 7 years and 2,000 procedures of experience will be your safe and best choice for hand stiffness and finger stiffness. Successful results in these procedures require a surgeon that is experienced and knowledgeable in hand surgery and hand anatomy. Dr. Rueda has published articles in expert peer reviewed journals and his work has been presented in several national conferences. Dr. Rueda’s passion for patient education and custom centered approach will guarantee you feel comfortable every step of the way. Dr. Rueda also believes in treating his patients as if he was treating his own family; you can trust you will enter a trusting and long-term relationship and have some of the best hand stiffness and finger stiffness treatment Palm Beach can offer.


The goal of the surgery is to return function back to normal and this can be achieved in some patients. However, it is common to have some residual stiffness after the procedure is healed and therapy is completed. In any case, this is better than if no surgery would have been ever performed.

Ideally therapy is continued until the desired goal is achieved. Most patients with stiffness have weekly or twice weekly visits to work on their movement. Some patients prefer to continue therapy at home after an expert teaches them the required exercises.

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