News and Updates

Case Study: Synovial Chondromatosis

January 29, 2017
A 66 year old woman presented to our clinic with a swollen, stiff and painful right thumb. On palpation over the painful interphalangeal (IP) joint it was obvious that there were small, hard, tender lumps. An x-ray confirmed soft tissue swelling with multiple, small, bony ossicles related to the joint space (Figure 1). These changes represent a benign condition related to the joint synovium, synovial chondromatosis. Synovial Chondromatosis affects a single joint, most commonly the large joints such as the elbow,...

Reducing the Incidence of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in Distal Radius Fractures

January 6, 2017
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a common complication of distal radius fractures (DRF), reported in studies as occurring in up to 25% of cases. It has the potential to turn a usually straight forward injury into a chronic, painful and debilitating condition. Ongoing symptoms and a lengthy rehabilitation period often result in high medical costs. In a recently published a study (2016) one hospital department showed how they reduced their incidence of CRPS post distal radius fracture from 25%...
Filed under Healing

Radial Nerve Palsy Splinting

November 20, 2016
While in Fiji, Jo and Nicky were able to share some splinting expertise with the Fijian therapists as they prepared to splint a patient with a Radial Nerve Palsy. A radial nerve palsy occurs when the radial nerve has been damaged in the arm - typically by compression or laceration, sometimes by fracture of the humerus. Nerve damage then results in an inability to extend (lift) the wrist or to straighten the fingers/thumb. The injured hand is floppy, able to grip...
Filed under Hand Therapy

Hand Therapy in Fiji

November 1, 2016
In June 2016, three of our therapists were fortunate enough to attend a hand therapy conference in Fiji. While there, Johanna and Nicky visited the physiotherapy department in Lautoka Hospital, which is approximately 30 minutes from Nadi. Although Lautoka is the second largest hospital in Fiji (Suva is the largest) it is far less well-equipped than western hospitals. The reason for this comes down to funding. Health expenditure per capita of population in NZ was last measured at USD$4000.00 per annum....
Filed under Hand Therapy

Dupuytren's Contracture

October 18, 2016
Dupuytren's contracture is a hand deformity that usually develops over years. The condition affects a layer of tissue that lies under the skin of the hand. Knots of tissue form under the skin, eventually creating a thick cord that can pull one or more fingers into a bent position (Figure 1). The affected fingers can't be straightened completely, which can complicate everyday activities such as putting hands in pockets or shaking hands. FIGURE 1 FIGURE 2 Dupuytren's contracture mainly affects...
Filed under Hand Therapy

Wrist Fractures in the Older Person

July 5, 2016
Fractures of the wrist are a common injury especially fractures of the distal end of the radius. The radius is the larger of the two bones in the forearm and is in fact the most commonly broken bone in the arm. Once women reach middle age they are increasingly more likely to break their wrists than men. The rate of fractures climbs dramatically as women age. (See Figure 1) Three times as many women in their 50’s suffer serious, complex wrist...
Filed under Healing \ Injury \ Recovery

Why Do Old Injuries Ache in the Cold?

July 5, 2016
Ever noticed how an old injury aches in the wintery weather? The idea that certain aches and pains correspond with, and can even predict the weather is widespread, and has been around since at least the days of ancient Greece. Hippocrates was the first to note the phenomenon, in about 400 B.C. Unfortunately over the past 2,400 years, researchers have not come up with a solid evidence-based explanation as to why this happens. The current accepted explanation for bad-weather-related aches is...
Filed under Injury


July 5, 2016
Physical activity maintains the structural and functional integrity of the joint tissues. Without physical activity of sufficient intensity, duration, frequency and variety, joints weaken and stiffen, and hand function deteriorates. In the well-functioning joint, the loading and unloading of joint tissues through movement stimulates an on-going process of tissue breakdown and repair that maintains or enhances tissue integrity and joint function. Excessive force is absorbed and the joint is protected from damage by the articular cartilage and other soft tissues....
Filed under Recovery

Kaiapoi Hand Clinic Expands!

July 5, 2016
Yes, it has finally happened! After a constant increase in demand from patients the clinic has doubled the room size and added an additional therapist. Clinic director Scott Thomson says “the number of post surgical patients seeking treatment and rehabilitation closer to where they live and work has encouraged us to expand the service in Kaiapoi.” Patients who have had hand surgery will often choose to undertake their rehabilitation at the Kaiapoi Hand Clinic saving the need to travel into...
Filed under General

Fingertip Injuries

July 5, 2016
Injuries to the fingertips are common. They can occur when a fingertip slams in a car door, is damaged while chopping vegetables or injured when clearing debris from a lawnmower. In the paediatric population fingertip injuries account for two thirds of all hand injuries with the most common mechanism of injury being a crush between a door and its frame. In contrast, the adult population predominantly suffer lacerations to fingertips followed by crush injuries. The most commonly involved digits are the...
Filed under Injury
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