Mercer-Bucks Orthopedics
Mercer-Bucks Orthopedics

Our Services / Upper Extremity

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About Upper Extremity

The hands, arms, and shoulders are responsible for a wide range of movements in the upper body. At Mercer-Bucks Orthopaedics (MBO) with offices in Hamilton, Lawrenceville, and Princeton, New Jersey, and Langhorne, Pennsylvania, the board-certified orthopaedic specialists offer comprehensive upper extremity care, including hand surgery. Call MBO or schedule an appointment online to learn more.

Upper Extremity Q & A

What is an upper extremity?

The upper extremities include the upper arm, which connects to the shoulder, the forearm, and hand. Damage to any part of an upper extremity can affect the rest of the structure. Whether you damage a tendon in your elbow, develop arthritis in your shoulder, or experience carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrist, upper extremity pain can diminish your quality of life.

What causes upper extremity pain?

Some of the most common causes of upper extremity pain include:

Tennis or golfer’s elbow

Repetitive motions in the arms or wrists can irritate the tendons that connect the elbow to the forearm. Pain can either develop on the outside of your elbow (tennis elbow) or inside (golfer’s elbow).


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that causes the cartilage protecting the outside of your joints to deteriorate. While the condition can develop in any of your joints, osteoarthritis is especially common in the shoulders. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation inside the joint. It’s most common in the hands and wrists.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal in your wrist and hand that contains the median nerve. Repetitive motions, such as writing or typing, can compress the nerve, causing pain and stiffness.

Rotator cuff injuries

The rotator cuff is the soft tissue that supports the shoulder joint. Damage to these muscles, tendons, and ligaments can lead to chronic pain, poor range of motion, and instability in the shoulder.

Trigger finger

Trigger finger is a condition in which your finger becomes stuck at a bent angle and straightens quickly, like pulling a trigger.

What are the different types of upper extremity treatments?

To diagnose an upper extremity condition, your orthopaedic specialist at Mercer Bucks Orthopaedics performs a physical exam and reviews your medical history. They may also order additional tests, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electromyography (EMG).

Once your physician diagnoses your condition, they may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Immobilization (bracing, casting, etc.)
  • Splint therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory injections
  • Rotator cuff repair surgery
  • Joint replacement
  • Hand surgery

Mercer-Bucks Orthopaedics has a number of specialists on staff, including trained hand surgeons. To learn more about upper extremity conditions, call the location nearest you or schedule an appointment online today.