Our hand orthopaedic surgeons are highly trained in treating tendon damage or irritation, as well as conditions like trigger finger, Dupuytren’s Contracture and common hand complaints.

Hand Orthopaedics

Orthopaedics Infoline

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I have a hand condition, what are my next steps?

The hand is an incredibly complex structure. It is actually made up from 27 individual bones connected by a stabilising network of muscles, tendons and ligaments. This structure allows us to grip large objects as well as perform tiny tasks. There are many different causes of hand pain that can range from structural damage through to overuse and disease. Specialist orthopaedic hand surgeons have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating any conditions relating to the hand, wrist or forearm. 

As the hand is composed of many different parts, there are numerous common conditions that can interfere with everyday activities including arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendon irritation. Hand pain can also be caused by injury from a knock, blow or awkward landing after a fall. Repetitive activities such as typing, lifting and throwing can also damage the internal hand structure causing pain and discomfort.

Hand conditions are often accompanied by symptoms such as persistent pain, numbness, swelling, tingling, stiffness and sometimes trouble gripping objects. If these symptoms show no sign of improvement or worsen over time, it is best to seek help from a medical professional. Non-invasive treatment options are always recommended before any form of surgery is considered.

At St Vincent’s Private Hospitals, our specialist orthopaedic hand surgeons are considered among Australia’s leading practitioners. We are committed to supporting patients at every step of their healthcare journey through surgical excellence, outstanding facilities and patient-centred care.

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  • Step 1


    See your GP about getting a referral for your specialist appointment at your nearest St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

  • Step 2


    Talk to our world-leading specialists about the most suitable treatment options available to support your needs.

  • Step 3


    Experience the streamlined care available from our team of experts as we help support you through your hospital admission, procedure and rehabilitation.

  • Step 4


    Our rehabilitation team will guide you each step of the way as you regain your strength and independence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The hand is made up of many parts that all work together to give us the flexible range of motion we need. When this is disrupted by injury, overuse or disease, and non-invasive treatment is no longer effective, your specialist may recommend surgery.  The most common hand surgeries are Dupuytren’s Contracture surgery (to treat Dupuytren’s contracture disease), tendon reattachment surgery, tendon repair, and trigger finger surgery.
Common hand conditions are usually a result of injury, disease or wear and tear. Hand tendons are often damaged through injury or overuse, and some hand conditions such as Dupuytren’s contracture disease or trigger finger have no exact known cause, although there are some known risk factors. Common hand conditions like tendonitis can cause painful symptoms that significantly interfere with daily activities. Some hand conditions are present from birth and some only develop later in life such as arthritis.
The cost of Dupuytren’s Contracture surgery is dependent on a number of factors that will vary by patient. These include Medicare rebates, your level of private health insurance (if you have it) and the cost of your surgical team, which can differ between surgeons and hospitals.
Dupuytren’s Contracture surgery is a medical procedure to correct advanced cases of Dupuytren’s Contracture, sometimes known as Dupuytren’s disease. This common hand condition causes the fibrous tissues under the skin to thicken and tighten, pulling the fingers in towards the palm. Some patients also develop lumps or nodules on their palms. Although not dangerous or especially painful, this condition can significantly interfere with everyday hand movements. Dupuytren’s Contracture surgery relieves the tension and disfigurement caused by Dupuytren’s disease by dividing the thickened cord beneath the skin, or by removing it altogether to allow the fingers to straighten.
Dupuytren’s Contracture is a condition that can develop slowly over many years. The first sign is the appearance of Dupuytren’s nodules in the palm of your hand. When these grow, they form tough cords of tissue under the skin that thicken and tighten up, pulling your finger inwards towards your palm. Some patients may find this itchy and painful. If your symptoms don’t respond to home therapies such as massage, heat or exercises, your doctor may suggest anti-inflammatory steroid medication, or a type of needling to break up the tissue and relieve the tension. If your condition worsens, your doctor may recommend Dupuytren’s Contracture surgery to restore mobility and function to your hand.
Any surgical procedure carries an element of complication and even with treatment Dupuytren’s Contracture may not be fully curable. Your surgeon and orthopaedic care team will conduct a full assessment to determine your individual level of risk, and any appropriate action that may be required will be discussed with you at your consultation.
Dupuytren’s Contracture is usually treated with two main types of hand surgery, and your doctor will talk to you about the most appropriate treatment for your individual condition:
  1. Fasciotomy – The thickened cord of tissue underneath the skin is divided. This helps relieve the tension and increase the finger movement by weakening the tissue. The wound is usually left open and allowed to heal naturally.
  2. Fasciectomy – The abnormal tissue is completely removed so that the fingers can straighten. This procedure may require a skin graft, and a splint during the recovery period.
You are likely to be discharged from hospital on the same day of surgery, but a full recovery could take up to 12 weeks. At first your finger will be swollen with some numbness and tingling. This will gradually improve. The incisions themselves may take a few weeks to heal, but with a personalised hand exercise program most patients regain finger motion within 4-6 weeks, with grip strength normalising at around 8 weeks. You may be provided with a contracture splint to support your fingers. Talk to your doctor about returning to work. If your job requires repeated finger movement or lifting, you may need to take 6-8 weeks off work.

Still have questions? Let us help you.