Hand & Upper Extremity Differences

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Hand & Upper Extremity Differences

Expert, Compassionate Care for Kids

Little girl is examined for a hand and upper extremity condition.

The “upper extremity” is every part of the arm, from the shoulder to the fingertips. Problems of the upper extremities may also involve the muscles and bones that attach the arm to the rib cage, including the collarbone and shoulder blade. Wrist, elbow, shoulder and hand disorders and differences can have many causes, including injuries, medical conditions or conditions present at birth. No matter what the cause, at Nemours our surgeons, physical therapists and other specialists are here to give your child complete, caring treatment at every step.

Conditions We Treat

Upper extremity and hand disorders can be complex in how they affect the bones, muscles, tendons, nerves and blood vessels. We see a lot of hand and upper extremity conditions — far too many to list here. The conditions we treat vary depending on the location and providers selected. Don’t see a condition listed? Call us.

  • bone or muscle tumors
  • brachial plexus/birth palsies (nerve injuries in the arm that can occur during birth)
  • broken bones and malunions (when bones don’t heal like they should)
  • cerebral palsy (a movement disorder that can cause muscle stiffness or weakness in the hand and arm)
  • congenital radial head dislocation (when a baby is born with a dislocated elbow bone)
  • growth plate injury (damage to the part of a bone that’s growing)
  • Kienbock’s disease (when a bone in the wrist collapses)
  • limited movement or range of motion in joints (stiffness or trouble moving joints)
  • polydactyly (extra fingers or toes)
  • radial club hand (when an arm bone is missing or isn’t fully developed on the side of the thumb)
  • symbrachydactyly (short, missing or webbed fingers)
  • syndactyly (fingers webbed or joined together)
  • thumb duplication (an extra thumb)
  • thumb hypoplasia (a thumb isn’t fully developed)
  • ulnar club hand (when an arm bone is missing or isn’t fully developed on the pinky side)

Services We Offer

We offer a variety of treatment services, which may vary depending on the condition or location, including:

  • casting (can fix broken bones as well as help bones and tissues grow the right way)
  • pain management (medications, physical therapy and/or complementary treatments like massage to help with pain) 
  • occupational therapy (to help build your child’s independence, so they can play, walk and do other everyday activities)
  • orthopedic surgery (done by surgeons skilled in a wide variety of upper extremity procedures)
  • orthotics (inserts, splints or braces to help your child’s movement)
  • physical therapy (to help reduce your child’s pain and build their strength, motor skills, coordination and balance)
  • prosthetics (artificial extensions that replace a missing body part, such as a hand or an arm)

Why Choose Us

Nemours has one of the largest and most widely respected pediatric orthopedics programs in the United States — and the world. Our world-renowned pediatric orthopedic surgeons have special training in hand, upper extremity and microvascular surgery (operations on very small blood vessels). This allows us to provide the most precise advice and treatment.

Our team of Nemours experts uses the most advanced techniques available to make sure your child receives the best possible treatment with the fewest complications. And we’ll work with your family to create a personalized care plan, with options that can range from simple observation and casting to surgery and rehabilitation.

Regional Hand & Upper Extremity Care Highlights

Services, programs and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.

We offer complete hand and upper extremity care at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware (Wilmington, Del.) and select satellite Nemours Children's Health locations. We’re ranked among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country, year after year, for pediatric orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report .

We offer complete hand and upper extremity care at Nemours Children’s Hospital (Orlando) and select satellite Nemours Children’s Specialty Care locations.

We offer complete hand and upper extremity care at Nemours Children's Health, Jacksonville (working with Wolfson Children’s Hospital) and select satellite locations.

We offer complete hand and upper extremity care at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Pensacola and select satellite locations.

Research & Clinical Trials

At Nemours, we’re actively researching new approaches for childhood disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

KidsHealth Library

Learn more about your child’s medical condition from the experts at Nemours’ KidsHealth.