Paralysis generally refers to a condition where the patient is unable to move one or more joints of the body voluntarily. It can result from a head injury, a stroke, a brain surgery, any major injury that causes damage to nerves, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or a nerve-related disease. The condition can range from inability to move a finger, shoulder, elbow, wrist, to even the rest of the body.
Some common paralytic conditions that may affect your hand are:
- Brachial Plexus Injury – The brachial plexus refers to a network of nerves in the shoulder and the side of the neck. It provides sensation and power to the arms and hands. Injuries to the brachial plexus usually happen due to trauma to the neck, such as after a motorcycle accident.
- Obstetric Paralysis – Obstetric paralysis is also caused primarily due to injuries to the nerves in the brachial plexus. However, it occurs at birth, usually due to some stretching injury or a difficult vaginal delivery.
- Volkmann’s Contracture – Volkmann’s ischemic contracture (or simply Volkmann’s contracture) is permanent contracture, or shortening of the muscles of the forearm, usually stemming from an injury (or even after a surgery). It occurs because the forearm begins to lack proper blood flow because of increased pressure due to swelling. It gives a claw-like appearance to the hand, wrist, and fingers, and is more common in children.
- Paralysis due to a Lump – A lump in your hand such as an intraneural ganglion cyst can also lead to numbness and paralysis if it grows too big and start pressing down on the nerves.
- Sharp Nerve-damaging Cuts – This can involve trivial injuries such as a kitchen knife penetrating the hand. It may damage a nerve in the palm, which will then render a corner of finger numb.
The symptoms you will experience will depend on the condition you are affected by, which will in turn decide your diagnosis. The affected part may have weakness and numbness, and you may be experiencing paralysis of one or more joints. Sometimes, even your entire arm might be flail due to the injury to your brachial plexus.
Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and examine your hands, move your arms and fingers and check the sensations. A few nerve related tests may be asked for.
The treatment will depend on the diagnosis made after evaluation. A cut nerve requires surgical repair, while a nerve that is pinched requires decompression. At times, based on certain findings, your surgeon may also suggest a period of rest, observation, and reevaluation for the next 1-3 months for possible spontaneous recovery. This will be the case if they find that the nerve isn’t exactly cut, but bruised or stretched.
A damaged nerve needs an evaluation by a hand surgeon. While a compressed or stretched nerve may recover by itself within a few months, a cut nerve requires immediate repair using microsurgery. If you require nerve surgery, or indeed any other kind of hand paralysis treatment, be sure to pay a visit to Dr. Jindal Academy for Hand Surgery. This institute has helped crippled patients for over 3 decades .and has best experienced hand surgeon treating such cases.