A significant portion of Norman Weinzweig’s hand surgery practice, The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation, is specifically dedicated to the care of hand stiffness. Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, often treats patients presenting with stiff and functionless digits and developing or fixed developed contractures as a result of devastating work injuries.
When healthy, the hand and fingers work effortlessly to perform various activities in everyday life. However, when hand stiffness sets in due to scarring of the tendons, joints and soft tissues, function becomes limited. The activities we take for granted can no longer be performed or performed without extreme difficulty.
Hand stiffness and contractures may result from improper or prolonged splintage, burns, crush or avulsion injuries and following replantation. Often, multiple structures are involved including the soft tissues, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. Other patients experience hand stiffness after they are injured while operating machinery, power tools or agricultural machines. These patients have usually had their initial surgery performed elsewhere and have a poor functional outcome.
A careful examination by a hand surgeon must be performed to determine the nature of the stiffness and contractures including the range of motion, the difference between active and passive motion, extent of flexion and extension contractures and their impact upon function.
Conservative management includes stretching exercises for the tendons, joints and muscles, use of the Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine, various static and dynamic splints or serial casting under the care of an experienced hand therapist. When conservative management is unsuccessful due to the severity of the scarring, hand stiffness or contracture, surgery is warranted.
-About Norman Weinzweig-
Norman Weinzweig, Chicago Hand Surgeon, and The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation is one of the major referral centers in the Midwest for care of hand stiffness due to mutilating injuries, replantations, complex fractures and burns. The occupational therapists at the Institute are extremely well trained in the management of these debilitating problems. They work with patients almost immediately postoperatively to obtain the optimal functional result.