At Northside Hand & Upper Limb Clinic we take a whole-of-person or holistic approach to improving the well-being of our patients. Our clinics are located on the north side of Brisbane nestled among the suburbs of Albany Creek, Warner, Eatons Hill and Strathpine. We aim to help our clients enjoy a pain free high quality life. This is why we ask questions about the smoking and alcohol drinking habits of our patients. We understand that you may not wish to answer these questions and that is certainly not a problem; just let us know. Like many others, I and some of my team enjoy the taste of some beers and wines. Our surrounding suburbs include some very large and popular hotels & taverns. It is a great place to live. But does alcohol cause problems with healing and does it cause cancer?

Previously I have authored a blog post on how smoking tobacco delays healing. Some patients are surprised and interested to know that drinking alcohol also can cause problems with healing after fractures and wounds, and that alcohol can cause cancer.

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Background

Over 1 billion people in the world smoke tobacco, and of these around 5 million die each year. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including nicotine, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.

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So you have just had surgery for repairing a fracture to your radius bone in your forearm and close to the wrist. It is certainly not a small surgical procedure! The surgery would have required the use of metal plates and screws, which is called internal fixation. The technique in general is called an ORIF, Open Reduction Internal Fixation. Open because they used incisions to get at the bones, and ‘reduction’ because they reduced the space between the broken bones. While you were still anaesthetised a cast would have been put on your hand and wrist.

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Our fingers have been designed to have two joints between the knuckle and the fingernail. The one closest to your knuckle is the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ), and the next further along is the distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ). Another way of saying this is that the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint is the middle joint of a finger. It is an unforgiving joint when injured, and is notorious for becoming extremely stiff and chronically swollen. Injuries to this joint can either be missed or over-treated by prolonged immobilisation, invariably resulting in stiffness, pain and associated reduction in function which may be permanent.

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Anyone with a splint or bandage on their hand or wrist has been asked this question by well meaning observers, or just straight "sticky beaks". It is a fair guess, as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is very common. At Northside Hand & Upper Limb Clinic we get asked about this condition almost daily. But for you to have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome you need to have a few key features. The first thing is to suffer from interrupted sleep due to being disturbed by a "dead", numb or painful hand. Secondly the hand goes numb whilst engaging in prolonged gripping tasks (which compress the carpal tunnel).

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Clients attending our clinics often have questions regarding the use of natural vitamins or minerals that may assist in the healing of injuries or conditions they are experiencing. Unfortunately, high level research regarding the use of natural remedies is limited, however one area that has shown promising results so far has been the use of Omega-3 fatty acids.

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Wrist pain is something that most of us deal with at one time or another during our lives.

It has many causes and is treated in many different ways depending on the cause.  At Northside Hand and Upper Limb Clinic, our experienced Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists are able to assess your wrist pain to help determine the correct course of action to improve your pain. 

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What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is the name given to a condition which is also known as Lateral Epicondylalgia, or Lateral Epicondylosis. This means pain on the ‘outside’ of the elbow, and it can be started by injury to a tendon in this region. Tennis elbow is very common. At any given time, between 1% and 3% of the population will have Tennis Elbow. It can cause significant pain and it can make simple tasks difficult and/or painful to do. 

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