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Orthopedics/Hand Vibration Syndrome

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Hi, thank you for taking questions and helping people.

I believe I have hand vibration syndrome.  Started recently, past couple weeks.  Was working on my parents driveway, repairing concrete cracks.  First use circular saw to cut open cracks for a couple days.  And then drilling holes for bolts everywhere around the cracks.  Used standard drills with masonry bits.  It was a lot of vibrations over at least 2 full days.  Little more on a third.

I think I felt my have the feeling that it fell asleep after the second full day.  The feeling wouldn't go away though.  I had used the drill a few more times the next day, not a lot.  But the hand was starting to get stiff.  It was also a little cold out which didn't help.  I looked it up and realized how vibration could have terrible affects on people so I stopped using anything that vibrates.  

It only affected my pinky and ring fingers on my right hand.  With also the palm near the pinky/  ring finger.  It felt numb, tingling, stiff with not great dexterity, some pain.  Pain started to go away and the stiffness lessoned.  Tried improving circulation by moving that arm around.  Cold water or anything cold really made it worse.  It seemed like it was lessoning more with avoiding cold and vibrations.  But since they first came on, the symptoms of numbness/ tingling never left.   

I had forgot one time a couple days ago and used clippers for a few minutes with that hand and it made it worse.  I then started to feel stronger tingling from any little vibration like stirring my drink, cutting a steak, driving stick shift.  

I am afraid that I have done permanent damage and it will just get worse.  Having to avoid anything that vibrates in life is depressing.  Can this be treated?  It does not sound like there is too much medically to be done.  Do you know if the symptoms would go down?  It seems striking to me that I have such extreme symptoms when using vibration tools is not a part of my everyday work.  I am a painter and have used sanders/ pressure washers.  And have had some tingling, numbness but nothing that went away soon after.  And I didn't use those too much.  

Any help or assistance is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Answer
Jim I would not be overly concerned about this. Typically occurs with repetitive use in occupations that you have to use these day after day. It should resolve. You may want to soak it in some warm water and epsom salts 3 times a day this would be like Whirlpool therapy. If it's not resolving I would get checked for diabetes just to make sure you do not have neuropathy. They could check your blood work to make sure your platelets and other values are within normal limits as well. Of course you should not smoke. Next time you use vibrating tools there are ergonomic gel padded gloves that work very well taking a lot of the vibration out. It would be very unusual that you did permanent damage from such short exposure period the nerve that controls your ring finger and little finger is ulnar
nerve and you may have ulnar neuritis this could be from the vibration or getting pinched.. Or compressed at the elbow joint

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Joe A Shaw PA-C

Expertise

Most general questions that have to do with orthopedic and /or occupational medicine or ergonomics. With a focus on upper extremity disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. After many years of treating and diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome I have developed a detailed website about carpal tunnel syndrome at
Carpal-Tunnel-Symptoms.com

Experience

I have been a board certified Physician Assistant for 17 years, in the fields of occupational and orthopedic medicine.

Organizations
American Academy of Physician Assistants, State Academy of Physician Assistants.

Education/Credentials
Physician Assistant degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine PA program. Bachelor of Health and Science degree. Board Certified Physician Assistant, Ergonomic certification, University of Michigan ergonomics certification. Associate Science degree in Emergency Medical Technology. Former Paramedic, EMT and Firefighter.

Awards and Honors
Current certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life support, and Basic life support, and CPR certification. University of Michigan Ergonomic training and certification.

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