The content of this website is an educational resource only. It is not a substitute for discussion with your doctor regarding your particular condition, and treatment decisions.

Orthopaedic trauma refers to injuries of the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels, or related soft-tissues. Trauma to the upper extremity includes fractures, dislocations, lacerations (which may involve tendons, nerves, or blood vessels), sprains/strains, or crush injuries. These may result from accidents like a fall, a motor vehicle accident, sports injuries, or simple mishandling of everyday objects. Did you know, that in New York City, the most common cause of a nerve injury in the thumb is from slicing a bagel incorrectly? How do you slice your bagel? Or your avocado?

The treatment of musculoskeletal trauma injuries includes both non-surgical and surgical options. Possible non-surgical treatments include:

  • Closed reduction of a fracture or dislocation
  • Splinting or casting to immobilize the injured part
  • Heat or cold treatment that may relieve pain and accelerate repair process
  • Exercise and physical therapy to help maintain range of motion
  • Medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics
  • Or a combination of the above

Non-surgical treatments may be the definitive treatment for an injury. In other cases, non-surgical treatment may be the first line of treatment only, and surgery may still be recommended, either right away, or if the non-surgical treatments are ineffective. Surgery may include fixation of a fracture, repair of a tendon, ligament, or nerve, or reconstruction of a structure if repair is not possible. All of these potential treatments will be discussed with you. You and Dr. Yu together will then decide on the most appropriate treatment for your injury.

Remember, all injuries need time to heal. Compliance with your treatment, whether it be rest, medication, or therapy, is paramount to achieving a successful outcome to your treatment. Sometimes, even with the best treatment, the body does not return to its original state after an injury. This depends in part on the type and severity of the injury, the structures involved, age, and each individual body’s ability to heal and repair. It is important to ask about what to expect after treatment.

  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH)
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)