Holding Hands
Hands on keyboard
Playing a guitar
Hand through grassy field
Hand holding a paint brush
Referee holding out a thumbs up

Glossary / Useful Links

Glossary / Useful Links

The glossary below provides definitions to some of the most common conditions of the hand and upper extremities.  Just click on the first letter of the term you are looking for. If there is something you can’t find, please click here to let us know.

Glossary G - RGlossary S - Z

A - F

  • Animal Bites

    Bites are extremely common and can cause significant pain and other problems, especially when associated with an infection. Early recognition of warning signs and appropriate treatment are key in minimizing potential problems from the bite.

  • Arthritis: Base of the Thumb

    The most common symptom of thumb basal joint arthritis is a deep, aching pain at the base of the thumb. The pain is often worsened with activities that involve pinch, including opening jars, turning door knobs or keys, and writing.

  • Arthritis: MP Joint

    The large joints in the hand at the base of each finger are known as the metacarpophalangeal (MP, or MCP) joints. They act as complex hinge joints and are important for both power grip and pinch activities.

  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cushioning cartilage that covers the bone surfaces at the joints begins to wear out.

  • Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis affects the cells that line and normally lubricate the joints (synovial tissue). This is a systemic condition (can affect the whole body), which means that it may affect multiple joints, usually on both sides of the body.

  • Brachial Plexus

    The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that originate near the neck and shoulder. These nerves begin at the spinal cord in the neck and control the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.

  • Broken Arm

    Most broken arms are caused by trauma to that extremity. This can be a low-energy mechanism like a fall or a high-energy injury like a motor vehicle crash. Sporting injuries are also common causes for a broken arm.

  • Burns

    When the skin comes in contact with something hot, it may be damaged, with death of cells in the skin. The depth of the injury depends on the intensity of the heat and the length of time that it is applied.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. In effect, it is a pinched nerve at the wrist.

  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

    Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems.

  • Congenital Hand Differences

    Congenital abnormalities (also called congenital anomalies) of the upper extremity are differences from normal that are present at birth.

  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

    Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as cubicle tunnel syndrome.

  • Cumulative Trauma Disorder

    ASSH feels that the diagnoses of CTD and RSI are not appropriate and may actually lead the patient to believe that he or she has a condition that is something more than the ordinary aches and pains of life.

  • de Quervain's Tendonitis

    The cause of de Quervain’s tendonitis is an irritation of the tendons at the base of the thumb, usually caused by taking up a new, repetitive activity.

  • Dedo en Gatillo en Espanol

    Tenosinovitis estenosante, comúnmente conocido como dedo en gatillo o pulgar en gatillo, afecta a las poleas y tendones en la mano que flexionan los dedos.

  • Dedo en Resorte en Espanol

    Informacion para dedo en resorte

  • Dupuytren's Disease

    Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening of the fascia (the tissue just beneath the skin of the palm). It often starts with firm lumps in the palm.

  • Elbow Arthroscopy

    There are a variety of conditions for which elbow arthroscopy can be useful in diagnosis as well as treatment, including arthritis, loose bodies in the joint, tennis elbow, stiffness and fractures.

  • Elbow Fractures

    Elbow fractures may result from falling onto an outstretched arm, a direct impact to the elbow, or a twisting injury. Sprains, strains, or dislocations may occur at the same time as a fracture.

  • Extensor Tendon Injuries

    Extensor tendons, located on the back of the hand and fingers, allow you to straighten your fingers and thumb.

  • Fingertip Injuries

    Fingertip injuries are one of the more common injuries in the hand. The fingertips are exposed in many of our activities.

  • Flexor Tendon Injuries

    The muscles that bend or flex the fingers are called flexor muscles. These flexor muscles move the fingers through cord-like extensions called tendons, which connect the muscles to bone.

  • Fractures in Children


Glossary G - RGlossary S - Z

Useful Links


American Society for Surgery of the Hand

Welcome to the most comprehensive online resource for hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder information.

Prepared by the largest and oldest organization dedicated to care of the hand and upper extremity.



American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

Medical organization for orthopedic surgeons provides patient information on injuries and diseases of the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves...



The American Medical Association (AMA) helps physicians help patients by uniting physicians nationwide and medical students to work on the most important...