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How do I Choose the Best Wrist Doctor?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are a number of things to think about when selecting a wrist doctor. A wrist doctor is a specialist who has received special training in treating the hand and wrist, and who focuses exclusively on this area of the body. This specialization means that patients receive the best and most up to date care for hand and wrist injuries. Whether one is a professional athlete who needs to get back into action or an office worker struggling with carpal tunnel, a wrist doctor can provide the highest level of care.

Wrist doctors can come from a background in orthopedics, plastic surgery, or general surgery. They complete the training for their area of surgical specialty, and then complete a fellowship in hand and wrist surgery. While a wrist doctor will not necessarily always recommend surgery if less invasive treatments are available, many patients find their way to a wrist doctor when they are in need of surgery, and thus a consult usually ends in a plan to perform surgery.

When a patient is referred to a wrist doctor, it is a good idea to get a listing of physicians who specialize in hand and wrist surgery in the area, preferably through a professional organization. Professional organizations provide contact information for their members by request, and will also provide people with information about the requirements for membership so that prospective patients are familiar with the standard their doctors are being held to.

Another source of information is a practicing physician who can offer recommendations. For example, if an orthopedic surgeon tells a patient that an issue is complex and needs the attention of a wrist specialist, the patient could ask for recommendations. Doctor ratings services can be another option.

With a list of surgeons in hand, patients can do some research to see how long they have been practicing. Surgeons may also have published articles which provide information about the kinds of surgeries they are most interested in, which can influence a patient's choice. Patients should also plan to meet with several wrist doctors to interview them. Patients should ask what kind of success rates the surgeon has, how the surgeon plans to approach the surgery, whether or not alternatives are available, and what the risks of the surgery are. A good wrist doctor will be happy to answer questions and take as much time with the patient as needed for the patient to feel comfortable.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon206301 — On Aug 16, 2011

Because of computers and the internet, hand surgery is becoming a common occurrence. If you have continual pain in your hand that radiates up your arm and numbness in your hand, this may indicate that you need surgery. When looking for a Hand Surgeon, checking references is very important.

By anon206297 — On Aug 16, 2011

If you are experiencing muscle contraction, tension, a abnormal growth, pain or weakness, hand surgery may be necessary. During hand surgery the doctor will evaluate what is causing the problem and either mend bones or tendons back together, make an incision to release all the fluids or pressure in the area. Consider a hand specialist if you are experiencing these conditions.

By tigers88 — On Jun 03, 2011

You should always trust a doctor when they admit that a certain injury is beyond their expertise and that a patient might benefit from seeing someone else. At first this can seem like an admission of defeat, but the reality is that medicine is so complicated and minute there are really lots of things that some doctors know better than others.

It makes sense that a doctor could spend an entire career focused on the wrist without leaning all the intricate parts that factor into it. The wrist is such a dynamic part of the body, there is so much to learn.

By backdraft — On Jun 02, 2011

I don't have a lot of experience in this area, but I would venture a guess that the best wrist doctors working today work in sports medicine. Wrist injuries are common in all sports, particularly baseball and football. When you think of the number of people that play competitive spots and the amount of money that is paid to professional athletes, it makes sense that a lot of these professionals work in sports medicine. Even if your injury is not sports related, these doctors probably have a lot to offer people with wrist pain and injury

By ZsaZsa56 — On May 31, 2011

In most cases, the criteria for picking a good wrist doctor are the same as you would apply to any kind of specialist. You should do internet research, consult professional organizations, ask for consultations and always get a second opinion. It can be a long and laborious process but the benefits are worth it.

When a doctor becomes a specialist it means that they have had extensive and ongoing training in a specialized field. In a lot of cases, these doctors have access to huge ranges of knowledge that a traditional family doctor has never heard of. This might mean the difference between an effective diagnosis and treatment and a life of enduring pain.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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