Do I really want an online office visit?
This is an important question to ask when many are tightening their belts for this unfortunate situation.
If you have an acute injury such as a laceration with possible tendon or nerve injury or fall and are concerned about a fracture, an online visit may not be for you. Most likely, you will need a hands-on evaluation to determine if surgery is indicated, for application of a cast or other hands-on intervention. We will continue to provide in-office services for these injuries or any other concern that you feel is urgent.
Special mention should be given to questions about infections. Cell phone images and online cameras automatically adjust color, making images difficult to interpret. I would recommend being seen in real life for these questions.
If you do not have an acute injury, current regulations will prevent any surgical treatment, and you may wish to simply hold on until these regulations are lifted. Many of the non-urgent conditions can be temporized.
Some common examples may help:
1. If you have numbness in your fingers, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Perhaps buy an over the counter brace at the local drug store. This is best worn at night.
2. If you have painful clicking or locking in your fingers, you likely have a trigger finger.
You can apply a splint to the affected finger to keep it from moving.
3. If you have pain on the outside of your elbow, you likely have tennis elbow.
Wearing a carpal tunnel splint will rest the muscle that is causing pain at the elbow and ease the discomfort. You can also go online and look at stretching exercises that can be done at home.
4. Pain at the base of the thumb with thumb motions and a forceful grip is likely arthritis.
Your best bet is an over the counter medication such as Tylenol or Advil.
Currently, surgery for these conditions is prohibited. While you are welcome to schedule an on-line visit, surgery cannot be scheduled at this point, so you will be limited to the above home treatments. Steroid injections often help, but they require an office visit.
Please also understand that a “physical examination” and X-ray are not possible online, limiting the ability to provide you a definite diagnosis. While we are happy to do our best on line, there are limitations. Stay well.