Many common problems in the hand, wrist, and elbow can be illustrated with simple drawings. In this series of articles, I’ll show you an example of a simple drawing I use in the office to help patients visualize their problem a little better.
For each drawing, I’ll type out what I tell each patient when I draw this for them. That way you can get a little glimpse into the exam room and see how I educate patients.
“As your tendon runs out to the tip of your finger, it passes through a tight tunnel called a pulley. The pulley keeps the tendon tight against the finger bones.”
“Over the years, tiny tears develop in the tendon fibers and they heal with scar tissue, creating some swelling of the tendon. The enlarged tendon can’t pass easily through the tight tunnel anymore and inflammation develops along the tendon sheath – this is painful.”
“The catching you feel is this enlarged tendon snapping suddenly underneath this tight tunnel and out the other side. This stirs up even more inflammation and swelling, making the problem worse.”