Wrist and Hand Specialist In Singapore

Dr Poh Seng Yew, with an 18-year career in orthopaedic surgery, specialises in surgical methods to address various orthopaedic complications, including treatments for hand and wrist conditions.

Experiencing symptoms in your hand or wrist that impact your daily life? Our MOH-accredited specialist can provide diagnostic evaluations and tailored treatment options suited to your needs.

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Dr Poh Seng Yew



MMED (Ortho)



Common Hand and Wrist Conditions

Hand and wrist conditions range from bone fractures to nerve compressions. Common conditions include:

  • Arthritis of the Thumb - This condition involves inflammation in the thumb's joints, often leading to pain and restricted movement. It may develop due to wear and tear or as a consequence of an injury.
  • Arthritis of the Wrist - Similar to arthritis of the thumb, this condition affects the wrist joints. It can cause pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion.
  • Distal Radius Fractures - These are fractures at the end of the radius bone near the wrist. The symptoms can include pain, swelling, and difficulty in wrist and hand movement.
  • Ganglion Cyst - These are non-cancerous lumps that commonly develop along the tendons or joints of wrists or hands. While often painless, they can cause discomfort or interfere with joint movement.
  • De Quervain's Tenosynovitis - This condition is characterised by the inflammation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist, leading to pain and tenderness. It is often related to overuse.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Resulting from pressure on the median nerve in the wrist, this syndrome presents with numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand. Causes include repetitive hand movements and certain medical conditions.
  • Trigger Finger - This condition causes pain, stiffness, and a sensation of locking or catching when bending the finger. It occurs due to inflammation around the finger tendons.

Common Causes Of Hand and Wrist Conditions

Hand and wrist conditions can arise from a variety of causes, including the following:

  • Traumatic Injuries
    Sudden impacts, such as falls or accidents, can lead to fractures, sprains, and dislocations in the hand and wrist area. These injuries are common in both sports and daily activities.
  • Repetitive Stress on the Hand and Wrist
    Activities that involve repeated wrist and hand movements can result in conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. This risk is present in repetitive occupational tasks and certain recreational activities.
  • Arthritis
    Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect the hand and wrist, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis often results from wear and tear, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition.
  • Age-Related Degeneration
    As individuals age, they may experience a natural decline in bone density and joint flexibility, increasing the risk of hand and wrist conditions.
  • Underlying Health Conditions
    Diseases like diabetes, gout, and obesity can predispose individuals to hand and wrist conditions due to systemic effects on the body.
  • Genetic Predisposition
    In some cases, genetic predisposition can play a role in the development of certain hand and wrist conditions. This includes certain types of arthritis or congenital abnormalities.

Symptoms and Signs

Hand and wrist conditions can manifest in a variety of symptoms:

  • Pain and Swelling: This is often the first sign of a hand or wrist issue. Pain can vary in intensity and may be accompanied by swelling. It’s commonly experienced in cases of fractures, arthritis, and tendonitis. The pain can be localised or can spread across the hand and wrist.
  • Numbness and Tingling: A common symptom in conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, where the median nerve is compressed. This often includes a sensation of ‘pins and needles’ or numbness, particularly in the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
  • Stiffness and Limited Range of Motion: Stiffness, particularly in the morning, can be a sign of arthritis. It can limit the movement of fingers and the wrist, affecting daily activities.
  • Weakness in Grip or Pinch Patients may experience difficulty in gripping objects or performing tasks that require pinching, which can be indicative of nerve damage or muscle weakness due to various hand and wrist conditions.
  • Hand or Wrist Deformities: In cases of severe arthritis or after trauma, visible changes in the shape of the hand or wrist, such as deformities or misalignment, can occur.
  • Crepitus or Grinding Sensation: This involves a grinding or clicking sensation in the hand or wrist during movement, often related to osteoarthritis or other degenerative conditions.
  • Development of Cysts or Lumps: Ganglion cysts or other lumps may develop in the hands or the wrists, potentially causing discomfort and pain.


The diagnostic process for hand and wrist conditions typically involves the following steps:

Medical History and Symptom Analysis

The initial step in diagnosis involves understanding the patient’s medical history, including any prior hand injuries or chronic conditions. The hand and wrist specialist will assess the nature, duration, and severity of the symptoms.

Physical Examination

A detailed examination of the hand and wrist is conducted. This includes checking for swelling, deformity, pain response, range of motion, and strength. Any specific areas of tenderness or movements that aggravate pain are noted.

Imaging Tests
  • X-rays: This can help detect fractures, joint misalignment, and signs of arthritis.
  • MRI Scans: These can provide detailed images of soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons, and nerves.
  • CT Scans: Useful in giving a more detailed view of the bones in complex fractures.
  • Ultrasound: Helps in identifying cysts, fluid collections, and soft tissue lesions.
Nerve Conduction Studies and Electromyography (EMG)

Specifically for conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, these tests measure the electrical activity of muscles and the functionality of nerves.

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Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatments play a role in managing many hand and wrist conditions, aiming to alleviate symptoms and improve function.

Splinting and Bracing

For less severe injuries, the hand and wrist specialist may suggest immobilising the affected area with a splint or brace to help alleviate symptoms. This is commonly used for conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.

Physical Therapy

Tailored exercises and modalities like ultrasound or heat treatment can help strengthen the muscles, improve the range of motion, and reduce pain.


Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed at the discretion of the hand and wrist specialist. In cases of rheumatoid arthritis or severe inflammation, corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may be prescribed.

Injection Therapies

Steroid injections can provide pain relief, especially in inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

Surgical Treatment Options

In cases where non-surgical treatments are insufficient, surgical interventions may be necessary.

  • Carpal Tunnel Release
    This surgery involves cutting the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel, relieving pressure on the median nerve.
  • Tendon Repair
    This surgical procedure can help repair tendon injuries, such as those caused by trauma.
  • Joint Replacement
    In the case of severe arthritis, the affected joints in the hand or wrist may be surgically replaced with artificial ones to restore function and alleviate pain.
  • Fusion Surgery
    This involves fusing the bones within a joint to stabilise and eliminate pain. This is often considered in cases of advanced arthritis.
  • Arthroscopic Debridement
    A minimally invasive procedure used to clean out the inside of a joint, often effective in the early stages of arthritis.
  • Fracture Repair
    In cases of severe fractures, surgical intervention may be needed to realign and stabilise the bones.
  • Excision of Ganglion Cysts
    Surgical removal of cysts is an option if they are painful or cause functional impairment.
  • Reconstructive Surgery
    For complex injuries or deformities, reconstructive surgery may be necessary to restore appearance and function.

Preventing Hand and Wrist Complications

Preventive measures can help reduce the risk of hand and wrist conditions.

  • Making Ergonomic Adjustments to Reduce Strain: Implementing ergonomic practices can help reduce the risk of strain and injury. This includes using ergonomic keyboards, adjusting chair and desk height, and taking regular breaks.
  • Regular Exercise and Stretching: Regular hand and wrist exercises can strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Using Protective Gear to Prevent Injury: Using wrist guards or protective equipment during sports or high-risk activities can help prevent traumatic injuries.
  • Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and the effective management of conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis can help mitigate the risk of hand and wrist conditions.
  • Using Proper Technique to Minimise Strain: Using the correct technique for activities like sports, typing, or lifting can minimise the stress on the hand and wrist.
  • Make Home Modifications to Prevent Falls: Simple home modifications like removing tripping hazards, using non-slip mats, and ensuring adequate lighting can help prevent falls that may lead to hand and wrist injuries.

Dr Poh Seng Yew



MMED (Ortho)


With over 20 years of experience, Dr Poh Seng Yew is an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip, knee, shoulder and elbow surgery, sports medicine, and trauma surgery.

  • Former Director of Sports Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital
  • Clinical Hip and Sports Medicine Fellow, Orthopädische Chirurgie München (OCM), Germany
  • Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, FRCSEd (Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Master of Medicine (Orthopaedic Surgery), National University of Singapore
  • Member, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCSEd)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), National University of Singapore



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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
Singapore 329563

Weekdays: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturdays: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed

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    Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
    38 Irrawaddy Road, #08-62/63
    Singapore 329563

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Can Hand and Wrist Pain Go Away on Its Own?

    While mild hand and wrist conditions may improve with rest and self-care, persistent or severe pain should be evaluated by a hand and wrist specialist for appropriate diagnosis and effective treatment options.

    What Happens If Hand and Wrist Pain Is Left Untreated?

    Ignoring ongoing hand and wrist pain can lead to worsening of the condition and potential long-term damage. Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, if left untreated, may result in chronic pain, reduced functionality, and in severe cases, irreversible damage. Early assessment by a hand and wrist specialist can help prevent these complications.

    When Should I Consider Hand or Wrist Surgery?

    Surgery is usually considered when non-surgical treatments have been exhausted or if the condition is severe. Common indicators for surgery include persistent pain, loss of function, or structural abnormalities that cannot be corrected through conservative measures. Consult with our hand and wrist specialist to determine whether surgery is an appropriate course of action.

    What Should I Avoid When I Have Hand and Wrist Pain?

    Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain, such as repetitive motions or excessive force. Ergonomic adjustments in daily tasks and the workplace can help. Avoiding improper hand postures and taking regular breaks during activities can also aid in symptom relief.

    How Long Does It Take to Recover from Hand and Wrist Pain?

    Recovery time varies depending on the underlying condition and its severity. Mild injuries may heal within a few days to weeks, while more complex conditions, especially those requiring surgery, may take several months for full recovery.