Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center in Raleigh, NC

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Andrea Lueken, OTR/L CHT grew up in Minnesota where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Art. She then received her Masters in Occupational Therapy at Eastern Michigan University in Yspilanti, MI. Andrea moved to Chicago, IL and discovered her passion for upper extremity rehabilitation and orthopedics while working in hospital outpatient programs. Andrea began working for Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center in 2011. She obtained her Certification in Hand Therapy (CHT) that same year. She enjoys being creative in helping her patients return to their function. When she is not at Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center, Andrea is driving her two boys to their baseball and basketball games. Andrea also stays busy with her 2 year-old golden retriever Evie who requires constant pets and tennis ball throws! When her boys and dog are finally tired, Andrea mostly enjoys sleeping, reading, playing volleyball, gardening, and baking.

Dr Post discusses Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Physician Spotlight: Dr. John Erickson

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Dr John Erickson was raised in El Paso, Texas. His father was an officer in the US Army, and the Erickson family settled in El Paso after his father retired from the military. As a youth, Dr. Erickson developed a love of the outdoors, was active in Boy Scouts, and earned the Eagle Scout Award. He went to medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan, where he met his wife, Kimberly. He has been with the Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center since he finished his hand surgery fellowship at Vanderbilt University in 2010. 

While he was deciding where to “hang his shingle” after training, Dr. Erickson was immediately interested in the Raleigh Hand practice. He was impressed with the camaraderie among the surgeons, the integration of hand therapy within the practice, and the friendliness of the staff members. He says, “Our practice is unique. We are a small family – an independent, very specialized group of doctors and therapists, who really care about delivering high quality care to our patients. This is a great place to work.”

Dr. Erickson is double board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in orthopedic surgery and hand surgery. He was president of the North Carolina Society for Surgery of the Hand in 2021. He also helps to organize weekly hand conferences at WakeMed hospital for orthopedic resident education. 

Dr. Erickson’s approach to patient care is straightforward: he treats people as he would like to be treated. Similar to all the doctors in the Raleigh Hand practice, he begins with conservative treatment recommendations for most conditions. 

Dr. Erickson is married to Dr. Kimberly Erickson, a pediatric surgeon at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh. They have one teenage daughter and a rescue dog. The Ericksons are active members of Christ Church in downtown Raleigh. He has participated in volunteer mission trips in medical school and in private practice. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, hiking, and being outdoors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Erickson began painting landscape art, and he has turned this into a rewarding hobby.   

Dr John Erickson

Dr John Erickson

Hand Pain After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

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Persistent hand pain after carpal tunnel surgery is a common question patients have following surgery. I want to expand on post-operative pain, as the great majority of the time the pain is related to normal healing.  

Let’s start by breaking it down by time following surgery and what is abnormal and what is  normal immediate post-operative pain. This is pain within the first 4-6 weeks of surgery.  Remember that regardless of the technique used to release the structure causing carpal tunnel  syndrome, the ligament being released is a robust structure. You need to realize the transverse  carpal ligament released is roughly as thick as the thickness of a cardboard box. Immediately  after the release, there will be a period of time not only for the ligament to heal in a lengthened  position but also for the bones attached to the released ligament to adjust.  

Normal Pain After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Two common complaints after surgery are “the base of my thumb hurts” and “when I put  weight on my hand it continues to be sore.”  

Many patients who have carpal tunnel syndrome also have arthritis at the base of the thumb.  After the ligament is released, there can be a transient increase in pain in the area of arthritis or  occasionally new onset of symptoms at the base of the thumb. As the base of the thumb  “adjusts” to its new environment the symptoms will typically resolve without any treatment. If  symptoms persist, treatment with topical medications, splinting or occasional injection are  required. It is rare that the symptoms of the thumb persist after several months.  

Weight-bearing pain in the palm and hand pain with forceful gripping or heavy lifting is normal  as well. This is expected with normal healing post surgery, and gets better over time. We ask patients to avoid weight  bearing if the pain is significant but mild pain with weight bearing is perfectly acceptable. Pain  with heavy lifting and forceful gripping is also normal post-operative healing. We typically tell  you to wait approximately three weeks after the surgery before your most heavy activities are  resumed. Each patient’s symptoms and activities vary so this needs to be addressed on an  individual basis. Patients should increase activities as tolerated at three weeks within their  tolerance.  

Abnormal Hand Pain After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Now we need to discuss abnormal early post-operative hand pain After carpal tunnel surgery. Keep in mind that these  complications are rare but need to be differentiated from normal post-operative pain.  

Nerve injury related to carpal tunnel surgery is extremely uncommon and is sometimes difficult to  separate from normal recovery of the nerve. Significant increased numbness in the hand or  individual fingers immediately after the surgery is concerning. Local anesthetic is used during  the surgery which causes numbness lasting sometimes 6 hours or more after surgery. Wait  until the effects of the anesthetic have worn off before deciding if there is increased numbness.  If this occurs the physician would want to have you come to the office in a timely manner to  evaluate the hand.  

Infection is another rare complication following carpal tunnel surgery. Patients who develop a  surgical site infection typically have increasing pain, swelling and redness around the incision.  Most patients need few, if any, narcotic pain medications after the surgery. If controlling your  pain requires more narcotics or other meds such as NSAIDs daily rather than less meds, this can be an early sign of a developing infection. Increased drainage from the incision, and fever  are also signs of infection but typically develop later than increase swelling, redness and pain.  If you develop any of these symptoms immediately call the office or physician on call to  discuss. 

Nerve Recovery Pain After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

One other symptom post-surgical that we should comment on is “nerve recovery hand pain” after carpal tunnel surgery. This is  not a complication but can be very disturbing for the patient.

When the ligament is released the chronic pressure on the nerve is removed. In the great majority of cases the patient’s numbness is resolved without nerve recovery pain. In rare cases as the nerve recovers it is painful.

Think about when your leg goes to sleep after sitting too long. The sensation to the  leg and foot is diminished. We get up and move the leg around to “wake it up”. During the  waking up phase you can get a burning or tingling sensation in the foot before it fully recovers.  This odd sensation similar to warming hands that got too cold can be very uncomfortable. This  is similar to what happens in some patients when the pressure is relieved from the nerve.  Fortunately this is transient and is a sign that the nerve is recovering. Most of the time this is  short lived but may have a more protracted course requiring treatment.

Dr. James Post is a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and hand surgery by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Read more about carpal tunnel surgery and many other conditions of the hand and arm on our website.

hand pain after carpal tunnel surgery

Meet Dr. Terry Messer: A Leading Orthopaedic Specialist

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When it comes to orthopaedic care, Dr. Terry Messer stands out as a renowned expert in the Triangle area. Learn more about his journey and expertise in the field.

Comprehensive Orthopaedic Care in the Triangle Area

Dr. Terry Messer moved to the Triangle in 2001 to join the faculty at UNC in the Department of Orthopaedics, treating patients in clinic and performing surgery at UNC and WakeMed Hospitals.  In 2003, he was one of the founding physicians of Wake Orthopaedics.  However, because of his desire to focus on hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder care, he joined Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center in 2006.  

Patient-Centric Approach to Care

Dr. Messer states “My philosophy in treating patients is to perform a thorough evaluation and do my very best to come up with the correct diagnosis for each patient.  I then try to present the patient with their treatment options and education them on the pros and cons of each option, letting the patient choose the treatment that is best for them.”

Staying at the Forefront of Orthopaedic Innovation

Despite formally leaving academic medicine in 2006, Dr. Messer has stayed up to date on the latest innovations and treatments in hand and upper extremity surgery by being an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Southeastern Hand Society, and North Carolina Society for Surgery of the Hand, having served as President of the latter two organizations.  He also reviews scientific articles for several prestigious research journals including the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery and Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 

Making a Difference Beyond Medicine

Dr. Messer is also the President of COAN, a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of orthopaedic care in Nicaragua.  He has participated in numerous medical mission trips to Nicaragua where he has taught their orthopaedic surgery attendings and residents and has performed surgery on hundreds of Nicaraguan patients. 

Life Beyond Orthopaedics

Outside of work, Dr. Messer loves to spend time with his wife, three children, and their dog.  Dr. Messer and his family are members of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary.  Dr. Messer is a sports nut, staying physically active with working out, tennis, golf, and pickleball, and watching all sports on TV.  According to Dr. Messer, he especially likes watching ACC basketball, Penn State and Big Ten Football, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Philadelphia Eagles.  Dr. Messer has also been fortunate to care for many athletes over the years, ranging from weekend warriors to those participating in major league and professional sports.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Messer Today at Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center

Ready to experience exceptional orthopaedic care from Dr. Terry Messer? Schedule your consultation today and take the first step towards improved health and mobility.
Get started today by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. You can also give us a call directly using the phone call button and schedule an appointment button, both located at the top of this page.

Meet Samantha Tobin: Our Newest Addition to the Therapy Department

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We are pleased to announce the addition of Samantha Tobin, OTD, OTR/L to the Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center therapy department! 

Expertise in Occupational Therapy

Samantha obtained her Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences in 2018. She has worked as an occupational therapist at Greensboro Orthopedics and Emerge Orthopedics since then. 

Bringing Years of Experience to Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center

Dr. Tobin joins our practice with several years of therapy experience and an interest in pursuing her CHT. 

Interests Beyond Occupational Therapy

Dr. Tobin’s hobbies include cooking, gardening and spending time with her dogs. Welcome Samantha!

Contact Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center for Expert Occupational Therapy Services

Ready to embark on your occupational therapy journey with Dr. Samantha Tobin? Contact us today to schedule your appointment and begin your path to improved well-being.

Get started today by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. You can also give us a call directly using the phone call button and schedule an appointment button, both located at the top of this page.

Congratulations to Our Hand and Shoulder Surgeons in Raleigh: Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center Has Over 500 5-Star Reviews on Google!

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Contact Our Orthopedic Surgeons in Raleigh Today for 5-Star Treatment

In need of orthopedic services in the Raleigh area? Get started today by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. You can also give us a call directly using the phone call button and schedule an appointment button, both located at the top of this page.

Insights from Dr. Terry Messer: Finger Fracture Dislocations at Hand Conference

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Dr. Terry Messer of Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center discussed finger fracture dislocations on 11-13-2023 at WakeMed orthopedic hand conference. 

Key Takeaways: Finger Fracture Dislocation Treatment Options

Terry Messer

Treatment options for patients were discussed including nonsurgical treatment, surgery, and rehabilitation.

Contact Us Today for Expertise in Hand Injuries in Raleigh, NC

Curious about finger fracture dislocations? Stay updated on the latest in hand injury treatment by exploring Dr. Messer’s insights from the conference.

Get started today by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. You can also give us a call directly using the phone call button and schedule an appointment button, both located at the top of this page.

Open Saturdays for Orthopedic Solutions in Raleigh

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Starting in September, our office will be open for walk-in patients. No appointment is needed for patients with problems of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. Our Orthopedic Surgeons in Raleigh will evaluate each patient in our office.

Open Saturdays

Saturday Office hours available at Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center

You can also give us a call directly using the phone call button and schedule an appointment button, both located at the top of this page for visits Monday through Friday. Saturday is a first-come-first served basis.

Choosing Orthopedic Hand Surgeons in Raleigh

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The Triangle area is fortunate to have great medical care. In Raleigh, orthopedic hand surgeons have offices in many locations around the city. How do you choose the right orthopedic hand surgeon who is best for you in Raleigh? Many patients are routinely referred to a surgeon or clinic after visiting the emergency room. However, patients are allowed to follow-up with the practice and surgeon who they prefer, no matter which emergency room or urgent care they visit initially.

Why Patients Prefer Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center

Many patients choose the doctors at Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center for their hand and upper extremity care. The Raleigh orthopedic hand surgeons are well respected in the medical community. Patients seek their practice for many reasons including: specialization in hand and arm conditions, personalized patient visits, and high-value healthcare. 

Expertise and Experience at Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center

After orthopedic residency, all the doctors in the practice completed an additional year-long fellowship to specialize in hand and upper extremity care. This additional year of training helped the doctors learn the important details about hand anatomy, pathology, and treatment. Every Raleigh Hand doctor is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Among the six physicians, the practice has over 100 years of combined experience treating patients.

High-Value Healthcare and Personalized Treatment

The Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center is a small private practice, independent of the hospital systems and larger orthopedic practices in Wake county. During every visit at the clinic in Raleigh, orthopedic specialists evaluate each patient personally. Hand and upper extremity occupational and physical therapy is also available on-site, which improves communication and coordination between the practitioners. 

Expert Orthopedic Solutions at an Affordable Cost 

Additionally, the Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center practice has been recognized for high-value healthcare. This designation shows that the doctors and therapists provide high-quality care at an appropriate cost. The doctors begin with non-surgical, conservative care for most patients. In many cases, patients can be treated without surgery using splints, medications, injections, and therapy.  

If surgery is necessary, the doctors perform most of their surgeries at Capital City Surgery Center, at a much lower cost than hospitals. Their surgery center has been recognized as the #1 Ambulatory Surgery Center in North Carolina for several years in a row. The doctors also perform in-office procedures for some conditions which provides a significant cost-savings to patients. 

Your Trusted Orthopedic Hand Surgeons in Raleigh

If you or your loved one has a problem with their hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder, and live in the Raleigh area, please seek the best care possible and consider making an appointment with our orthopedic surgeons in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

The Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center physicians have treated patients with hand and upper extremity problems for over three decades. From a minor cut to a severe hand injury, we have been specialty-trained to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate patients with a variety of hand and arm problems. 

Understanding Hand Surgery Services in North Carolina

The hand is one of the most intricate and delicate areas of the human body, comprised of nineteen bones in addition to joints, tendons, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. As you know, our hands are critical for independent function and livelihood. An alteration in the normal function of the hand can significantly impact a person’s life. 

The orthopedic hand surgeons in Raleigh strive to improve a patient’s quality of life through effective non-surgical and surgical treatments. All doctors are members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and are board-certified by the ABOS.

Contact Our Raleigh Orthopedic Surgeons Today for High-Quality Care and Treatment Options

Get started today by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. You can also give us a call directly using the phone call button and schedule an appointment button, both located at the top of this page.

American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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