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Month: January 2016


The Eraser Challenge: A Fad that is Dangerous to Skin

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There is no getting away from the fact that young people often do foolish things. Sometimes, they do things that can be very destructive, without even realizing the potential for harm. Much of the time, these activities are engaged in as a way of gaining the admiration of their peers. One such activity that has been making the rounds for a number of years, and has even given rise to disturbing You Tube videos, is the “Eraser Challenge.”

What is the Eraser Challenge?

With the Eraser Challenge, the participant takes an ordinary eraser, and rubs it on his hand or forearm while reciting the alphabet. With each letter, the participant must come up with a word that begins with that letter. If you cant get to the end of the alphabet and form a word beginning with each letter, you fail. If you drop out because you cant stand the pain, you lose – unless someone else drops out before you do.

In a variation on the game, participants may simply rub their skin with the eraser, foregoing the alphabet component, until they cant stand it any longer. The participant who stays in the game the longest is usually the winner. Of course, you might not be rubbing the eraser hard enough, so in order to discourage cheating of that sort, the winner may be the one deemed by his or her peers to have the worst wound. Participants have been known to do this until the skin comes off and they begin to bleed.

The Internet

Any number of disturbing “Eraser Challenge” images and videos can be found online. Often, young people photograph and record their injuries in an attempt at achieving some sort of fame. It is important to understand that this type of self-mutilation is very different from “cutting” and other destructive activities in that it is not obsessive-compulsive behavior – it is a means of establishing “cred.” It isnt a mental disorder; rather its a means of achieving peer recognition.

The Danger

Sometimes, the injuries are minimal. There is, however, a great deal of potential for infections and permanent scarring. In extreme cases, there can be permanent loss of function. Simply stated, no one ever “wins” the Eraser Challenge. The potential for harm in both the short and the long term is serious. Parents, teachers and school nurses need to be vigilant, and look for signs that young people are participating in this harmful behavior, and doctors need to be able to ask the right questions so that when a teen presents with serious abrasions, they can determine whether an explanation like, “I fell and scraped my arm,” actually makes sense, or whether it is a case of deliberate self-harm to gain the admiration of ones peers.


There is probably no way of stopping young people from engaging in every sort of self-destructive behavior. Parents and others who are charged with the wellbeing of our teens, however, have to be aware of current trends in youthful “one-upmanship” and be able to respond effectively.

General Hands

What Is Causing Your Hand Pain? – Arora Hand Surgery

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Hand pain can occur for a wide variety of reasons. Some people may have a physical injury to their hand, while others might suffer from hand pain because of a disease, such as arthritis.


When the tendons start to swell in the hands and along the wrist, it can cause a lot of pain. In some patients, the pain starts gradually and builds over time. In other patients, the pain seems to come on suddenly, and it can extend and radiate from the site of the swollen tendons to other areas of the hand and arm. This can make it difficult to do a number of normal tasks, as it can be hard to hold objects, and you may lose mobility in the hand.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Another common cause of hand pain is carpal tunnel syndrome, affecting up to 3% of the people in the United States. Those who suffer can experience pain in their hand and fingers, as well as the wrist and the forearm. The swelling in the carpal tunnel places pressure on the median nerve, which causes these symptoms to emerge. In addition to pain, it can also cause the sufferer to feel weakness and tingling in their hands.


It is possible to break bones in the hand, wrist, and forearm, and it may be easier than you want to believe. Even a small fracture can cause swelling, pain, stiffness, and an inability to move the affected area. Complex fractures and compound (open) fractures are even more dangerous.


Arthritis is one of the most common causes of hand pain. The cartilage in the joints begins to deteriorate, which can happen with age and with repetitive use. This eventually causes painful swelling that will limit the persons ability to function properly. Many different types of arthritis exist, and all of them can be difficult to treat and manage.

Trigger Finger

Someone who suffers from trigger finger has a finger or thumb that becomes locked in an angle. This can be annoying, and it can be painful. It can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, for the sufferer to straighten their digit without a substantial amount of pain. This can occur when there is injury or irritation of the flexor tendons.

Finding Treatments to Deal With Hand Pain

As you can see, there are a number of causes of hand pain, which means that the treatment that works for one will not necessarily work for another. When you are suffering from any type of hand pain, you will want to speak with hand specialist to get to the root cause of the problem. You can then discuss a good and workable course of treatment, which could include physical therapy, medication, and surgery to help eliminate your hand pain.

Always make sure you are going to a specialist in the field who has experience dealing with the hand, wrist, and elbow. While a general practitioner can be helpful, getting a referral to a specialist is generally your best bet.

Fingers General

Problems With Artificial Nails

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Its a given that all women want beautiful nails. Often, that means not living with what nature gave you, and indisputably artificial nails are very popular. You might be a woman, or know a woman, who builds a trip to the nail salon into her weekly budget. But are acrylic nails safe? Read on.

Safe, Sort Of

Acrylic nails in and of themselves arent harmful. But depending on how theyre installed, and how long you leave them on, they could be harmful to your natural nail bed.

One of the most common problems is actually damage to the acrylic nail causing damage to the underlying nail. The acrylic nail cracks, or loosens from the natural nail, and then a gap occurs. This makes for a wet, warm environment that is ideal for bacteria to grow and cause infections.

Another problem is that nail files can never be effectively sterilized. So when you go to the salon, youre not just bringing in whatever is on your nails – youre picking up what was on the customer before, and the customer before that, and the… well, you get the idea. Ideally, you should bring your own nail file to the salon and have the nail technician use it.


You probably think of allergies as affecting your sinuses or your skin, but the reality is that you can be allergic to any number of the compounds that are used on your nails in the course of having acrylic nails installed. Adhesives are a common culprit, and signs of an allergy can include redness and swelling.

Minimize Your Risk

Of course you want beautiful nails, but if you are going to have acrylic nails installed at a salon, make sure that the salon is state licensed, and only work with nail technicians who are board licensed. Make sure that your technician sterilizes every single tool that he or she uses, and washes hands before serving you. And as we have stated before, bring your own nail file.

Let Your Nails Breathe

Keep in mind that your nails are not meant to be covered for any great length of time. At least every three months, you should forego your acrylic nails and let your real nails get a bit of oxygen.


To prevent problems with acrylic nails, start off slow. Have just one nail installed, and wait to see if you experience any itching, redness, pain, or other symptoms. If any of these symptoms develop, do not use acrylic nails. If any separation of the artificial nail from the nail bed occurs, remove the artificial nails immediately. You can often do this with at-home treatments, or you can go to a salon to have the nails removed.

Keep in mind that if you continue to wear artificial nails in the face of the above-mentioned problems, you are risking permanent damage to your nail bed. Looking good is important, but not at the cost of your health. Enjoy your manicure, but be careful.

General Hands

Sprains in Toddlers and Babies

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As a parent, you know that toddlers and babies can move around in ways that sometimes seem very unusual to the adults who are observing them. And every so often, they will trip or fall, or twist in a way that causes an injury. You may be observing your child and asking yourself, “How does he do that without spraining something?”

The fact is, young children hardly ever develop sprains. They are actually far more likely to break a bone, since bones in babies and toddlers are much weaker than ligaments. That said, sprains, although rare, can happen.

Identifying a Sprain in Your Toddler or Baby

Symptoms of a sprain, in addition to obvious pain, can include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Limping
  • Reluctance to walk, move or be touched

Often, it can be hard to tell whether the problem is a sprain or a break, since the symptoms can be quite similar. Sprains will generally heal on their own, but if you suspect a break, you should see your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Treating a Minor Sprain

If you think that your toddler or baby has experienced a sprain, you should first try to get the child to remain still – and yes, we do know how difficult that can be. Perhaps a favorite toy or DVD would be in order.

Next, keep the wrist or arm elevated by propping it up on a cushion, and apply cold treatments to the affected area. You should never apply ice directly to a sprain, so if you are using ice, wrap it in a towel first. There are also medical cold packs that you can keep in your freezer for just such an emergency. And in a pinch, a bag of frozen vegetables will serve the purpose. Make sure that you dont use cold compresses for any more than ten minutes at a time.

If the child is in a good deal of discomfort, you can use over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Keep in mind, though, that aspirin is not recommended for children.

Preventing Sprains

Obviously, you do not want your child to be hurt. We sincerely hope that you have already installed baby gates at the top and foot of your stairs, but if you havent, please do so immediately. Also, make sure that floors (especially play areas) are kept as free as is reasonably possible from any tripping hazards.

Also, never buy shoes that you think your child will “grow into.” It is shocking how many parents do this, but think about it – how well would you walk in shoes that are a couple of sizes too big? Children are meant to wear shoes that fit their feet now, not shoes that will fit them a month or two down the road.

It is far better to prevent a sprain than it is to deal with it once it has occurred, so follow these basic safety measures so that your child can be protected from the possibility of a painful sprain.

Elbows General

Funny Bone Facts – Arora Hand Surgery

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The so-called funny bone is actually not a bone. And when you whack it on something, it really is not all that funny. So what is the “funny bone,” and why does it cause so much discomfort when you hit it?

Actually, the funny bone is the ulnar nerve. This is a nerve that extends all the way from your neck to your hand, sending impulses to your hand and your forearm. It terminates at the point where your pinky finger and your ring finger join.

Why the Discomfort?

The ulnar nerve, like all the other nerves in your body, is protected by ligaments, muscles and bones throughout most of its length. However, when it reaches the elbow, it passes through the cubital tunnel. At that point, its only protection is fat and skin, and that makes it highly vulnerable to impact. When you hit it, the nerve comes up against the bone and becomes compressed. That is what causes the tingling, numbness and pain that shoots down your forearm, through your hand and into your fingers.

How Did It Get Its Name?

This is a matter that has been long debated. Some believe that the term is actually a pun, since the nerve runs along the bone known as the humerus, which, of course, sounds just lie “humorous.” Another school of thought is that the name is derived from the “funny” feeling that you get when you hit it. Regardless of the origin, though, our opinion is still that there really isnt anything all that “funny” about a blow to the ulnar nerve.

Could Matters Be Worse?

Yes, actually, they could. Imagine having the sensation of a blow to the funny bone that never goes away. Sometimes it happens, and the condition is known as cubital tunnel syndrome. This occurs when the ulnar nerve becomes obstructed, and then ends up being squeezed or pinched. Often, this is caused by sleeping with your arm folded under you. You get the same feeling as when you hit the funny bone – in other words, tingling, numbness and pain. The trouble is that it lasts longer, and eventually, it may not go away. If the irritation of the nerve is constant, numbness settles in, and the forearm and hand muscles weaken. Then, the ring and pinky fingers can end up curled into a claw-like position.

Treating Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

The most important thing you can do if you have cubital tunnel syndrome is to correct the posture that is causing the pressure on the ulnar nerve. Most often, the pressure is caused when you are sleeping, so putting a pillow under your arm before you go to sleep may offer some relief. If this doesnt help, then your doctor may consider splinting the elbow for a period of time. Hand therapy can also be helpful. In extreme cases, you may need surgery to open up the tunnel so that the nerve has more space, and the pressure on it is reduced.

Conditions General

Understanding Dupuytren’s Contracture

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If you feel a tightening in your hands, or if from time to time your hands cramp up for no apparent reason, the cause could be Dupuytren contracture. This is a tightening in the fascia of your hands. Fascia are fibrous tissues that are located inside the palms of your hands, and progressive tightening can eventually result in difficulty using the hand along with an unsightly, claw-like appearance as your fingers begin to curl inward.

Diagnosing Dupuytren Contracture

As you might expect, diagnosis of Dupuytren contracture is done by examining the hand. During the examination, the doctor will usually find a tender nodule in the neighborhood of the third or fourth finger, in the palm. Initially, this nodule may cause pain, but eventually it will go away as the fingers begin to curl inward.

In order to effectively confirm or rule out Dupuytren contracture, your doctor will also take a complete history to determine if there is anything in your medical background that could be connected with the condition. If you consume excessive amounts of alcohol, or if you have diabetes or epilepsy, you are at a higher risk for Dupuytren contracture, although these are simply factors that seem to go hand in hand with Dupuytren contracture – the actual causes of the condition are not known.

What is known is that the condition appears to be hereditary, is more common in men than in women, and usually appears after the age of 45. There also appears to be a genetic component, but having the genetic makeup that is present in Dupuytren contracture sufferers does not necessarily mean that you will develop the condition. Approximately 5% of Americans have Dupuytren contracture. In about half of cases, both hands are affected. Interestingly, when the disorder affects only one hand, it is twice as likely to be the right hand.

Treating Dupuytren Contracture

If the condition is identified before the fingers start to curl inward, injection of a corticosteroid can relieve the symptoms. It is important to note, though, that this will simply ease the symptoms – it will not halt the progression of the condition.

Occasionally, Dupuytren contracture will go away without treatment, but usually at some point surgery will be required. Even after surgery, hand function may be limited. This is because removing the diseased fascia is not an easy procedure – the fascia protects a multitude of blood vessels, nerves and tendons, so the hand surgeon has to err on the side of caution.

The Final Word

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Dupuytren contracture, it is important that you see a competent hand surgeon in order to determine if the cause is actually Dupuytren disorder or due to some other condition. Then you can work together to agree on a course of treatment, which could include corticosteroid injections, and which may or may not include surgery. Although Dupuytren contracture does sometimes simply go away without treatment, that is the exception, not the rule.

General Hands

Dealing With a Distal Radius Fracture

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A distal radius fracture can occur for a number of different reasons. Often, it happens when a person falls and lands on their outstretched hands with their palms hitting the surface of the floor or ground. It also happens in a number of car accidents because people will often put out their arms at the moment of impact, which causes the bone to fracture. The bone known as the radius will break. This is actually a common type of injury, and in some cases, the bone of the forearm will break as well.

What Are the Symptoms?

Those who suffer from a distal radius fracture will be in a substantial amount of pain, and the area around the break will swell. In many cases, this will cause a deformity in the wrist. Those who believe they have a fracture should visit the doctor so they can have an x-ray taken of the location. This will let the doctor determine whether there is a break, and the severity of the break. You may want to consider visiting an orthopedist, as they specialize in the field of bones. If the pain is severe, the fracture is open (the break comes through the skin), or if there is numbness in the area, you should visit the emergency room.

It is possible to treat a distal radius fracture in a number of different ways. The option chosen will depend on a number of factors including the nature of the injury and the patients history and age. In some cases, it may only need splinting and then a cast to heal, as long as the bone is in a good position. The cast will typically be removed after about six weeks. Again, it depends on the patient and the severity of the injury.

Treating a Distal Radius Fracture with Surgery

In some cases, a surgical option is the best way to deal with the injury. With some patients, the bone may be in a bad position, and it would not heal properly and allow the patient to make full use of their wrist. In those cases, surgery can help. The type of surgery can differ depending on the injury. Some may require and incision, and others may not. Once the doctor puts the bone in the proper position, they may choose to hold it in place with a cast, or they might hold it in place with metal pins or screws, or other techniques.

The healing time after the surgery will vary based on the type of surgery, and the patients natural ability to heal. In most cases, surgery will not be necessary, but the orthopedic surgeon will let you know what the best course of action will be for your wrist and hand to heal properly.

Those who have a distal radius fracture, or any other type of injury to the hand, forearm, and elbow should make sure they get in touch with a high quality, reputable orthopedic specialist. They need to make sue that they have the best care and treatment for their injury so they can heal properly.

Fingers General

Is Knuckle Cracking Harmful?

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Lets begin by saying, before we say anything else, that if you crack your knuckles you are probably driving the people around you crazy. But is knuckle cracking harmful? Truthfully, its hard to say. The jury is still out.

What Mom Said

Your mother probably told you that cracking your knuckles would cause brain damage. That is not true. She may have also told you that it would cause you to develop arthritis in later life, and honestly, that theory has been debated to death. The conventional wisdom today is that it likely wont. But are those maddening clicks and pops anything more than an annoyance? Lets talk about your knuckles.

What are Knuckles?

Your knuckles are the joints in your fingers (and also in your toes, for that matter) that are located where the bones meet. They contain a liquid, synovial fluid, that lubricates them. Occasionally, a gas bubble occurs in the synovial fluid, and when the joint moves in a certain way, that bubble bursts and makes a cracking or popping sound.

Now, about arthritis. It is a common problem in older adults. In fact, most people over the age of 65 have at least some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form, and it is caused by ordinary wear and tear on your joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is due to joint inflammation, and it can ultimately cause joint deformity and loss of function.

Is There a Connection?

The current research suggests that there is no connection between cracking your knuckles and developing arthritis. On the other hand, think about what we just said about wear and tear. Constant knuckle cracking is almost certainly going to cause wear and tear on the joints. Whether it is sufficient to cause arthritis is still up for debate. It doesnt seem unreasonable to think that prolonged knuckle cracking could lead to trouble in the joints, but how much does it take? Also, many people develop arthritis, and many people crack their knuckles. What is cause, and what is effect? Or is there any correlation at all? No one really knows.

A Study

In 1975, Drs. Robert and Stuart Swezey studied 28 nursing home residents who may or may not have cracked their knuckles – most of them couldnt remember. They x-rayed the subjects hands, and decided that there was no link between arthritis and knuckle cracking. Heres the thing, though – how do you determine cause and effect when your subjects cant even remember if they cracked their knuckles?

Another study, possibly more reliable, was published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease. It evaluated a group of 300 known knuckle crackers. None of them developed arthritis. They did, however, experience less strength in their hands, and were more likely to have swelling in the hands. Again, though, whether knuckle cracking caused hand problems, or people with hand problems were more likely to crack their knuckles was left open to interpretation.

The Final Word

Dont crack your knuckles. It might not make a bit of difference, according to studies. But why not err on the side of caution?

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.