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General Hands

Tips for Managing Day-to-Day Tasks with One Hand

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If you have a fractured hand, debilitating pain in one of your wrists, or a similar condition, you may have to adjust to handling day-to-day tasks with one hand.

Several tools are available for purchase that can help individuals open jars, zip up jackets, put on seatbelts, and complete other tasks. In addition to purchasing such resources, there are many other ways to make living with one hand easier on yourself.

Cooking & Household Chores

If you have temporarily lost the ability to use one arm or one hand due to an injury, see if you can find someone to help you for the first several days with housework, cooking, taking care of children, and other important chores.

You may experience some pain over the first several days after an injury, so having someone there to help you is ideal.

Additionally, consider buying meals that are easy to prepare and cook, such as frozen dinners.

Toiletries & Medications

Reinvent your morning routine.

  • Buy a shower sponge on a stick to make it easier to reach.
  • Buy toiletries with pumps or flip tops rather than screw tops.
  • Instead of traditional dental floss, choose dental floss with handles, which you can manipulate with one hand.
  • Consider investing in an electric razor.

As long as they are out of the reach of children, leave toiletries open if possible, such as the lid off the toothpaste and the cap off the shampoo bottle. Ask your pharmacist to give you bottle caps that are not childproof so that they are easier to open with one hand.

Shoes & Clothing

Some items of clothing are much easier to slip on than others, so you may have to rely on them if you can’t use one of your hands.

  • Avoid wearing pants, jackets, and shirts that have zippers or buttons.
  • Wear sports bras rather than traditional bras so that you don’t have to clip them on.
  • Buy slip-on shoes.

For additional tips or more information, contact one of our hand doctor’s offices, located in West Bloomfield, Howell, St. Clair Shores, and Macomb Township.

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General Hands

Why Go to a Hand Specialist for Arthritis Treatment?

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According to a report on the Arthritis Foundation website, more than 90 million American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis or report arthritis symptoms. The hands are among the most common areas of the body that are affected by arthritis.

Many different types of doctors treat the condition, but if you specifically go to a hand specialist for arthritis treatment, you may gain numerous benefits that you would not otherwise. Here are a few reasons why a specialist may be the right choice for you.

Experience in Issues Affecting the Hands

Unlike a primary care doctor who focuses on all areas of the body, a hand doctor’s core focus is on the hands. That means he is more keenly aware of various symptoms, helpful treatments, and treatment results that you may be able to expect.

A Hand Specialist for Arthritis May Identify Underlying Conditions

It’s not always arthritis. Many other health conditions show symptoms in the hands. At the same time, patients could have hand arthritis as well as other underlying conditions. These may include conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, lymphedema, and spine-related concerns.

When you go to a hand specialist for arthritis treatment, the doctor will be able to help you rule out the possibility that your hand arthritis is related to an underlying condition.

Greater Knowledge of Effective Hand Arthritis Treatments

Because a hand doctor focuses on conditions that affect the hands and arms, he has more expertise regarding the effectiveness of medications, exercises, and self-care routines. A hand specialist is a comprehensive source of knowledge about your particular condition.

On-Site Hand Therapy

Self-care, hand exercises, and general hand therapy are very effective in minimizing arthritis pain and flareups. While general doctors may advise you to go elsewhere for hand therapy, hand doctors’ offices may have therapists on site.

Such is the case at Arora Hand Surgery, for example. We have a certified hand therapist on our team who works closely with Dr. Arora. As a result, patients receive comprehensive treatment and therapy, and the doctor and therapist work together toward the overall health and wellness of hand arthritis patients.

Surgical Treatment Options for Arthritis

In the event that conservative hand arthritis treatments are not as effective as one would hope, surgery may be an option. The type of surgery depends on factors such as which form of arthritis you have (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), the severity of the condition, and the patient’s overall health.

A benefit of going to a hand specialist for arthritis treatment is that if surgery is required, you already have a trusting relationship with the doctor. The doctor knows you and you know him, so you can feel more confident in the procedure, recovery time, and the results.

Continued Monitoring of Your Condition

Whether you need surgery for arthritis or see improvement with daily self-care, the hand specialist will continue to monitor your condition with routine appointments. Elsewhere, you may have the surgery performed by someone you only see that one day, but that’s not the case when you go to a hand specialist for arthritis treatment.

If you are experiencing numbness, stiffness, or swelling in your hands or wrists, you should make an appointment to see our hand doctor in Macomb Township, St. Clair Shores, West Bloomfield, or Howell as soon as possible. Treatment can be very effective in minimizing the discomfort associated with arthritis, so you don’t have to suffer through the pain.

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General

Home Safety: Bathroom Injury Prevention Tips

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Every year more than 200,000 people visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom, and more than a third of these injuries occur while people are bathing or showering. According to the National Institute on Aging, 80 percent of falls suffered by individuals ages 65 and older occur in the bathroom.

It’s not hard to see why. From wet floors and scalding hot water to medication containers, cleaning products, and small appliances, potential dangers lurk in every corner.

Fortunately, some simple bathroom injury prevention measures will go a long way.

13 Bathroom Injury Prevention Tips to Keep in Mind

The following bathroom injury prevention tips may help keep individuals of all ages safe in your home.

1. Install safety bars/grab handles on the walls and in the tub.

2. Place non-slip mats inside the tub or on the shower floor.

3. Add non-slip decals on the bathroom tile.

4. Keep the bathroom, shower, and bathtub floors clean, as dirt and mildew will make floors more slippery.

5. Make sure that soap, shampoo, conditioner, towels, and any other bathing items are easy to reach. Check to make sure they are available before getting into the shower in order to avoid getting out to obtain them.

6. Consider removing the bathtub completely to avoid the tripping hazard. Replace it with a walk-in shower that does not have high ledges that seniors would have to step over.

7. Place a safety seat in the shower.

8. Make sure cold and hot water knobs in the shower and bathroom sink are clearly labeled.

9. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to prevent scalding, especially if you have young children or seniors in your home. The skin of older individuals is thinner, so it can scald quickly.

10. If you have young children in the home, ask your pharmacist to give you childproof caps for medications. Keep the medications out of children’s reach.

11. Keep cleaning products separate and away from items such as mouthwash.

12. Remember that water and electricity don’t mix, so be careful when using electric razors, hair dryers, and hair curlers in the bathroom.

13. Regularly check the integrity of the caulking around the bathtub and toilet, and fix any leaks promptly.

Seniors or disabled individuals should have grab bars near the toilet, inside the shower, and in and around the bathtub.
Seniors or disabled individuals should have grab bars near the toilet, inside the shower, and in and around the bathtub.

Keep a First Aid Kit in the Bathroom

Despite your greatest efforts, accidents can happen. It’s best to keep first aid kits in multiple areas of the home, including the kitchen, bathroom, garage, and any workshops you may have. In most cases, you are more likely to recover completely from a burn, cut, or injury if you implement proper first aid measures quickly.

According to the American Red Cross, a basic, household first aid kit for a family of four should include:

Make a list of medications everyone in your household uses, and place it in the first aid kit. Paramedics or family members can refer to the list if needed.

Check the kit regularly and replace any used or outdated items.

To treat a hand, wrist, or elbow sprain, burn or other injury, contact one of our Arora Hand Surgery offices in southeast Michigan to make an appointment.

If the injury is severe, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.

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General

COVID-19 Prevention Measures at Arora Hand Surgery

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Local patients who must go to our hand specialist’s offices in West Bloomfield, Howell, St. Clair Shores, or Macomb Township may have some concerns regarding coronavirus risks. Let us reassure you, however, that we are taking many COVID-19 prevention measures to help keep our patients, our staff, and our families safe.

Safety precautions that we have implemented or enhanced include:

  • Social distancing in shared areas
  • Use of additional personal protective equipment
  • Requesting that patients wear masks in shared areas
  • Asking patients to avoid bringing people with them unless necessary for transportation or communication
  • Taking patients’ temperatures upon entry
  • Increased sanitization and cleaning of equipment, chairs, and tables
  • Making hand sanitizer available for patients’ use
  • Assessing patients’ health prior to entry

The number of coronavirus cases in Michigan has been higher over the past several weeks than they ever have been, so it’s essential for all of us to do our part to keep each other healthy. Wear your masks when you are in public places, stay home when you can, wash your hands frequently, and stay at least 6 feet away from others.

If you are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, stay home, quarantine yourself, and keep your distance from people within your own household.

We are learning more and more about the novel virus as time progresses, including signs of the virus. COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, and the most common symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Seek emergency medical care if you or someone you know has:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Contact one of our offices for more information about our COVID-19 prevention measures.

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General

MRI, CT Scan, and Ultrasound Facts

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With the advancement of technology today, medical professionals are now more accurate to properly diagnose and treat a problem than ever before. Three of the most advanced means of examining a problematic area are through MRI, CT scans, and ultrasounds. These technologies provide Dr. Arora with utmost aid as he works to help enhance your day to day life.

What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI for short, is a means of assessing a problematic area. By utilizing a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy, an MRI can create digital imaging of the structures and systems within the body. MRI’s are commonly performed to locate and identify a variety of concerns such as an injury, tumor, infection, and more. One very distinctive quality of MRI’s is that they can reveal more information about your body than that of a standard x-ray.
A woman is guided into a CT scan.

What can I expect from an MRI Scan?

During an MRI scan, we strongly advise patients not to wear any metallic objects, including jewelry, piercings, or otherwise, as it may interfere with the scanning process. Please let Dr. Arora know if you have metallic devices or instruments implanted in your body such as a heart or blood vessel device, I.E. a pacemaker or a coronary artery stent, artificial limbs, dental work, etc. Please inform us prior to your scan of whether you experience sensations of claustrophobia, as MRI scans are performed occasionally in close quarters and require you to lie very still. An MRI scan can take approximately an hour to complete.

There are several differences between an MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound diagnostic tests.

What is a CT Scan?

A computerized tomography (CT) scan consolidates various images taken from a standard x-ray and utilizes computer processing to establish cross-sectional imaging of numerous structures within the body including the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissue. This type of imaging is often recommended to help:

  • Diagnose a disorder or fracture
  • Locate the problematic region
  • Guide surgical approaches and modes of therapy
  • Monitor a condition and the effectiveness of a treatment

CT scans can also provide greater details on any part of the body in contrast to an x-ray alone.

What can I expect from a CT Scan?

CT scans are generally a very quick test to complete. Patients will lie on a narrow, motorized table that will slide through what appears like the opening of a tunnel where the CT scanner itself will rotate around you. There may be points where Dr. Arora may ask you to hold your breath at specific periods to avoid blurry imagery creation.

An ultrasound is being performed in this image. There are several differences between MRIs, CAT scans, and this diagnostic test.

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound, also known as sonography, is a means of medical examination of the body. Live images are captured from the inside of your body through high-frequency sound waves. Comparable to that of a sonar and radar, the ultrasound technology creates a visualization of problems or concerns within tissues, organs, and vessels without the need for an incision. As opposed to other means of imaging, ultrasound does not use radiation, which is why it is commonly used for expectant mothers during their pregnancy.

What can I expect from an Ultrasound Scan?

The ultrasound scan examination is performed by a qualified technician that utilizes an ultrasound probe and machine. How you might go about preparing for an ultrasound scan will depend upon the part of the body that is being examined. Some areas that are receiving an ultrasound scan examination may require patients to refrain from eating or drinking for 8-12 hours before their assessment, as undigested food can obstruct sound waves from creating a lucid picture. You may still drink small amounts of water to keep hydrated and take prescribed medications as instructed. Be sure to inform Dr. Arora of any medications you may be taking prior to your examination. An ultrasound scan can take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at the location nearest you to learn more about MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound imaging.

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General Treatments

Caring for Your Cast

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Hand, wrist, and arm injuries send many people of all ages to the Emergency Room, and they often walk out with a cast. A cast helps you heal and ease the pain while you do, but caring for your cast properly is important in order to avoid infection.

Cast Care Instructions

Once a cast or splint is in place, your pain should improve. However, due to your injury, you may have swelling. This can cause a build up of pressure inside the cast that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, cold fingers, or the inability to move your fingers. Slight discoloration can be normal, but if your fingers or toes become whitish or bluish it could indicate a problem.

If you develop any of the above symptoms, ELEVATE YOUR LIMB ABOVE THE LEVEL OF YOUR HEART. Ice packs also help to relieve swelling. This is good practice for the first few days after your injury regardless if you are having problems or not.

Do not put any items down your cast. Scratching can irritate and even cut the skin and an unseen infection can develop.

If the skin around the edges of the cast is becoming irritated, place a Band-Aid, tape, or moleskin around the edges of the cast to protect your skin from the rough surface. If the irritation persists, call our office.

Water and Casts:

If you are wearing a splint (plaster covered with an Ace bandage) or a fiberglass cast, DO NOT GET THE SPLINT OR CAST WET. This can lead to skin breakdown and infection (especially if it is covering a surgical incision). To protect your cast, we recommend two options. The first option is to wrap the arm with double plastic bags and then seal with duct tape. The second option is to use a purchased “Cast Protector” at a local chain drug store. Both these options have been found to be cost-effective reliable choices.

If your fiberglass/plaster splint/cast gets wet, please contact our doctor’s office in Howell, West Bloomfield, Macomb Township, or St. Clair Shores right away.

 

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General Treatments

EMG Testing and Nerve Conduction Studies: Assessing Health of Muscles, Neurons

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Electromyography (EMG testing) and nerve conduction study (NCS) are diagnostic tests that are performed in order to assess the health of muscles and motor neurons.

Motor neurons are the nerves that are responsible for the muscles’ contractions, and damaged or dysfunctional motor neurons can cause health conditions like muscle and nerve disorders.

During the exam, we will monitor the electrical activity that occurs within the muscles at rest and when the muscles are slightly contracted. EMG testing measures the electrical activity within the muscles and can help physicians diagnose any potential problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission, nerve dysfunction, and/or muscle dysfunction.  

Why Should I Get an Electromyography?

EMG tests can be used to diagnose conditions like muscle disorders, disorders of the nerves, and conditions that affect the nerve root, motor neurons, and/or connections between the nerves and muscles.

Common symptoms that may indicate a muscle or nerve disorder can include:

  • Pain or cramping in the muscles
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Some forms of limb pain

How is EMG Testing Performed?

This diagnostic procedure is formed by placing surface electrodes or inserting needle electrodes in various locations on your body. You may experience a mild twinge or spasm as the electrode delivers an electrical current to the designated area. You may be asked to contract your muscles during the procedure so the physician can monitor the electrical activity generated in your muscles during movement and at rest.

Where Will the Test be Performed?

If you have been given a prescription for an EMG/NCS test, please schedule your appointment at your earliest convenience. We recommend you return for a follow-up visit to Dr. Arora’s office at least one week after your EMG test to allow enough time for us to obtain the results. We recommend you confirm that we have received the results in our office before you return for your follow-up visit.

Dr. Arora works closely with a few select practices in the areas around each office to co-ordinate EMG testing.

Recommendations will be given at the time of your appointment.

Contact our doctor’s office in West Bloomfield, Howell, St. Clair Shores, or Macomb today for further information or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Categories
Fingers General

Snap, Crackle, Pop: The Truth About Knuckle Cracking Your Parents Didn’t Want You to Know

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Straight to the point: Knuckle cracking is probably not as bad as they say, and that’s the general consensus among researchers as of today.

Yes, other people might still cringe and yell, “Stop doing that!” But the habit is probably not as detrimental to your joints and fingers as others would have you think. The rumors of the dangers of knuckle cracking are greatly exaggerated.

The possibilities that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis and that it causes your joints to swell are most likely false myths, but there may be some truth to them. More research is needed, but as far as researchers have found at the present time, cracking your knuckles doesn’t signal the end of the world.

What Happens When You Crack Your Knuckles

To start with, many people may wonder: “Well, why do our knuckles crack anyway? What makes us feel the need to pop the joints?”

Basically, when you pop your knuckles, you’re popping a gas bubble. It’s similar to the sound of popping a balloon or bubble wrap.

When you stretch your joints, you release gas, and that gas forms a bubble in the lubricating synovial fluid between your joints. That bubble can then pop and collapse, either on its own or when you pop your joint intentionally.

That’s why you typically can’t crack a knuckle more than once. It takes about 20 minutes for that gas to return and form a bubble. (Bet you didn’t know that little fact, huh? We virtually saw the light go off in your head just now.)

In addition to causing arthritis, another myth is that knuckle cracking makes your knuckles larger. You know the one: “Don’t crack your knuckles, or you’ll never be able to wear a ring!” That hasn’t been found to be true either.

The Other Kind of Popping

The sound you hear when you intentionally crack your knuckles due to that bubble of gas is different than the popping you occasionally hear when you stand up from a seated position or crouch down to pick something up off the ground.

That popping, typically in your knees, ankles, or hips, may be the sound of tendons sliding between muscle or over the bones. That kind of sound could be related to osteoarthritis, which occurs when the lubrication between your joints begins to wear away, but it may happen in perfectly healthy joints as well.

Want to Hear More?

Bottom line: Although constantly cracking and popping your knuckles can annoy those around you, doing so is not that bad, and it has not been proven to lead to arthritis or create huge knuckles.

In fact, a Nobel-prize winning researcher, Donald Unger, made himself the subject of a case study in this regard. He popped the knuckles on one hand for 60 years, but not the other. In the end, he didn’t have any more arthritis in one hand than the other.

If your joints ache when they pop or you are concerned about your condition, however, you may wish to make an appointment to see Dr. Arora in West Bloomfield, Macomb, St. Clair Shores, or Howell for an examination.

As for why you’re constantly cracking your knuckles as a nervous habit, well that’s a different discussion for another day.

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General Treatments Wrists

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?

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Between 3 percent and 6 percent of the adult population has carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), making it undoubtedly the most common nerve disorder today. How carpal tunnel syndrome is treated depends on a variety of factors, such as the intensity of the condition. Fortunately, treatment can be very effective in reducing the pain, numbness, and tingling associated with CTS.

CTS occurs when there is pressure or swelling in the carpal tunnel, which is a space in your wrist where nine tendons and the median nerve pass from the arm into the hand. The condition is usually associated with repetitive use of the wrists, such as regularly using a keyboard or hand tools, but research indicates that it is likely related to a genetic predisposition as well.

How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Treated

Methods of treating carpal tunnel syndrome or reducing its effects range from self-care to surgical procedures in more serious cases. Following are several common solutions.

Oral Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, may help relieve pain and reduce swelling. Brand names of such medications available over-the-counter or in prescription form include:

  • Advil and Motrin (ibuprofen)
  • Aleve (naproxen sodium)
  • Mobic (meloxicam)

The use of anti-inflammatory medications to treat carpal tunnel syndrome may be especially ideal if the patient has arthritis symptoms as well.

Some doctors may prescribe a short course of oral steroids as well to reduce swelling. Such medications include prednisone or methylprednisone.

Discuss side effects of medication use with Dr. Arora or your primary care physician.

One way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is through the use of anti-inflammatory medications.
Anti-inflammatory medications may reduce swelling in the carpal tunnel.

Steroid Injections

A more effective way to use steroids to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is to inject it into the carpal tunnel. Doing so may help decrease inflammation and swelling, thereby reducing pressure on the median nerve.

Protect Your Wrists

A key to reducing CTS pain is to keep your wrists relatively straight, which is somewhat possible during the day but not so much at night. For that reason, some doctors may prescribe wrist braces that you can wear while you sleep.

To prevent pain, you should also wear a brace if possible when participating in games and sports that strain your wrists, such as bowling.

If your job requires repetitive use of the wrists – such as in manufacturing, construction, or the auto repair fields – wear protective gear if possible to keep them stable.

Self-Care

Self-care is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent flareups. Take an active role in your CTS treatment plan with the following measures whenever and wherever possible:

  • Use ergonomically designed furniture and computer equipment.
  • Use proper posture when typing.
  • Sleep with your wrists straight, even if you’re not wearing a brace.
  • Take frequent breaks at work or when participating in hobbies.

Gently stretch your arms, flex your wrists, and wiggle your fingers regularly to reduce tension and increase blood flow. Dr. Arora can provide you with more specific at-home exercise tips that may reduce CTS symptoms.

Repetitive use of the wrists can be painful. Ergonomically designed furniture and equipment may help reduce carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Repetitive use of the wrists can be painful. Ergonomically designed furniture and equipment may help reduce carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

Wrist Surgery

In cases where pain is not alleviated with the above treatments, surgeries can be helpful. The two most common surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome are known as open carpal tunnel release and endoscopic carpal tunnel release, both of which can be handled on an outpatient basis.

  • Open carpal tunnel release surgery: In very simple terms, the surgeon makes a 1-inch incision on the wrist and then divides the carpal ligament to enlarge the carpal tunnel.
  • Endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery: This is an alternate option with a similar goal. The surgeon typically makes two half-inch incisions, one on the wrist and one on the palm. A camera attached to a narrow tube is inserted into one incision, and the camera guides the doctor as he uses instruments to cut the carpal ligament through the other incision.
  • Laser carpal tunnel surgery: People often ask, but sorry to say, there is no such thing!

Get It Checked Out

How carpal tunnel syndrome is treated depends on the effectiveness of prior treatments, the extent of the condition, your ability to follow other remedies, and more. It’s also possible that your wrist pain is not CTS at all, but a different condition altogether.

The first step is to schedule an appointment to see Dr. Arora in West Bloomfield, Howell, St. Clair Shores, or Macomb for an evaluation of your condition. If it is carpal tunnel syndrome, we will work with you to find a solution you’re comfortable with. Call us for more information.

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Stories

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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.