Hand and Upper Extremity

We deliver exceptional pediatric care for peripheral nerve injuries, cleft hands, fused fingers and sports injuries

Pediatric hand and upper extremity services at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital are among the nation’s best. We deliver exceptional care for congenital (present at birth) anomalies and injuries affecting fingers, hands, forearms, elbows and shoulders. 

Our pediatric hand specialists have decades of experience and deliver age-appropriate care for infants, children and adolescents. Families put their trust in us because we successfully treat the most complex conditions. 


Learn more about our pediatric orthopedic services


Nonsurgical Hand and Upper Extremity Treatments

We treat many hand and upper extremity conditions without surgery. Care may include braces that hold limbs in a specific position to promote healing. We offer a variety of options, including image-guided injections to relieve nagging pain and unusually tight muscles. 

Offerings also include the services of our pediatrics-trained hand therapists. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is one of the only places in South Florida where this is available. Therapists guide your child through exercises that decrease pain and optimize natural movement. They also make custom splints that fit the unique features of your child’s hand, wrist or arm. 

Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery

Surgery may be necessary for advanced sports injuries, congenital anomalies and other complex orthopedic conditions. Some procedures involve two pediatric hand specialists — something you’ll only find at a comprehensive upper extremity program like ours.

We deliver sophisticated therapies, like brachial plexus surgery, that optimize function and enable children to achieve treatment goals. Our team also excels in standard procedures such as setting broken bones and repairing tendon injuries. And we help more athletes return to the field with offerings that include Tommy John surgery for severe throwing injuries.

Upper Extremity Conditions We Treat

Pediatric hand specialists treat a broad range of conditions affecting the upper extremities, including:

Congenital Anomalies
  • Arthrogryposis: Joint stiffness and muscle weakness in the upper extremities and other body areas
  • Cleft hand: Missing finger parts that cause the hand to take on a V shape with a wide gap between fingers
  • Nursemaids elbow: Forceful tugging of the arm that causes elbow dislocation
  • Polydactyly: Hand with more than five fingers
  • Syndactyly: Two or more fused fingers 
  • Thumb hypoplasia or aplasia: Unusually small or missing thumb that may also be lacking muscle tissue or bones
Neurologic Conditions
  • Brachial plexus injuries: Damage that often occurs during childbirth and affects nerves supplying the upper extremities
  • Cerebral palsy: Stiffness (spasticity) interfering with the upper limbs’ natural range of motion
  • Peripheral nerve injuries: Abnormal stretching or compression affecting nerve function
  • Transverse myelitis: Spinal cord inflammation and damage to special cells (myelin) that interrupt the spinal cord’s ability to communicate with the body
Sports Injuries and Other Upper Limb Trauma
  • Bicep tendonitis: Inflammation in a tendon of the upper bicep that often occurs with shoulder problems
  • Fracture: Broken bone, which can affect bone development if it occurs near a growth plate 
  • Gamekeeper’s thumb: Partial or complete tear affecting a band of tissue near the base of the thumb (ulnar collateral ligament)
  • Osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow (Little League elbow): Tendon injuries in athletes who throw frequently
  • Shoulder instability: Damage to the tissue that anchors the shoulder bones, causing the joint to feel loose and pop out of place

Upper Extremity Services at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital: Why Choose Us?

Your child receives services from board-certified pediatric orthopedic surgeons who completed advanced training through fellowships. All our doctors specialize in hand and upper extremity problems, giving your child access to the best available care. We combine expertise with the latest research-based methods to help children achieve outstanding outcomes. Meet the team.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Coordination: Our team approach ensures seamless care, reflecting the recommendations of multiple specialists. Orthopedists collaborate with radiologists, hand therapists, neurosurgeons and prosthetists (who make artificial limbs). The team communicates regularly, making it easier to tailor therapies to your child’s needs.
  • Brachial plexus injury care: Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital offers uncommon expertise in injuries affecting the block of nerves supplying the upper extremities. We start caring for many patients shortly after birth, making it easier to deliver timely treatments. Find out more about brachial plexus injury care. 
  • Sports medicine: Injuries affecting hands and upper extremities are common, but they don’t have to keep your child on the sidelines. Our team treats young collegiate, Olympic and professional athletes at the highest levels of sport. So, you can count on us for treatments that provide lasting relief. Read more about [U18] Sports Medicine.

Learn more about our pediatric orthopedic services