Thankful for helping hands close to home

Thankful for helping hands close to home

    Friday, November 3, 2023


Alicia Farus’ hands are always moving. She is either making, baking or cooking something. She loves to knit. During the holiday season, she enjoys handwriting messages in Christmas cards. A few years ago, though, she started to have issues with her right hand and arm. She has another neurological issue, so at first she attributed her symptoms to that disorder.   


An initial symptom was weakness. She started to drop things. She had to regularly stop knitting because of numbness. She couldn’t write Christmas cards. As time went by, she couldn’t lift things. If she wanted to cook pasta, a family favorite, her husband Scott had to fill the pots with water and move them to the stove. When the pasta was ready, Scott had to lift the contents and move them to a strainer. “We are a team,” Alicia said, “and I’m grateful for that, but it is difficult to become completely dependent on someone.” Eventually, Alicia had to stop almost all of the activities she loved. “The pain kept increasing,” she said. “I wasn’t sleeping.” She finally decided to move ahead with a diagnosis she was fairly certain would include surgery.  


Alicia and her husband were referred to a specialist at a hospital that required a fair amount of travel. They expected to hear that Alicia had carpal tunnel syndrome, and the specialist confirmed that.   


The best option is close to home  

Her husband was happy about a surgery he’d had at Genesis, so Alicia decided to get a second opinion from Matthew Langford, M.D., Fellowship-trained, Board-certified Orthopedic Hand Surgeon at the Genesis Orthopedic Center. Dr. Langford confirmed the carpal tunnel diagnosis but added that she also needed surgery for pronator syndrome. “Pronator syndrome makes carpal tunnel worse,” said Alicia. “That explained the absolutely excruciating pain.”   


Alicia felt extremely comfortable with Dr. Langford and listed his amazing bedside manner as one of the reasons. “He takes his time and explains everything. He told me what he was looking for and what he found. He talks to you as if you’re on the same level.” 


Dr. Langford told Alicia that he could perform both surgeries at the same time. “It sounds worse than it was,” Alicia said. “Carpal tunnel is a simple surgery, and even with the addition of the pronator surgery, it was done on an outpatient basis.” Alicia went home that day. “I had discomfort because of the surgery, of course, but the terrible pain went away as soon as the surgery was done.” 


At the time of this interview, Alicia was about eight weeks out from her surgery, still healing but well on her way to a full recovery. As she followed the recovery plan, which included physical therapy at home, Dr. Langford and his team were available to answer questions and review her progress. 


“I’m cooking and writing again, but my favorite recovered activities are pushing my granddaughter on a swing and steering her stroller when we go on walks. I highly recommend that people considering surgery for a hand or arm issue meet with the orthopedic team at Genesis first." 


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