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Dr. Manning Treats "Shoulder to Fingertips"
By Lois Thomson

"Unfortunately, patients who get one hand problem, such as carpal tunnel, are often predisposed to develop other problems such as arthritis or trigger fingers, or even rotator cuff problems.
-Christopher M. Manning

When Christopher M. Manning entered medical school, he knew he wanted to go into the field of surgery. "Surgery is very 'hands-on' and it demands an intricate knowledge of human anatomy and physiology," he said. "Results are often instantaneous. Truly, there is no more drastic way to affect a cure for an ailing patient."

And he figured he would enjoy orthopaedic surgery, "because in addition to being required to have comfort in operating on all areas of the body, from the spine to the fingers and toes, orthopaedic surgery lends itself to physicians who have a feel for engineering, biomechanics, and even carpentry."

Then, when he finished his years of orthopaedic residency at UPMC, he decided to focus on the hands. "The hand is such a complex part of the body," he said. "Surgeries of the hand are very delicate, requiring a level of comfort with treating disorders of nerves, arteries, tendons, and bones. It's very precise and rather elegant."

So Dr. Manning now focuses his practice on ailments that affect the hands and upper extremities. Common problems treated are carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger fingers, fractures and ligament tears, arthritis, tennis elbow, bicep tendon tears, and shoulder ailments such as torn rotator cuffs or arthritis.

"So basically if it's in the shoulder down to the fingertips, I take care of it."

According to Dr. Manning, the treatment for these injuries can be as simple as teaching patients what type of range of motion or strengthening exercises to do and what type of activities to avoid. Hand and upper extremity problems are often treated with different kinds of splinting, cortisone injections and therapy. Most problems can be treated well non-operatively, but surgeries are available to those who don't respond to conservative treatments.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Dr. Manning's job is when he is able to treat a patient for different problems as they may occur over time, allowing him to establish a nice relationship with his patients. He added, "Unfortunately, patients who get one hand problem, such as carpal tunnel, are often predisposed to develop other problems such as arthritis or trigger fingers, or even rotator cuff problems. I worried that a career in orthopaedics would mean that I would not really get to know patients as well as, say, a family doctor. But I found that is far from true."

Dr. Manning said he treats all ages, especially people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. "These folks are more active than ever and are working out and staying fit. I think because of that, I'm seeing many more patients with muscular-skeletal problems—things that otherwise wouldn't bother them if they hadn't been so healthy and active. It's a good problem (for them) to have."

Dr. Christopher Manning is a partner of South Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates, P.C., and practices with John S. Beachler, M.D., Robert J. Donofrio, M.D., Derrick J. Fluhme, M.D., Eric D. Nabors, M.D., and David K. Mayer, CRNP.

For more information, call south Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates at (412) 429-0880. They have offices in McMurray and Pittsburgh.

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