Hand Pain - Understanding Why It Hurts

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Hand pain is a common problem, and it happens for a lot of reasons. It can be from an accident or a medical condition. Fortunately, it can be treated as long as the symptoms ease up. 

The Most Common Causes Of Hand Pain

  • De Quervain's Tendinitis

De Quervain’s Tendinitis

This condition causes pain in the thumb. It may develop slowly, but it can start suddenly. The pain can travel from the thumb to your forearm and result from inflammation or irritation of the wrist tendons found on the base of your thumb. You can get such a condition if you perform repetitive activities. The usual treatment is to splint and rest wrist and thumb, cortisone shots, and use of anti-inflammatory medications.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

It is the most common nerve problem on the hand. It can cause pain on your wrist, forearm, and fingers, or palm. It may also cause numbness, tingling, and weakness to the patient. Usually, you will feel pain in your index, middle, and thumb fingers. That's why it will be hard for you to grip objects with this condition. The proper treatment you need is to rest your hand and wrist for a while, taking analgesic painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, wrist splints, steroid shots, and physical therapy. Your physician may suggest surgery if needed.

  • Fractures

hand fractures

It is sometimes referred to as a "break-in a bone" and can give you great hand pain when not treated. Aside from pain, any fractures may cause stiffness, swelling, and loss of movement. The treatment will depend on the periods of the break. Splints or casts are usually utilized for simple fracture breaks. Surgery might be needed, depending on the recommendation from your physician.

  • Arthritis

One of the leading sources of hand pain is Arthritis. It leads to cartilage losing its joints and letting them move against each other. When the cartilage deteriorates, it becomes painful, swelling, and debilitating.

When Arthritis, specifically its common form called Osteoarthritis, occurs, you will experience pain, stiffness, and swelling at the middle or end joints of fingers and the base of your thumb. It leads to a weaker hand, giving you difficulty in doing your everyday activities. Treatment for Arthritis includes splints for the wrist and fingers, heat, physical therapy, and taking analgesic or anti-inflammatory painkillers.

  • Trigger Finger

Trigger Finger

Doctors refer to it as Stenosing Tenosynovitis. It causes the thumb or fingers to lock in and remains in a bent position. Yes, it can be very painful, especially when you straighten or bend the affected thumb or finger.

  • Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts


Ganglion cysts mostly found on the hand and wrist are not that painful, but it causes the patient to be uncomfortable. Mostly, they appear as a large lump or mass visible at the back area of the wrist. They can appear in different sizes under the wrist, the base of the finger, or the end joint of the finger.

The cysts is composed of a fluid and may quickly appear, change the size, or disappear. If it becomes vast enough to pressure the surrounding nerves, a person will experience pain, numbness, or tingling around the hand or wrist.

Sometimes, it can go without using any treatment. But splinting and rest can lessen its size and may go away in no time. If the cysts cause you pain, the doctor will recommend to drain the fluid from it or entirely remove it.

  • Gout

Gout in Hands

It is a complex form of arthritis and can give a person an extreme kind of pain. People with this condition experience severe, sudden attacks of pain in their joints, mainly at the base of their big toe. But, it can exist anywhere in the hands, wrists, feet, and knees.

If you have this condition in your wrists or hands, you will experience intense pain, redness, tenderness, and burning. Often, gout wakes people at night when the pain attacks. You will feel that your hand is on fire. The weight of your bedsheet can feel intolerable.

There are many medications available in treating painful gout attacks. It includes colchicine and NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. Other medicines help in preventing future gout attacks and complications and may use alternative and traditional treatments.

  • Lupus

This condition is an autoimmune disease. It means that when the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in your body and puts damage to the healthy tissue, it will cause unbearable pain. Stiffness and joint pain are often the first symptoms of lupus.

When it flares up, there will be inflammation throughout the patient's body. The inflammation causes the thin lining around the joints to thicken, which leads to swelling and pain in the wrists, hands, and feet.

  • Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy

It is a condition that causes pain, weakness, and numbness in your feet and hands. Peripheral neuropathy in the hands exists when the peripheral nerves have been damaged.

Several things cause damage to the peripheral nerves, including infections, diabetes, metabolic problems, and traumatic injuries.

The peripheral neurotherapy may affect one nerve or more throughout the entire body. Your wrists and hands have different kinds of nerves, which include the motor nerves that control the movement of muscles and sensory nerves that help you feel things like temperature, touch, and pain.

General Tips For Relief

hand relief

There are few helpful strategies that you can consider to relieve hand pain. Below are some of them.

  • Heat and cold application. You can make use of a cold compress for swelling and a hot compress for stiffness.
  • Over-the-counter analgesics or pain medication. It can give short-term or occasional relief. But before taking any drugs, check with your doctor first about it and the possible longer-term solutions. And buy one from registered pharmacies only.
  • Utilize a splint to ensure stable joints and prevent further injuries. 

When To See A Doctor

When To See A Doctor

As discussed here, there are several causes of hand pain. You will only know about it if you try to see a doctor, especially if the pain becomes unbearable and suddenly worsens.

Other hand pain issues may develop gradually. It would be best to discuss it with your healthcare provider if the worsening pain has caused you trouble and bothers you all the time. In case of a traumatic injury, a critical care center can help you.



Rest as much as you can. Yes, wearing a splint if you experience all these hand pain and conditions may fix the problem. But ensure that you will not experience any of these. Make sure to rest because overdoing it and too much use of it may put you in great pain. 


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DISCLAIMER: This site does not constitute a doctor patient relationship, and is not to be confused with medical advice. All injuries are unique, and the doctor must examine the patient before recommendations can be made.
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