What causes hand pain?
Diseases like diabetes, arthritis, thyroid disease or injury from trauma and overuse can affect bones, muscles, joints, ligaments or tendons and cause hand pain.
What are the common causes of hand pain?
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) – CTS is entrapment of a nerve in the wrist that interferes with function numbness and causes weakness, tingling and numbness and pain that radiates up the arm. Symptoms often worsen over time. Untreated it can lead to permanent dysfunction. CTS accounts for 50% of all work-related injuries. When diagnosed and treated early conservatively may relieve symptoms, but it is often ineffective. Surgery to release the trapped nerve is effective when symptoms are severe.
- Osteoarthritis (OA) – OA is a degenerative joint disease that causes articular cartilage to deteriorate. It affects any of the finger joints (the knuckles), the wrist and the base of the thumb and is the most frequent cause of hand and wrist pain. Symptoms include morning pain, swollen joints, stiffness, and deformity.
- Trigger finger – Trigger finger is a condition where one finger becomes stuck in a bend position due to inflammation of the tendons in that finger, because of tendon degeneration (tendonitis). Conditions like diabetes and arthritis increase the risk of trigger finger. It often affects the thumb and ring finger but can affect other fingers. It is caused by repetitive strain and strenuous activities involving the fingers and thumb. Trigger finger affects hand and finger movements and causes pain and swelling in the palm of the hand. It may be the result of an injury or repetitive use. Sometimes the tendon develops nodules or hard lumps that make the fingers stick together unable to move. It is often treated with conservative measures but when that fails to relieve pain and stiffness, surgery often provides relief from symptoms.
- Ligament injury – There are many ligaments in the hand that allow us to perform the most delicate movements and lift the heaviest objects. Any trauma can injure a ligament making it difficult to bend the fingers, grip an object or pinch. Ligament injuries can take months to heal.
- De Quervain’s tendinitis – De Quervain’s is swelling and inflammation of the thumb tendons that causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist and forearm when grasping and twisting hand and thumb motions, like holding a pen, or lifting small children in front of you with your thumbs pointing up can cause pain and tenderness. The cause is not known but may be due to overuse. It affects people of all ages but is most common in women in their 40s and 50s. Treatment with a splint to stop thumb and wrist motion and ibuprofen may be recommended. Steroids injections into the tendon may provide relief. Surgery to release the tendon can help relieve symptoms and restore function.
- Hand fractures – A fracture may break one or more bones in the hand including the small bones in the fingers and long bones in the palms. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, deformity, and difficulty moving the finger. A fracture can occur from a fall, a crush injury, a twisting injury and during sports. A fracture usually requires some treatment. It may require a splinting or casting when the bones are in alignment. When the bones are out of alignment, your OANC surgeon may be able to restore alignment or surgery will be needed to restore alignment.
When you injure your hand, or your hand hurts it is important to have a hand specialist examine the hand, find the cause and treat your pain, contact the Center for Orthopedic Specialists with offices in Mission Hills, Tarzana, West Hills and Westlake Village for your convenience.