Do you or anyone around you ever complain of hand pain? Hand pain is a common disorder which affects the quality of life of many. Hand pain can be short in duration or sometimes persistent. In most cases, the pain subsides on its own without treatment within a few weeks. However, not every hand pain can be self-treated. If you have hand pain that does not improve after weeks, you should see doctor immediately by calling us for an appointment. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to poor healing, reduced range of motion and long-term disability.
Anatomy of the hand
The hand is composed of many different bones, muscles, and ligaments that allow for a large amount of movement and dexterity. There are three major types of bones in the hand itself, including the following:
- phalanges – the 14 bones that are found in the fingers of each hand and also in the toes of each foot. Each finger has three phalanges (the distal, middle, and proximal); the thumb only has two.
- metacarpal bones – the five bones that compose the middle part of the hand.
- carpal bones – the eight bones that create the wrist. The carpal bones are connected to two bones of the arm, the ulna bone and the radius bone.
Common causes of hand pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve which runs from the forearm into the hand becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This results in pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.
Fractures of the hand can occur in either the small bones of the fingers (phalanges) or the long bones (metacarpals).
- Dequervain’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis
Dequervain’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis is a condition brought by irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb. The inflammation causes the compartment around the tendon to swell and enlarge, making thumb and wrist movement painful.
Arthritis is a problem that can cause wrist pain and difficulty performing normal activities. There are several causes of arthritis, and fortunately there are a number of treatments for wrist arthritis.
- Trigger Finger
Trigger finger is a common disorder of the hand which causes painful snapping or locking of the fingers or thumb.
- Mallet Finger
Mallet finger occurs when the outermost joint of the finger is injured. With mallet finger, the tendon on the back of the finger is separated from the muscles it connects.
- Ulna Nerve Neuritis
Ulnar nerve neuritis begins with a little bit of tingling in the little and ring fingers especially when placing the elbow on arm rests in cars or on a chair.
Proper treatment depends on the cause and severity of your hand pain. Hence an accurate diagnosis is crucial!
Not all treatments listed here are appropriate for every condition, but may be helpful in your situation
- Cold Pack: place cold pack flat in freezer for at least 30 minutes, remove cold pack from freezer and place in a towel before applying. Never apply cold therapy longer than 30 minutes at a time.
- Hot Pack: immerse hot pack in warm water for 5 to 7 mins,check the temperature of the hot pack. If it is too hot, then let it cool down first. Always apply with a wrapping towel.
- Medications – anti-inflammatory, pain reliefs
- Thumb Splint
- Anti-inflammatory injection
- Physiotherapy includes finger PIP joint mobilization, paraffin wax therapy to hand
- Surgery may required for severe cases – arthroscopic surgery, open reduction and internal fixation / close reduction for fracture case, release trigger finger
There are so many factors can lead to hand pain, diagnosing the exact cause of long-standing hand pain sometimes can be difficult. If you are unsure of the cause of your hand pain, or if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations for your condition, you should seek medical attention by calling us for an appointment. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to poor healing, reduced range of motion and long-term disability.