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Common hand conditions and injuries

Diagnosis of common hand conditions and injuries

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your hand, your doctor will begin by taking a thorough medical history.

If your pain came on suddenly, your doctor will likely want to know when it started and if there was an event that triggered it. For all pain, your doctor will ask what makes it better or worse and how it has impacted your everyday life. Your doctor will then conduct a physical exam where they look at your hands and evaluate how they move, as well as compare them to each other.

Your doctor may order additional imaging tests, such as x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, to obtain a clearer picture of your hand or rule out other conditions. For nerve conditions such as carpal tunnel, your doctor may also use nerve conduction studies or electromyography to measure electrical impulses and muscle contractions.


At Dignity Health, our commitment to your well-being extends to everything we do. The latest therapies, most advanced treatments, and minimally invasive procedures are available at our hospitals and outpatient care centers.

The treatments we offer for hand conditions and injuries include:

  • Arthritis management
  • Carpal tunnel release
  • Hand surgery for arthritis
  • Hand surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hand surgery for ganglion cysts
  • Hand surgery for tendon problems
  • Physical therapy
  • Wrist surgery for fractures and breaks

You will work with your care team to determine the best course of action for your specific diagnosis. You may benefit from multiple treatments such as surgery and physical therapy, and your doctors will work together to ensure you are getting the care you need.

Often, a simple at-home treatment will be sufficient. Rest, ice, and rehabilitative exercises can solve a variety of hand conditions.


When preparing to see your doctor, make a list of your symptoms, your medical history, and questions you have for your doctor before your appointment. You may want to know the cause of your pain, if you need any tests, if you’ll need to limit your activities, and if there are any other places you can turn to for information.

If you are a candidate for surgery, your care team will provide you with a list of things to keep in mind before surgery, and instructions to follow. These instructions will generally include not eating or drinking for 12 hours before your procedure and having another person available to drop you off and pick you up from your surgery center.


Recovery time and prognosis will vary based on your condition. In general, patients have good luck in alleviating their pain by making simple lifestyle changes and taking a break from the activities that cause pain. This could include re-imagining your work set-up so that it is more ergonomic, or it could be as simple as resting and icing a sports injury at home.

If you need a more serious intervention like surgery, it is essential to follow your doctor’s instructions for the best outcome. This means taking the necessary time to rest and recover, fully participating in any physical therapy or rehabilitative treatments your care team prescribes, and waiting to return to normal activities until your doctor confirms it is okay and will not harm your hand.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.