Hand pain


Overview of hand pain

Hand pain refers to any discomfort in the tissues or joints of the hand or fingers. The pain can range from being mild and bothersome to severe and quite debilitating. Throbbing, aching, tingling, or soreness are other symptoms that might accompany your hand pain. It can also feel like burning or prickling sensations — some people describe it as a pins-and-needles feeling.

Because we do so many different things with our hands every day, they are especially susceptible to injury and overuse. Hand pain is very common, and typically treatable with either at-home care or medical attention. 

If you are experiencing hand pain, the qualified, caring doctors at Dignity Health can provide the care you need to start feeling better. Find a Doctor to schedule an appointment at a location near you.

Symptoms

There are many potential causes of hand pain. The information you give your Dignity Health doctor can help them make the right diagnosis. Let your doctor know which activities aggravate the pain and which tend to make it feel better. Mention any other symptoms that you have with your hand pain, including: 

  • Arm or wrist pain
  • Bruising
  • Decreased grip strength
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty performing fine motor movements such as writing or typing
  • Joint stiffness, including when the stiffness seems to be worse and what helps loosen the joint
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth and redness

Causes 

A variety of conditions can cause hand pain, finger pain, and joint pain, including: 

  • Arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis
  • Autoimmune disorders, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Animal or insect bites and stings
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Frostbite
  • Infections
  • Injuries, including lacerations, sprains, strains, fractures, and dislocations
  • Neurological conditions, including peripheral neuropathy
  • Raynaud's disease and other vascular conditions 

Risk factors 

Many conditions can cause hand and finger pain; risk factors vary based on the cause of your condition.

Arthritis, the most common cause of chronic hand pain, can be from age-related degeneration related to repetitive motions like typing and fine motor work, or associated with an autoimmune condition. It can also be caused by a previous injury such as a broken bone. Having a family history of arthritis also makes it more likely that you will develop it. 

Hand trauma is typically caused by an accidental injury such as a fall.

Being overweight increases the risk of developing several conditions, including arthritis.

Prevention

Preventing hand pain involves limiting your risk factors. For example, wearing protective or warm equipment where applicable during sports or outdoor activities, making sure you're using proper form, and setting up your workspace for better ergonomics can all help you avoid injuring your hands. 

Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet may also reduce your risk of arthritis.

If you do experience hand pain, you can avoid making an existing overuse injury worse by not "pushing through" and continuing in the activity that caused the pain.

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