Hand pain: Causes, Home Remedies, and Treatments
A human hand is a delicate and complex body part comprising nerves, bones, ligaments, skin, tendons, muscles, and joints. This allows precise and strong movements, from simple manipulation to heavy lifting. Such a complicated structure is vulnerable to injuries and can lead to severe hand pain.
If you have ever experienced pain in your hands, you know how miserable it can be. Constant stiffness can sap the strength to perform even basic routine tasks. There can be many reasons for this excruciating pain- an accident, medical condition, or an old injury. The good news is that it can be treated and cured with exercise, medication, or self-care, depending on the cause of the pain.
Most Common Causes of Hand Pain and Their Treatments
Arthritis is the primary source of hand pain, especially osteoarthritis, a part of the ageing process. It causes the loss of cartilage in joints, leading to painful and debilitating swelling. Although people over 60 years of age have signs of osteoarthritis, some people develop it earlier.
- Inflammation and burning pain in joints
- Joint stiffness
- Cracking or grinding in joints
- Misaligned joints
- Swelling around joints
- Painkillers or treatment
- Splints for fingers, wrist, or joints
- Surgery or therapy
- Steroid injections with long-lasting effect
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a narrow space made of bone and connective tissue at the base of a hand. It contains the median nerve, which enables sensation and movement. When compressed, it can cause chronic hand pain, reduce function, and even lead to a nerve disorder called carpal tunnel syndrome. It can be due to inflammation, irritated tendons, or any condition that causes swelling.
- Pain, tingling
- Reduced grip strength
- Numbness or stiffness
- Not feeling hot/cold
- Physical therapy/ Acupuncture
- Steroid injections
- Proper rest
You experience Raynaud’s Phenomenon or Raynaud’s Syndrome when your hand is exposed to cold temperatures. It is caused due to over-responsive blood vessels or a symptom of other health conditions. Your fingers turn blue/white when they are cold and bright red when you warm them up.
- Cold fingers
- Fingers can change colour to red, white, or blue
- Numbness, tingling, prickly, and throbbing, feeling
- In severe cases, sores, ulcers, and tissue damage
- No hand pain treatment for mild conditions (Primary Raynaud’s)
- Secondary Raynaud requires surgery
- Attention to tissue damage
- Warm-up fingers using gloves or heaters
Also called stenosing tenosynovitis, Trigger Finger is a painful condition that affects how your thumb or fingers move. It develops when flexor tendons, responsible for the finger and thumb movements, cause inflammation and irritation around the area. This puts pressure on the surrounding nerves, preventing smooth finger movements. Once the tendon is released, you feel a snapping sensation.
- A popping feeling when you straighten or bend fingers
- Fingers stuck in a bent position
- Severe pain at the base of a finger/thumb
- Inability to straighten fingers/thumb
- Medication, injection
A traumatic injury or poorly healed fracture is one of the main causes of hand pain. You have 27 bones in each hand connected through an elaborate network to enable smooth movement and stabilise joints. Any accident or injury can break these bones in different ways. Hence, changing the structure, restricting the movements, and affecting the dexterity of your hand.
- Inability to move hand
- Splints or casts
- Surgery (Can vary based on the type and location of the fracture)
Home Remedies for Hand Pain
- Copper Compression Gloves – Copper-infused fabric of compression gloves warms up the affected areas of your hand, improving blood circulation and oxidation in sore muscles. This reduces pain, swelling, inflammation, and stiffness. With proper support, you can accelerate recovery.
- Rest – Take proper rest and avoid frequent movements of the affected area.
- Ice and Heat – Alter between ice to reduce inflammation or pain and a hot compress for stiff joints and achy muscles several times a day.
- Massage – One of the most effective hands pain home remedies is massage. When done right, it can alleviate pain in no time.
- Over-the-counter Medications – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is recommended for mild conditions.
When to See a Doctor?
Some conditions need the immediate attention of a doctor. Visit a professional if an old injury gets worse or if no home remedy relieves the pain. Other cases to see a doctor are:
- Suspected broken arm
- Signs of infection
- Deformity after an injury
- Visible injury
- Excruciating pain
Note: Content has been edited for style and length.