Why do the hands hurt and what to do about it

Why do the hands hurt and what to do about it

Why do the hands hurt and what to do about it

June 28, 2021

Educational program Health

The main advice is don’t be patient.
Photo by Ekaterina Komissarova

Ekaterina Komissarova

Lifehacker medical journalist

Why do the hands hurt and what to do about it


Very often, pain in the hand occurs due to injury. Perhaps you were in a hurry, running out of the house, and accidentally hit your hand on the doorway. Or they mishandled a pass while playing volleyball on the beach. Or maybe they landed unsuccessfully on the palm or fist when falling.

Minor injuries are usually harmless, but if it is something more serious, you will probably recognize it by the characteristic symptoms.

When to see a doctor immediately

Here signsin which you need to urgently go to the nearest emergency room or emergency room:

  • Strong pain. It becomes almost unbearable if you try to make a fist or twist your hand.
  • Restriction of mobility. It’s hard for you or you can’t move all your fingers or just your thumb at all.
  • Increased hand sensitivity. It hurts to even touch it.
  • Strong swelling.
  • Noticeable subcutaneous hematoma.
  • Numbness in the whole hand or only in the fingers.
  • Change colors skin: the brush turned blue or whitened.
  • Explicit deformity of any of the bones of the hand. For example, an unnaturally curved finger.

Any of these symptoms, if it occurs after an injury, indicates a possible dislocation or fracture. You can’t do without the help of a trauma surgeon.

But if there was definitely no mechanical damage, but there is pain in the hand, it makes sense to analyze other possible factors.

Why do my hands hurt

British National Health Service highlights top five causes of arm pain. And he tells you on what grounds you can suspect each.

1. Tunnel Syndrome

It’s also carpal tunnel syndrome. channel. These terms refer to a situation where the median nerve, which is responsible for the movement and sensitivity of the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers, is pinched between the bones and tendons of the carpal muscles.

There are dozens of different reasons for pinching. Risk factors can be too active work with the brush (for example, if you drilled something for half a day or performed the same hand movements), pregnancy, diabetes and other diseases, including some that are not related, at first glance, to muscles or bones.

How to recognize

  • Aching pain that is worse at night.
  • Feeling of weakness in the thumb.
  • Problems with grasping and holding heavy objects: a cup, a book.
  • Numbness or tingling in the hand.

2. Arthritis

Arthritis, that is, inflammation of the joints, is one of the factors that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. But in itself, this condition leads to acute pain in the joints, including the joints of the hand.

There are dozens of types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, secondary arthritis, and gout. Hit on the hands – almost literally – any of them can.

How to recognize

  • Pain, swelling, stiffness of movements that last for days.
  • Inability to move fingers or serious difficulty with this.
  • Thickening (bumps) around the affected joints.

3. Trigger finger syndrome

The syndrome is also known by other names: stenosing ligamentitis, tendonitis, tendosynovitis or tendovaginitis finger flexors. This condition is caused by inflammation of the tendons in the hand.

How to recognize

  • Pain or tenderness in the hand at the base of the fingers.
  • Stiffness, problems with the movements of the phalanges.
  • Clicks when trying to straighten the injured finger.

4. Peripheral neuropathy

peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerve endings in the legs or arms are damaged – including in the hand. A common reason for this is diabetes: the peripheral nerves are disrupted due to the regular increase in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). But other factors can play a role in the development of pathology. For example, certain viral infections, side effects from various medications, or alcohol abuse.

How to recognize

  • Sharp or burning pain in the hand.
  • Tingling or numbness in the palm or fingers.
  • Increased sensitivity to touch or heat.

5. Erythromelalgia

It’s called rare syndrome, in which small arteries regularly and strongly expand – most often in the upper limbs. Unpleasant sensations can last from several minutes to several days.

How to recognize

  • Sudden severe itching in the palms, in which the discomfort increases to the point of pain.
  • Edema in the hands.
  • Redness of the skin and feeling of heat in the palms.

What to do if your hands hurt

First try to deal with the pain homemade methods. It often works.

  • Give your hand a rest. Try not to load the brush for at least a day or two.
  • Use a cold compress. Wrap an ice pack or frozen vegetables in a tissue paper and apply to your hand for 20 minutes. If necessary, repeat this procedure every 2-3 hours.
  • Try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. For example, based on paracetamol.
  • If the brush is swollen, try to remove tight jewelry from it. Or change clothes: too narrow cuffs on a shirt or dress, a tight sleeve of a T-shirt can overtighten your arm.
  • Try wrapping your brush in an elastic bandage.

But keep an eye on your well-being and do not tolerate discomfort for too long.

If pain in…






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