7 Common Causes of Hand pain

hand pain causes

Hand Pain Causes

Human hands are complex structures with different types of bones. The joints and muscles in the hand help in allowing dexterous movements, gripping, and grasping ability. However, hand joints are susceptible to injuries. There are many causes of hand pain as different conditions can contribute to hand pain. Therefore, treatment depends on the cause and it may range from making lifestyle changes, to exercise and medications.

Hand pain causes

Hand pain reasons: Hand pain can begin in different parts of the complex structure such as nerves, tendons, connective tissues, joints, and bones. Among the several known causes of hand pain, these are the common ones: fractures and strains, repetitive hand movement-related injuries, nerve damage, inflammation, and many other chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and others.

Some of the common hand pain causes include:

Peripheral neuropathy: It is associated with pain, weakness, and numbness in the hands. The causes include infections, metabolic problems, diabetes, and traumatic injuries.

Common symptoms include burning, freezing, throbbing, and sharp pain in the hands and feet; tingling sensation in hands and feet, extreme sensitivity in hands, and weakness.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The median nerve runs through a tunnel-like passage of bone and ligament located at the base of the hand. Tendons responsible for moving your fingers also pass through this passageway. Squeezing of this median nerve due to a narrowing carpel tunnel can cause this condition. It happens when there is inflammation or irritation of tendons that causes swelling in the area.

The symptoms include frequent numbness, tingling, itching, and burning sensation in the palm of the hand and fingers. You will feel pain in the index and middle finger and around the thumb.

The other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include reduced grip strength; stiffness and pain in the hand or wrist in the morning; pain during the night; difficulty feeling hot and cold sensations; difficulty in performing certain tasks and trouble grasping small objects.

Some of the common treatments for this condition include using ice and cold packs; avoiding certain activities; using splints; taking OTCs, stretching, and exercises; taking oral steroids or injections; and, in severe cases, surgery remains the best treatment option.


Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints. There are different types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common.

Osteoarthritis is a progressively deteriorating bone and joint condition that mostly affects older adults. The cartilage that covers the ends of bones is damaged due to wear and tear. When this happens the symptoms gradually manifest.

In rheumatoid arthritis, stiffness and joint inflammation leading to pain. It affects many joints of the body, but most commonly the joints of the hand and feet are affected.

Symptoms of arthritis include swelling around joints, morning stiffness and pain in the joints; pain due to overuse of joints; repetitive motion, burning pain or dull pain in the joints of wrist and fingers; small cysts on the end of fingers; overextensions (changes in joints); grating, grinding or looseness sensations around finger joints.

Treatment includes medication to relieve pain and swelling; use of splints during the time of overuse; physical or occupational therapy; use of long-lasting anesthetics or steroids.


It is an autoimmune disorder. The initial signs include joint pain, stiffness, and progressive inflammation. The other symptoms include fatigue, muscle pain, hair loss, an unexplained fever, swelling around the eyes or legs, and pale or purple fingers or toes.

Treatment can help manage the condition. It includes pain-relieving medications, the use of a warm or cold compress, physical therapy; avoiding painful activities, and resting painful joints.


It is an extremely painful joint condition and a complex type of arthritis. Most commonly it affects the joint at the base of the big toe, but it can also occur in the hands and wrists as well. The pain becomes unbearable and wakes you up at the night. In severe bouts of attacks, you will experience burning pain, redness, and tenderness. There are medicines to treat this condition.

Ganglion cysts

They look like a lump or mass coming out of the back of the wrist. They look unsightly but are not painful. They vary in size and change in size. When they become large, they can put pressure on the nerves and cause numbness, tingling, and pain in and around the hand or wrist.

These cysts usually don’t do any harm as they can go away with time. Using splints and taking rest can reduce their size. However, if they become large and cause pain, your orthopedic doctor will remove them.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

In this condition, tendons around the base of the thumb swell and cause inflammation. You will experience pain, numbness, and swelling around the base of the thumb due to the build-up of pressure on the nerves.

Symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis include swelling near the base of the thumb, pain around the thumb-side of the wrist; trouble making a pinching motion or grasping something.

The treatment for this condition may include the application of cold or ice packs; splinting; avoiding pinching motions and painful tasks; taking OTCs; occupational or physical therapy; use of steroid injection and in severe cases, surgery.

Bottom Line

In addition to these, there are many more hand pain causes, if you have any of the above symptoms related to your hand and wrist, don’t delay in seeking medical help. Consult Dr. Praharsha Mulpur for a comprehensive diagnosis and effective treatment of your hand pain.