Hand Pain can come from a variety of sources. The most common causes of pain include trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis. Trigger finger is usually associated with a painful catch or click of the fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms usually occur at night and cause a painful numbing feeling of the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. The most common places to have arthritis are at the base of the thumb and fingertips. The conditions are generally treated conservatively in the beginning with splinting and possible cortisone injections. Evaluation with a hand surgeon can help determine what is causing the pain and give advice on how to resolve the symptoms.
Arthritis at the base of the thumb is a genetic predisposition: like graying and thinning of the hair, it comes with age and it shows up earlier in some families. Patients with arthritis of the base of the thumb report pain and weakness with pinching and grasping. Most common arthritis is at the base of the thumb. Patients generally have difficulty with opening jars, turning door knobs or pinching objects. An X-Ray will usually confirm the arthritis. Treatment generally consists of rest, bracing and corticosteroid injections. Surgery is also an option for severe cases that cause significant pain and disability.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is essentially a pinched nerve in the wrist. There is a space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when swelling in this tunnel puts pressure on the nerve.
Extensor tendons are just under the skin. They lie next to the bone on the back of the hands and fingers and straighten the wrist, fingers and thumb. They can be injured by a minor cut or jamming a finger, which may cause the thin tendons to rip from their attachment to bone.
Ganglion cysts are very common lumps within the hand and wrist that occur adjacent to joints or tendons. The most common locations are the top of the wrist, the palm side of the wrist, the base of the finger on the palm side, and the top of the end joint of the finger.
The hand is made up of many bones that form its supporting framework. This frame acts as a point of attachment for the muscles that make the wrist and fingers move. A fracture occurs when enough force is applied to a bone to break it.
Trigger finger/thumb occurs when the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick and constricting around the tendon, making it hard for the tendon to move freely through the pulley. Sometimes the tendon develops a nodule (knot) or swelling of its lining.
The wrist is made up of eight small bones and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. Wrist fractures may occur in any of these bones when enough force is applied to the wrist, such as when falling down onto an outstretched hand.
The most common ligament to be injured in the wrist is the scapho-lunate ligament. It is the ligament between two of the small bones in the wrist, the scaphoid bone and the lunate bone. There are many other ligaments in the wrist, but they are less frequently injured.
Wrist tendinitis is a common issue for many patients, athletes, manual laborers and people injured in a fall. Patients can experience sharp pain, swelling and weakness. Common areas of pain include both sides of the wrist. Treatment generally consists of rest, bracing and possible corticosteroid injections.