Hand Pain

Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

December 08, 2018

March 06, 2020

Hand Pain
Hand Pain

What is hand pain?

Pain in the hand can be mild or severe and, at times, can be disabling enough to prevent a person from performing daily activities. In a majority of the cases, this pain may be an expression of a disease, and treating the underlying cause usually settles the pain.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Inflammation, injury, nerve damage, chronic health conditions (like deficiencies, hyperuricemia), sprain or fracture of any of the multiple ligaments and bones in the hand can lead to hand pain. Symptoms of hand pain vary according to the type of pathology involved and the structures affected; however, some common signs and symptoms of hand pain are:

  • Pain (throbbing, tingling, cramp-like)
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Inability or difficulty in hand movements or performing activities with the affected hand

What are its main causes?

Hand pain can be due to an affliction of the underlying structures such as the bones, joints, tendons, connective tissues or nerves. Certain common causes of hand pain include:

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Proper medical history and appropriate clinical examination can guide towards the probable diagnosis. Certain blood investigations and radiological tests can provide a confirmatory diagnosis. These investigations include:

  • Blood investigations:
    • Complete blood count (CBC) with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
    • C-reactive proteins
    • Rheumatoid arthritis factor
    • Vitamin D3 levels
    • Uric acid levels
  • X-ray of the wrist of the affected hand
  • MRI scan of the wrist of affected hand to check for entrapment of the nerve

Treatment modalities for hand pain:

The curative treatment of hand pain is dependent on the cause of the pain, yet certain medications along with physical therapy can help in reducing this pain. These treatment options include:

  • Medications – Oral analgesic (painkiller) medicines like paracetamol, aceclofenac, and ibuprofen can be used to ease the pain
  • Ice packs – The use of ice or ice packs on the hand can help ease the pain
  • Physical therapy – Appropriate physical therapy can offer good pain relief for hand pain
  • Therapeutic ultrasound can help in reducing the neurogenic or tingling pain


  1. National Health Service [Internet] NHS inform; Scottish Government; Hand pain
  2. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet.
  3. American Dental Association. [Internet]. Niagara Falls, New York, U.S.; Reducing Hand Pain.
  4. Orthoinfo [internet]. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont IL. Arthritis of the Hand.
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Wrist pain