Hand Pain

Hand pain is primarily caused by injuries and diseases affecting any of the structures found in the hand. The hand is comprised of 27 bones, various muscles and ligaments that allow movement and dexterity. The hand is composed of 14 small phalangeal bones in the fingers and five metacarpal bones in the middle part of the hand. Although the remaining eight bones are not exactly part of the bones, the eight carpal bones of the wrist perform a vital function that allows hand function. The knuckles of the hand are called the metacarpal-phalangeal (MCP) joint, whereas the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint pertains to the joint closest to the palm and the joint closest to the fingertip, respectively.

What Causes Hand Pain?

The following causes are the common caused that lead to hand pain:

  • Arthritis: joint inflammation
  • Osteoarthritis: degeneratve joint disease
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: compression of median nerve
  • Ganglion Cysts: formation of cysts in the front or back of the hand with an unknown cause
  • De Quervain’s Tendinitis: swelling of tendons in the base of thumbs
  • Tendonitis: inflammation of tendons
  • Tenosynovitis: inflammation of tendon sheath linings
  • Peripheral neuropathy: nerve disorder
  • Wrist, hand or FingerFracture: broken bones in the hand
  • Wrist, hand or Finger Dislocation: forcible bone movement from its joint
  • Repetitive motion injuries

When Should Medical Care be Sought Regarding Hand

Hand Pain

Hand Pain


If any of the following symptoms begin to show, it may be a symptom of an underlying and more serious injury or disease. Seek medical care to get proper diagnosis.

  • Obvious deformity in the hand
  • Difficulty making a fist
  • Difficult gripping objects with hands
  • Pain worsening at night
  • Pain that persists for several days
  • Loss of movement
  • Hand numbness
  • Hand weakness
  • Swollen fingers
  • Burning or tingling sensation I the fingers, especially the thumb
  • Cyanosis of the hands
  • Appearance of cysts in the hands that disables hand activities
  • Accompanied by chronic diseases, such as diabetes

How is First Aid Administered in Cases of Hand Pain?

First aid treatment for hand pain will depend on the underlying cause. Some cases are mild and can be easily managed at home. The following steps may be done to help relieve of hand pain:

  • Rest the hand from doing further activities.
  • Apply heat or ice to the affected area. For acute (or short-term) causes, apply ice wrapped in a cloth to the affected area. For chronic (long-term) causes, apply heat using hot compresses or heating pads. Do not fall asleep with the ice pack or hot compress left unattended.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may be taken to help reduce pain.
  • If pain is caused by a hand fracture or dislocation, treat accordingly.

Disclaimer: The article should not be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. To learn proper treatment of hand pain and other hand injuries, such as fractures and dislocations, enrol in First Aid Training.


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