Typing, tying your shoelaces, and throwing a baseball are all things people tend to take for granted until hand pain strikes. Your hands are made up of complex structures, and pain can happen for many reasons, from injury to overuse. When dealing with hand pain, there’s no substitute for professional evaluation and effective treatment.

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, we offer comprehensive care for hand pain, including accurate diagnosis, state-of-the-art treatments, and ongoing support throughout your recovery journey. Our experienced doctors, Dr. Matthew Bernstein and Dr. Mark Yaffe are committed to providing compassionate care and improving the lives of our patients.

What Are The Common Causes Of Hand Pain?

Here are some common causes of hand pain:

  • Arthritis: Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout can cause inflammation and pain in the joints of the hands.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Compression of the median nerve in the wrist can result in hand pain, numbness, and tingling, commonly associated with repetitive hand motions.

  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the hand, such as De Quervain's tenosynovitis or trigger finger, can cause pain and difficulty with movement.

  • Injury or Trauma: Fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, and other injuries to the hand can lead to acute or chronic pain.

  • Nerve Compression: Pinched nerves, such as ulnar nerve compression (cubital tunnel syndrome) or radial nerve compression, can cause hand pain and weakness.

  • Dupuytren's Contracture: A condition characterized by the thickening and tightening of the tissue beneath the skin of the hand, leading to pain and limited mobility.

  • Ganglion Cysts: Noncancerous lumps filled with fluid that can develop on the tendons or joints of the hand, causing pain and discomfort.

  • Raynaud's Disease: A condition that affects blood flow to the fingers, causing them to become painful, cold, and change color when exposed to cold temperatures or stress.

  • Infections: Bacterial or viral infections, such as cellulitis or paronychia, can result in hand pain, redness, swelling, and warmth.

  • Repetitive Strain Injury: Overuse or repetitive movements, such as typing or using tools, can lead to hand pain, stiffness, and muscle fatigue.

Here’s a quick guide to help you recognize the warning signs and determine when to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists about your hand pain.

Persistent Pain

Not all hand pain is chronic. Sometimes pain from carpal tunnel syndrome goes away on its own after a couple of weeks, or it may come and go intermittently. In other cases, you may have injured your hand, and the pain subsides within a few days as it heals.

However, pain lasting more than a couple of weeks is a red flag that a doctor needs to investigate. A thorough evaluation can help uncover the underlying cause so that you get on the path to pain relief.

Your Daily Life Is Impacted

Mild hand pain that doesn’t disrupt your life usually isn’t cause for concern. However, moderate-to-severe hand pain can cause significant problems in your daily life. Chronic hand pain can make life seem miserable, from trouble completing day-to-day tasks to swelling and stiffness that reduces productivity.

Hand pain can prevent you from doing things you enjoy with your hands, such as painting or knitting, and it can impact your quality of life. It’s time to see an orthopedic specialist if hand pain disrupts your livelihood.

Conservative Therapy Fails

The best place to start when you experience hand pain from conditions like carpal tunnel and osteoarthritis is with conservative therapy. This includes resting your hand, using a brace, and implementing occupational therapy exercises. Sometimes this approach is enough to ease hand pain, but in other cases, patients continue to experience daily pain.

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, we have extensive experience treating hand pain resulting from a variety of conditions. If you’ve tried conservative options without satisfactory results, our team can evaluate you and design a treatment plan to ease your pain.

You Have Coexisting Conditions

Many patients living with hand pain also have other conditions. If this is your situation, you may need an individualized treatment approach. Medications commonly used to treat inflammation and pain may interfere with the treatment of other conditions. For example, certain anti-inflammatory medications can make acid reflux worse.

Our providers can work with you, taking any existing conditions into consideration to find the best solution. Orthopedic specialists work with other healthcare team members to provide comprehensive care so that you can get relief from chronic hand pain.

Home Care For Hand Pain

When it comes to home care for hand pain, there are several natural remedies and treatments that can help alleviate discomfort. Here are some tips and techniques to consider:

  • Rest and Protection: Resting the injured hand and avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain is crucial for healing. Protect the hand from further injury by using splints or braces, if necessary.

  • Cold Therapy: Applying ice or a cold pack to the affected area for 20 minutes several times a day can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain.

  • Heat Therapy: Heat can be beneficial for relieving hand stiffness. Taking a hot shower or using warm compresses can help relax the muscles and joints.

  • Hand Exercises: Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and promote healing. Consult with a physical therapist or occupational therapist for specific exercises tailored to your condition.

  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. Follow the dosage instructions and consult with a healthcare professional if necessary.

  • Natural Remedies: Certain herbs and supplements, such as curcumin, ginger, and Boswellia, have anti-inflammatory properties and may provide relief. Discuss with a healthcare provider before starting any new herbal or supplement regimen.

  • Self-Care Techniques: Practicing self-care techniques like hand massages, using hot or cold packs, and maintaining good hand hygiene can contribute to overall hand pain management.

Get Relief from Hand Pain at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists

Persistent hand pain should never be taken lightly and should always be evaluated by a professional healthcare provider. If you have been experiencing hand pain for more than a couple of weeks, it is important to seek medical attention for further investigation. Moderate-to-severe hand pain that significantly impacts your daily life is a red flag and may require a visit to an orthopedic specialist who specializes in hand conditions. 

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, we believe that everyone deserves a helping hand when it comes to their health. Contact us today to take the first step towards finding relief from hand pain. Call the office nearest to you or conveniently schedule your appointment online using our booking form. Let us be your partner in restoring function, reducing pain, and improving your quality of life.

Our doctors at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists are dedicated to improving lives, one hand at a time. Stop in to see us if you’re living with hand pain. Call the office nearest to you or schedule your appointment online using our booking form with our hand specialist, Dr. Matthew Bernstein or Dr. Mark Yaffe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How effective are over-the-counter pain relief creams for hand pain?

Over-the-counter topical creams can relieve pain temporarily for mild hand pain. For more persistent or severe pain, it's best to consult with a healthcare provider for appropriate treatment.

What are the common symptoms of hand pain?

Common symptoms include joint pain, wrist pain, trouble gripping objects, stiffness, swelling, and pain in the affected finger.

Is it normal for fingers to get stuck in a bent position?

No, this can be a sign of a condition called trigger finger or stenosing tenosynovitis, where inflammation causes the finger to get stuck in a bent position. Seeking medical attention from a hand specialist can help properly diagnose and treat this condition. 

What causes pain in the middle or end joints of the index finger?

Pain in these joints can be caused by various factors, including injury, inflammation from overuse or arthritis, and damage to connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments.

Can hand pain be a result of damage to blood vessels?

Yes, hand pain can be caused by damage or blockage in the blood vessels, which can reduce blood flow and cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. This can happen due to conditions like Raynaud's phenomenon, atherosclerosis, or an embolism.