Hand pain can be the result of conditions or injuries that develop gradually over time or from instances of acute trauma. Some afflictions that commonly affect the hands include:
In any instance of trauma or acute injury to the hand, it is important to seek medical attention. This is especially true if there are associated symptoms such as bruising, pain, or swelling. In other instances, patients should seek evaluation if they are experiencing recurring or ongoing pain, stiffness, or inflammation of the hand, wrist, or fingers, as this may indicate an underlying injury or condition such as carpal tunnel or arthritis.
Most types of conditions or injuries affecting the hand can be managed effectively without surgery. However, there are some instances where surgical intervention is the most appropriate choice to provide relief and restore function. These can include:
Although carpal tunnel syndrome is unlikely to improve without treatment, conservative treatments, especially during the early stages can prove quite effective at providing relief. Typical non-surgical treatment options include:
Conservative treatment options for trigger finger can include rest for the affected hand, pain relievers, cortisone injections, and wearing a splint at night. For particularly severe or bothersome cases, trigger finger release surgery may be needed.
Arthritis in the hands is most commonly in the form of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Patients with these conditions can often find relief and manage symptoms through a combination of treatments such as splinting, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, steroid injections, biologics, and anti-rheumatic medications.
Nerve compression in the hand often affects the median nerve specifically in the condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, other types of nerve compression in the hand can occur as well. Common symptoms associated with compression of nerves in the hand include numbness, a tingling or pins and needles sensation, hand weakness, and pain that can be sharp, burning, or aching in nature.
Some hand conditions can benefit greatly from the integration of physical therapy, specifically certified hand therapy. Certified hand therapy uses therapeutic techniques to treat conditions specific to the hand and upper extremity, including the arm, elbow and shoulder. Certified hand therapists are occupational or physical therapists who have practiced for at least 5 years, have over 4,000 hours of experience, and who have passed a certification exam.
While some conditions and injuries affecting the hands will be unavoidable, there are steps that can be taken to protect the hands. This means wearing protective gloves when needed and taking regular breaks if your work requires repetitive hand or wrist motions such as typing. To help protect the hands from chronic conditions such as arthritis, patients can focus on healthy habits such as not smoking and maintaining a healthy diet and weight.
Hand and wrist pain is no fun which is why we want to get you back to moving more and hurting less. As leaders in assessing, diagnosing and treating hand and wrist injuries, our team of experts will provide a treatment plan centered around you. Take the first step towards living without hand or wrist pain by scheduling an appointment today.
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