What is hand pain?

Hand pain includes any kind of discomfort in the tissues or joints of the hand or fingers. Hand pain may be described as throbbing, aching, increased warmth, tingling, soreness, or stiffness. Burning or prickling sensations in the hand or fingers, often called pins and needles, are paresthesias. Paresthesias are often due to temporary or permanent damage or pressure on the nerves that carry sensation messages from the hand and fingers to the spinal cord.

The hand is made up of nerves, bones, blood vessels, muscles, and skin. Muscles provide motion, and tendons anchor your hand muscles to the bones. Nerves control sensation and movement of the hand and fingers, and blood vessels ensure continuous blood circulation to and from the tips of the fingers through the hand and arm.

Hand joints, such as the knuckles, are the areas where bones meet. Joints are complicated structures and consist of cartilage, ligaments that hold bones together, bursas (fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the joint), and synovial membranes and fluid, which lubricate the joints. Any of these structures in the hand or joints can become injured, irritated, inflamed and painful in response to a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions.

Common causes of hand pain include injury or trauma, such as a boxer’s fracture of the hand, or from repetitive use, such as long periods of keyboarding, which can lead to tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Arthritis is another very common cause of hand pain. More serious conditions, such as diabetes and peripheral neuropathy, can also cause pain or a burning sensation in your hand and fingers.

Because hand pain can be a sign of a serious condition, such as infection or fracture, you should contact your medical professional about your symptoms. Seek prompt medical care if you have unexplained, persistent or recurrent hand pain. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your hands have been exposed to freezing temperatures and have changed color or lost feeling, or if you have severe hand pain, a serious burn, a deformity, or uncontrolled bleeding. Other serious symptoms include a high fever with swelling, redness, warmth of the hand, or red streaks up the arm.


What other symptoms might occur with hand pain?

Other symptoms may occur with hand pain. Additional symptoms vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, hand pain due to a serious infection that has spread to the blood may be accompanied by swelling, fever and chills, as well as redness and warmth around the affected area.
Read more about hand painsymptoms


What causes hand pain?

Hand pain can be caused by irritation and inflammation due to a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions, such as trauma, infection, autoimmune diseases, and nerve compression. For example, tingling pain in the fingers can be due to compression of the nerves that carry sensation messages from the hand and fingers to the spinal cord.

Hand joints, such as the kn... Read more about hand paincauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 2, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

What's Causing Your Symptoms?