People use their hands for just about anything – cooking, eating, driving, holding things, working, etc. Hands make daily tasks and routines easier. Most people don’t realize the importance of their hands until they experience pain or a tingling sensation that prevents them from doing their usual routines.
Wrist pain is usually the most common complaint. Affected areas will present specific symptoms such as dull pain, sharp pain, tightness in the area, or a sensation of pins and needles. There are many causes of pain that occur in the hands. Due to the complex structure that makes up the fingers, wrists, and hands; determining the root cause of the pain entails a comprehensive medical history, physical inspection, and diagnostic imaging tests.
Here are the four causes of wrist and hand pain:
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis / Wrist Tendinitis
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is one of the top conditions that cause wrist and hand pain. Its presenting symptom is pain on the side of the thumb and wrist. It is also considered as Wrist Tendinitis as a result of a repetitive or sudden injury to the wrist.
Women appear to be more affected by De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis than men. This condition is also called “mommy’s wrist” due to a higher prevalence in new mothers and postpartum moms. This is associated with repetitive motion of holding and picking up a baby combined with hormonal fluctuations that result in fluid retention and swelling around the joints after giving birth.
Pain is usually felt around the thumb and its nearby wrist structures where two thumb tendons occupy the same space.
Neuropathy, often popularly called ‘peripheral neuropathy’ is the dysfunction or damage of the nerves in your body. It is an indication of a problem occurring in the peripheral nervous system. Neuropathies will usually start in your hands and feet but will also manifest in other body parts.
Common signs and symptoms of Neuropathy include ‘pins and needles’ sensation, numbness, sharp pain, changes in sensation, loss of coordination, muscle weakness or twitching, paralysis, abnormal heart rate, excessive sweating, problems with bladder, digestion, and bowels.
Arthritis is the most common cause of wrist and hand pain for people age 40 and older. Although the wrist is the least affected part when it comes to arthritis compared to other joints of the body, arthritis on the wrist can occur as a result of wear and tear or a history of wrist joint injury. When a tear in the wrist ligaments happens, bones form in an unusual pattern. This abnormal movement causes the cartilage breakdown. The cartilage acts as a cushion between the two bones in a joint. When the cartilage breaks down, bones rub each other that causes bone spurs which is one aspect of arthritis.
Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, loss of normal range of motion, and pain in the affected part.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a prevalent condition among office workers who are always using the computer. This condition is a result of a compressed or squeezed median nerve.
The median nerve is located in the middle of the wrist and travels to the hand. It is surrounded by flexor tendons and tissues. When the surrounding structures become swollen, the tunnel becomes narrowed putting pressure on the median nerve. This pressure causes numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hand.
When to see a doctor
You need to see a doctor when the symptoms of wrist and hand pain prevent you from doing your activities of daily living. The doctor will perform a physical examination, thorough medical history, and diagnostic procedures to determine the cause of pain in your wrist or hand. The doctor will prescribe medication, surgery, and may recommend physical therapy for advanced cases.