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Hand Pain Causes

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    Hand pain has many causes, including injury and disease. Fortunately, many of those causes can be treated and the symptoms eased.

    Here are some of the most common conditions that cause hand pain.

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    De Quervain's tendinitis. This is also known as de Quervain's tendinosis. It causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist.

    The pain may develop gradually or suddenly. It can travel the length of the thumb and up the forearm. If you have de Quervain's tendinitis, movements that can be painful include:

    • Making a fist
    • Grasping or holding objects
    • Turning the wrist

    The pain results from swelling of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb, which is caused by irritation or inflammation. Repetitive activities and overuse are often responsible for the onset of de Quervain's.

    New mothers are at high risk because of the awkward position in which they hold their baby and their fluctuating hormones. Wrist fractures can also increase your risk of de Quervain's. Pain relief treatments include:

    • Wearing a splint to rest the thumb and wrist
    • Anti-inflammatory medications
    • Cortisone injections

    Surgery is an option if symptoms remain severe after other treatments have been tried.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome. This is one of the most common nerve disorders. It affects up to 3% of the American population.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain in the:

    • Palm and some fingers of the hand
    • Wrist
    • Forearm

    Often the pain is worse at night than during the day. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause:

    • Weakness
    • Tingling
    • Numbness

    These symptoms can be particularly noticed in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. This can make it hard to grip objects.

    The discomfort occurs when swelling presses against the median nerve. The median nerve controls sensation and muscle impulses in the thumb and fingers (except for the pinkie finger).

    The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a structure made up of bones and connective tissues that is located at the base of the hand. It is in this narrow space that the median nerve is pinched by inflamed or irritated tendons or other swelling.

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