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Chronic Hand Pain: Common Causes

We use our hands all the time every day. In fact, they’re integral right now to me writing this blog post. We use them for driving, lifting, cooking, and self-care. When your hands hurt, that pain can disrupt your life. 

Your hands are composed of a complex and intricate combination of muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones. These body parts work together to allow for a wide range of abilities and movement. Hand injuries or pain can be caused by a variety of things, including an accident, overuse, wear and tear, or health conditions. 

Fortunately, hand pain can be reduced or eliminated, and at Texas Orthopaedic Associates we help patients with this problem all the time. Below are a few of the most common causes of hand pain and how we treat them. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve disorder of the hand. It affects almost 8 million Americans, mostly in the workplace. It occurs when the median nerve, which is the nerve that runs from the base of your hand to your forearm through the carpal tunnel, gets narrowed and pinched. This narrowing is brought on by inflammation or thickening and can cause tingling, numbness, burning, and pain in the hand and fingers, usually the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. 

Treatment for this condition focuses on reducing the swelling or opening up the median nerve. Noninvasive treatments include splinting, resting, icing, over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. If pain and discomfort persist, steroid injections or surgery may be necessary.

De Quervain's tenosynovitis

Swelling in the tendons around the base of your hand causes De Quervain's tenosynovitis. This swelling and inflammation results in pain and tingling around the bottom of your thumb. With De Quervain's tenosynovitis, it can be difficult to grasp objects, make a fist, and turn your wrist. 

This condition is common among new mothers because holding their baby or carrying the baby's car seat can put repetitive stress on the wrist. 

To treat this condition, rest, a splint, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone shots can help. Consult with your obstetrician about cortisone shots if you're nursing your baby. Surgery is an option where noninvasive and minimally invasive methods fail. 

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting over 32 million American adults. It's also the leading cause of hand pain. Osteoarthritis mostly affects older people and is caused by wear and tear on your joints that occurs over time. It causes joint inflammation, pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited range of motion. In your hand, it mostly affects the base of your thumb and the middle joint or end joint of one or more fingers.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are many ways to manage and reduce pain and stiffness. Common treatments include anti-inflammatories, splints, heat, and physical therapy. Surgery for severe cases may be an option. 

Do your hands hurt? Call one of our five offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to book an appointment with one of our experienced hand and wrist specialists. You can also request an appointment online through this website.

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