7 Common Conditions That Cause Finger or Hand Pain


Finger and hand conditions can be quite painful and affect your daily activities. Here are some common causes we notice frequently in the Central Carolina Orthopaedic Associates clinic and treatments that may help. 
 

INJURY

Four common finger/hand injuries caused by trauma are sprains (stretched or torn ligaments), strains (stretched or torn muscles), dislocations (bones forced out of their joints), and fractured (broken) bones. Injuries to fingers and hands usually cause inflammation and pain.  

If the injury is severe, ‌seek immediate medical intervention, as the bone may need to be put back into place (reduced) or immobilized with splinting or casting in order to heal properly. For a mild sprain or strain, conservative treatment using RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) therapy may be all that is needed. 

What does RICE therapy look like in action?

REST:  Avoid using the finger for a few days. This may be easier if you buddy tape the injured finger to an adjacent one or use a splint. 

ICE:  Apply ice over the injured area for only 20 minutes at a time. Repeat this up to eight times a day to help with pain and inflammation. 

COMPRESSION:  Wrap the area snugly (but not to the point of constriction) in a soft bandage. 

ELEVATION: Keep the injured finger/hand above heart level to reduce blood pressure and swelling to the area. 

Over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin may help ease pain and swelling. CBD cream can also provide relief, and CCOA has this available for purchase. 
 

ARTHRITIS

Arthritis describes swelling, tenderness, and stiffness in one or more joints. Along with a reduced range of motion, these symptoms can worsen with age. There are several forms of arthritis, each with differing treatment needs. A medical provider can help you determine which type of arthritis you have. 

Your medical provider can reduce pain and swelling and slow the progression of the disease. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, treatment may include medications that inhibit your body’s immune response, oral pain relievers (or NSAIDs), topical pain relievers (Aspirin or CBD), corticosteroids (taken orally or by injection into the affected joint), amniotic fluid injections, physical therapy, and joint replacement surgery. 
 

TENDONITIS OR TENOSYNOVITIS

Tendons are the cords of collagen fibers that connect muscles to bones. Tendonitis occurs when your tendon becomes inflamed, and tenosynovitis occurs when the tendon sheath becomes inflamed. Both can lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

If mild, RICE therapy and pain medication can be used for treatment. CBD cream (available in the CCOA office) can also offer relief. If more severe, physical therapy or even surgery may be necessary.
 

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Pressure causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome on the median nerve, which runs from the forearm through the carpal tunnel and into the palm of the hand. It can cause tingling and numbness in your fingers and hand. You may also experience weakness in your affected hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may result from an injury or repetitive movements. 

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the symptoms, but may include: 

  • wearing a splint or brace–even while sleeping–to keep the wrist straight and avoid aggravating the median nerve 
  • avoiding activities that irritate the median nerve 
  • taking pain medications such as NSAIDs to reduce swelling and pain, 
  • steroid injections, 
  • physical therapy,
  • and if conservative treatment doesn’t ease the symptoms, surgery may be required. 
 

TRIGGER FINGER(S)

Trigger Finger(s) is a condition in which one or more of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position. Your finger may bend or straighten with a snap — as if a trigger is being pulled and released. It occurs when inflammation causes the sheath surrounding the tendon to narrow, causing your tendon to catch. If severe, your finger may become locked in a bent position. 

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the symptoms, but may include: 

  • resting it by avoiding activities that irritate it (such as repetitive grasping or handling vibrating machinery), 
  • taking pain medications such as NSAIDs to reduce swelling and pain, 
  • steroid injections, 
  • stretching exercises,
  • and if conservative treatment doesn’t ease the symptoms, surgery may be necessary. 
 

GANGLION CYSTS

Non-cancerous, fluid-filled sacs, Ganglion Cysts are usually found on wrists and fingers, although they can occur in other places, as well. They are usually harmless, but they may cause pain or tenderness.

Often, these resolve without treatment. However, if the cyst is causing pain, the doctor may drain it or surgically remove it. 
 

DUPUYTREN’S CONTRACTURE

A Dupuytren’s Contracture is a hand deformity that affects a layer of tissue underneath the skin of the palm. It usually develops over ‌several years and forms a thick cord of tissue that pulls one or more fingers down toward your palm. Dimpled skin or painless lumps may also be present in the palm. 

As Dupuytren’s progresses, they cannot straighten the impacted fingers, causing difficulty with daily activities, such as shaking hands, putting your hand in your pocket, or putting on gloves, writing, or grasping large objects. 

Treatment involves removing or breaking apart the cords that are drawing your finger(s) into your palm. Your medical provider may accomplish this through needling, enzyme injections, or surgery. 
 

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?

Set up an appointment with your medical provider when you’re experiencing numbness or tingling, difficulty moving or straightening your fingers, swelling or discoloration, or pain that does not improve with conservative treatment. 

Our knowledgeable providers are available to evaluate and treat your finger and hand pain with both traditional and newer treatment options, such as amniotic fluid injections and CBD cream. Please call 919-774-1355 for an appointment. 

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