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Hand & Wrist Pain

Hand, Finger, Thumb, & Wrist Pain

We rely on our hands and wrists to accomplish nearly every task. Even the slightest hand or wrist pain can turn everyday activities into painful challenges. 

Our team of orthopedic hand and wrist specialists will begin by diagnosing the cause of your pain, and reviewing treatment options with you so that you can get back to your regular activities.

Symptoms of Hand & Wrist Problems

People with hand, wrist, or thumb pain may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dull ache or severe pain in one or more fingers, the thumb, the top of the hand, the palm, or the wrist
  • Stiffness, swelling, or redness in any of the joints in the hand, fingers, thumb, or wrist
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in one or more fingers, or the wrist
  • Weakness, including the inability to open and close the hand, or grip objects
  • Crooked fingers or thumbs
  • Inability to straighten or fully bend the affected wrist, finger, or thumb
  • Clicking or popping when bending the wrist
  • Lumps, sores, or blemishes

Conditions That Cause Hand or Wrist Pain

Typical causes of wrist or hand pain include injuries, arthritis, diseases, and lifestyle factors. 

Traumatic Hand & Wrist Injuries

Typical injuries that cause hand and wrist pain include:

This hand condition occurs when a nerve – the median nerve – is compressed, which can result in pain, numbness, swelling, or tingling in the fingers or the wrist. Well-known causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are repetitive motions, such as frequent typing at work, disorders such as diabetes, and lifestyle factors such as smoking.

Painful inflammation of one or more tendons in the hand, fingers, thumb, or wrist may be caused by wear and tear, overuse, aging, or a previous injury that didn’t heal correctly. Additionally, tendons strained in an injury may eventually lead to tendonitis, which may become chronic if left untreated.

Injuries can sever tendons in the hand or fingers, which can lead to intense pain and the inability to use the hand or the affected fingers.

This common thumb injury occurs when you twist, turn, or bend your thumb beyond the limit of the ligaments that stabilize the joint. A sprained thumb can usually be treated at home with simple rest and ice to reduce swelling, if present. Severe thumb sprains may require medical attention.

Similar to a sprained thumb, a sprained wrist typically results in swelling, redness, bruising, dull or shooting pain, and the inability to bend the wrist. Sprained wrists can usually be treated at home with simple rest and ice to reduce swelling, if present. Severe wrist sprains may require medical attention.

Often referred to as a “broken hand,” “broken finger,” “broken thumb,” or a “broken wrist,” fractures in the hand, fingers, thumbs, or wrists result in severe pain and usually prevent sufferers from bending or straightening the affected area. A fracture should be treated immediately at the nearest emergency room.

Hand and wrist injuries that don’t heal properly may lead to arthritic conditions and additional problems. Always see a medical professional after experiencing a hand or wrist injury to minimize lifelong damage to the surrounding joints and muscles.

Arthritic Hand & Wrist Conditions

There are two major types of arthritis that can cause wrist and hand pain:

The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis results from normal wear and tear, overuse, and aging. Osteoarthritis breaks down the protective cartilage in the hand, fingers, or thumb, causing the bones to rub against each other, which leads to pain, stiffness, and inflexibility.

Commonly referred to as “R.A.,” this chronic autoimmune disorder is characterized by inflammation and damage to the cartilage in the hands, fingers, thumbs and wrists. This damage leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain.

Hand & Wrist Diseases

Common diseases that can cause hand or wrist pain include:

Sometimes referred to as “Dupuytren’s disease,” “palmar fibromatosis,” or “Vikings disease,” this disorder causes the skin on the palm of the hand to thicken. Over time, the deformity may evolve into thick cords or lumps, and eventually the hand or wrist may contract and stiffen, preventing normal use. This disease can be caused by diabetes, or genetic factors that are sometimes found in people of Northern European origin.

Sometimes referred to as “radial styloid tenosynovitis,” this disorder causes tenderness and pain in the wrist, where the thumb and wrist meet. This pain is caused by the inflammation of the thumb tendon’s sheaths. Common causes include repetitive hand or wrist motions, such as excessive daily typing, or lifting a child into a car seat.

These non-cancerous growths are filled with fluid and can result in localized hand, finger, or wrist pain or irritation. The cause of these cysts is unknown.

Both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors of the hand or wrist can cause deformities of the fingers, hand, and wrist, such as lumps and blemishes. Tumors may or may not be painful, but seek medical care as soon as possible for a diagnosis.

Learn more about common hand and wrist injuries, diseases, and conditions.

Wrist or Hand Pain Diagnosis

Our orthopedic specialists may begin by ordering specific imaging tests for your hand, finger, thumb, or wrist, including x-rays.

They will also review your medical history, ask about your daily activities, and perform a detailed diagnostic examination of your hand and wrist, and the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints to diagnose the cause of your pain and determine which treatment plan will work best for you.

Non-surgical Treatments

Depending on your diagnosis, our orthopedic specialists usually begin with conservative treatment options that don’t require surgery. Non-surgical options include: 

  • Cold and/or warm compresses
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medication
  • Topical medical ointments
  • Injection therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Splinting of broken bones
  • Bracing of the wrist for carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Finger bracing

Surgical Treatments

Surgical options include:

  • Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure to repair soft tissue
  • Tendon repair
  • Wrist fusion
  • Tumor removal (cancerous and benign)
  • Cyst or lump removal

Schedule an Appointment to Relieve Your Hand or Wrist Pain

If you’re experiencing hand, finger, thumb, or wrist pain, contact the orthopedic team at Bassett Healthcare Network by calling (607) 547-3652. Our specialists will diagnose the cause of your pain and review treatment plans based on your preference and personal needs.

Bassett Healthcare Network’s orthopedic specialists offer non-invasive and minimally invasive hand and wrist treatments to relieve all types of hand pain throughout Central New York, including Delhi, Cobleskill, Oneonta, Herkimer, and Cooperstown.