In today’s digital world, the use of smartphones and laptops are a part of everyday activity from young ones to adults. This includes several ways of usage like video game controllers, texting, keyboard, mouse and even the mousing surface on our laptops – it’s no wonder we often ignore the pains in hand and wrist that so many people face it daily.
But ignoring the severe ones can actually worsen the situation. So lets get the details of hand and wrist pain and when you should to see the doctor.
The skeleton of the human hand is made up of 27 bones that make up each hand and wrist. The eight short carpal bones (scaphoid, lunate, triquetral and pisiform) are organised in a row in your wrist. Each finger has three bones. The four fingers each consist of three phalanx bones: proximal, middle, and distal; The thumb has two proximal and distal phalanxes. There are five bones in the palm of your hand, connecting each finger and the thumb with the wrist. Together with the phalanges of the fingers and thumb these metacarpal bones form five rays or poly-articulated chains.
There are more than 30 muscles that control the hand and wrist. These are in your hands, wrists and forearms.
Muscles are attached to bones by tendons. These are small but very tough pieces of connective tissue. Tendons pass through a bony passage in your wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. The median nerve also passes through this tunnel.
- Hand and Wrist pain may be accompanied by the following symptoms:
- pain, numbness, or tingling that gets worse at night
- A clicking sound when moving the wrist – this can be more severe after periods of rest
- swollen fingers
- sudden, sharp pain in the hand
- difficulty making a fist or gripping objects
- warmth in a joint near the wrist
- numbness or tingling sensation in the hands
- swelling or redness around the wrist
When to see a doctor
It’s important to see a doctor if:
- Pain is interfering with everyday activities.
- Numbness or tingling is becoming worse, and there is little or no feeling in the fingers or hand.
- Simple hand movements are no longer possible.
- Weakness makes holding things difficult.
- Complications of wrist pain can include weakness and a decreased ability to carry out activities such as gripping objects and using a keyboard.
Hand and Wrist pain can happen to anyone — whether you’re very sedentary, very active or somewhere in between. But your risk may be increased by:
- Repetitive work. Almost any activity that involves your hands and wrists even knitting and cutting hair — if performed forcefully enough and often enough can lead to disabling wrist pain.
- Sports participation. Wrist injuries are common in many sports, both those that involve impact and those that involve repetitive stress on the wrist. These can include football, bowling, golf, gymnastics, snowboarding and tennis.
- Certain diseases or conditions. Pregnancy, diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and gout may increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Arthritis of the hand is common in females. As the arthritis progresses, the finger gets deformed and lose its functions. Moreover, many patients with rheumatoid arthritis have this dysfunction present in both hands and become disabled due to chronic pain.
Osteoarthritis of the hand joints is much less common than rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is most common at the base of thumb and is usually treated with pain pills, splinting or steroid injections.
This disorder results from compression of an important nerve in the wrist. It also occurs in people who overuse their hand or perform repetitive actions like using a computer key board, a cashier’s machine or a musical instrument.
This is another disorder of the fingers that is due to thickening of the underlying skin tissues of the palm. The disorder results in a deformed finger which appears thin and has small bumps on the surface.
De Quervain’s tendinosis3 occurs when the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated or constricted. The word “tendinosis” refers to a swelling of the tendons. This is a disorder when tendons of the hands become inflamed. Tendons are thick fibrous cords that attach small muscles of the hand to bones.
These are soft globular structures that occur on the back of the hand usually near the junction of the wrist joint. These small swellings are usually painless when small but can affect hand motion when they become large.
This disorder typically affects young adults and involves the progressive collapse of one of the small bones in the wrist. Kienbock’s disease occurs when the blood supply to this bone is compromised.
This is a condition that causes a reduction in blood supply to the outer parts of the body, including the fingers. It can happen in the cold or in stressful situations. It can also occur as a result of using hand-held vibrating tools.
The term jammed finger refers to finger joint pain and swelling from an impact injury. It’s the most common injury in sports. This injury tends to be very painful, and immediate treatment will usually help healing the joint faster.
This is a fracture of the base of the first metacarpal bone which extends into the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. This intra-articular fracture is the most common type of fracture of the thumb, and is nearly always accompanied by some degree of subluxation or frank dislocation of the carpometacarpal joint.
A boxer’s fracture is the break of the 5th metacarpal bones of the hand near the knuckle. Occasionally it is used to refer to fractures of the 4th metacarpal as well. Symptoms include pain and a depressed knuckle.
Jersey finger , also known as rugby finger, is a finger-related tendon injury that is common in athletics and can result in permanent loss of flexion of the end of the finger if not surgically repaired.
It is a break of the scaphoid bone in the wrist. Complications may include non-union of the fracture, avascular necrosis, and arthritis. Scaphoid fractures are most commonly caused by a fall on an outstretched hand.
A Stenner lesion occurs when the thumb is forcefully abducted and the distal attachment of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) at the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint is traumatically avulsed from its insertion into the base of the proximal phalanx of the thumb.
Remember, if you’re ever struggling with a pain for a long, don’t suffer in silence, find the best doctor to your nearest location. And talk to a healthcare professional today!