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Common Hand Problems
11.18.15 Wednesday

Many people have hand problems; however, the causes or symptoms may vary significantly. Hand problems generally originate in the bones or the joints, develop through overuse, or accompany other medical conditions. Rather than lumping all hand-related problem into one broad category, we’ll break it down and show you several of the more common problems, and why they may occur.

Bone, joint, and muscle concerns:

  • Ganglion cysts often show up as small fluid filled bumps on the hands and wrists, though they can also form on shoulders, knees, ankles, and feet. The causes of ganglion cysts are still being debated. Their size may change, they are typically soft, and they can be uncomfortable or even painful.
  • Dupuytren’s disease is a genetic tendency to form fibrous bands in the palm and fingers. It can create limited mobility and discomfort as it progresses, which often occurs slowly, over the years. One of the most noticeable symptoms is an abnormal thickening of tissue underneath the skin of the palms. It may progress to the point where fingers cannot straighten.


  • De Quervain’s disease is caused when the tendons going to the bone of the hand become inflamed and swollen. The cause of de Quervain’s is debated, but activities that rely on repetitive hand or wrist movement, like working in the garden, playing golf or racket sports, or lifting a baby, may make it worse.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms may include pain in the fingers or hand, tingling, numbness, or weakness. It is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist, and may interfere with normal activities and sleep patterns, If the condition is left untreated, permanent nerve and muscle damage can occur.
  • Trigger digits occur when tendons in the fingers swell and get caught in the tight pulleys of the hand. Symptoms include locking or catching during movement, stiffness, pain, tenderness, nodules, and even deformity.

Medical Conditions:

  • Pregnancy can aggravate many of these hand problems because of swelling in the fingers and hands. While these symptoms are uncomfortable, they are rarely a sign of bigger problems and often go away after delivery.
  • Diabetes significantly exacerbates most of these hand problems.
  • Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition resulting in the breakdown of tissue (cartilage) that protects and cushions joints. The symptoms are often stiffness, pain, and swelling in the joints.
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon is a condition where some areas of the body, usually the fingers or toes, have an extreme response to cold temperature or emotional stress. During a Raynaud’s attack, the blood vessels in the affected areas tighten, severely limiting the flow to the skin, causing numbness, tingling, swelling, pain, and a pale coloration. Warming the hand can often resolve these problems.

While this is not intended to be an all inclusive list of hand problems, it addresses many common symptoms and concerns. If you experience hand problems, please consult with a provider at Idaho Hand Institute for an accurate diagnosis, detailed information, and appropriate treatment.

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