Having palm pain or pain in the palm of the hand can be the result of damage from acute injury to the bones, joints, or even nerves of the hand. Our hands serve as tools to interact with the rest of the world, so when we have a symptom like palm pain, it can affect everything we do.
Our palms are in constant contact with our environment and are naturally prone to being overused and exposed to various harms or injuries. The skin on our palms has adapted in this respect, being one of the areas of thickest skin on the human body.
Causes of pain in palm of hand
The most obvious cause of palm pain and damage to the hand in general. Injury can lead to bone fractures or dislocation. It can be a superficial injury to the skin, leading to severe pain. Acute injuries often lead to inflammation and tenderness in the area affected, and if occurring on the palm area, palm pain is highly likely.
A condition that affects joints and the musculoskeletal system. It is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid. Uric acid is the product of metabolic processes. When purines are metabolized, they create uric acid, so a diet rich in purines can create an excess amount of uric acid and contribute to gout. Gout can cause severe hand pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
A condition arising from the compression of the median nerve that runs through a structure found in our wrist called the carpal tunnel. It can lead to a sensation of pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome tends to develop gradually over time with the worse symptoms often felt at night time.
A condition characterized by inflammation, swelling, and bending of the joints. The joints at the middle and ends of the fingers and the base of the thumb are the most commonly affected. Pain with attempted use is the most common complaint.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
An autoimmune disease that results in the destruction of cells that line and support the joints. This often leads to pain and inflammation in the hands of RA patients. Hand pain is usually described as being throbbing or aching in nature and is worse in the mornings.
An autoimmune disorder that is seen more commonly in women. The condition can affect literally any part of the human body. Joint pain in the wrist and fingers leading to hand pain is just one of the symptoms that lupus can present with.
A noncancerous fluid filled lump that commonly develops along tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. Ganglion cysts can be pea-sized, with some growing at around an inch in size. Their location can sometimes interfere with joint movement, and while generally pain-free, it can be the source of pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness.
Also known as “trigger finger,” this condition is characterized by the clicking or locking of a tendon when the connected finger or thumb is flexed toward the palm. Stenosing tenosynovitis can cause pain and stiffness of the hand.
A possible source of hand pain as a result of inflammation of the fibrous sheath surrounding the tendon of the affected joint. It can lead to pain in the palm of the hand when the tendons of the wrist or fingers are involved.
De Quervain’s disease
Characterized by swelling and thickening of the sheath that surround tendons of the thumb. This leads to pain in the wrist and the hand. This condition is different from tenosynovitis as inflammation is not the cause.
Due to narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the peripheral areas of the body, such as the nose and fingers. It can lead to discoloration, numbness, and pain of the affected area with cold temperatures worsening the condition.
Local and systemic bacterial infections can result in palm pain or pain in the hands in general. Fungal infections have also been known to affect the hands with some leaving a characteristic lesion. However, fungal and viral infection are not commonly known for causing palm pain.
Our hands are composed of many different muscles that are in constant use. Tendons, connected to bones, help to move fingers and improve grip. Overuse of these hand structures can lead to cramping that may lead to pain development in the palm.
Much like other organs and tissue in the human body, hands require a constant blood supply to survive and function normally. Conditions such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) often restrict blood supply to distal extremities like the hands and legs that can lead to pain development. Vasculitis is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels and leads to palm pain due to an infection, injury, or autoimmune condition.
The skin on our hands come in contact with many of different pathogens every day. While it is a great first line of defense, it is susceptible to inflammatory skin conditions that can break the underlying tissue, leaving it exposed to infections. Allergens can also cause a reaction on the skin, causing it to become inflamed, as seen with contact dermatitis.
Other symptoms that accompany with palm pain
Symptoms of palm pain will often depend on the underlying condition. The following are some of the most commonly experienced symptoms depending on the etiology.
Traumatic symptoms accompanying palm pain:
- Bleeding or bruising
- Burning feeling
- Difficulty moving the hands
- Redness, warmth, or swelling
Neuromuscular symptoms accompanying palm pain:
- Atrophy of hand muscles
- Burning or tingling sensation (paresthesia)
- Weakness (loss of strength)
Other possible symptoms accompanying palm pain:
- Arm, hand, finger or shoulder pain
- Bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails
- Burning or tingling sensation in other areas of the body
- Difficulty breathing
- General morning joint stiffness
- Leg pain
- Neck pain
Treatment for pain in palm of hand
Achieve through gentle massage of the affected area, helping to reduce pain and soreness. You can also incorporate coconut oil to help with the massage process, as it is an effective herbal remedy.
Done by gently bending the fingers and knuckles to release the gasses shifting between the fingers and palm joints. You will hear a soft popping sound and experience immediate relief.
Protection from the cold
During cold times of the year, exposed hands can lead to pain and stiffness in the joints. Investing in good quality woolen gloves can help remedy this situation. If wearing gloves is not possible when outdoors, simply rub your hands together, creating friction to generate some heat.
Tight elastic bands with a Velcro strap around your palm can provide great palm support, reducing the risk of muscle pain. By creating palm support, you can protect your palm from physical stress.
Using a computer keyboard and mouse for extended hours can result in shooting pain in your palms and wrists. By stretching your palms and hand muscles in regular intervals, you can help mitigate palm pain. Make circular motions with your wrist and pull individual fingers with the help of the opposite hand to achieve this.
If you have suffered a serious hand injury, especially one that has broken the skin or hand bones, it is highly advised to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. Depending on the injury, emergency care will be required, as many delicate nerves and blood vessels reside within the hand. If you are bitten by an animal, irrigation of the wound will be needed to clear away harmful bacteria from the wound, as well as the use of antibiotic as a precautionary measure.
Helps to stabilize the position of your finger, thumb, or wrist. A splint may be worn for weeks at a time to restrict movement and aid in the healing process.
A highly effective therapy for reducing inflammation and pain, with some cases of chronic pain being relieved for up to a year. Pain may also diminish with subsequent injections.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
A common pain relieving medication that can be commonly found in many pharmacies and grocery stores. They are designed to reduce pain and swelling. However, long term use of these drugs may lead to liver damage and even increase the risk of heart attacks. NSAIDs can also be found in topical solution and don’t pose as much risk as oral formats.
Heat and cold
Heat is good therapy for the relief of stiffness, while cold is effective for reducing pain. Special hot/cold packs can be purchased that can achieve both of these therapies.
Disability of the hands due to palm pain can be quite debilitating. Making sure your hands are properly protected before performing potentially harming tasks will save you from unnecessary pain and grief. Sometimes, however, stress on the hand muscles is unavoidable, but hopefully, with the information and treatments provided in this article, you will be more equipped to handle any palm pain situation thrown at you.
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