What is Hand Pain?
Hand pain can cause discomfort that is felt in one/multiple areas, including the fingers, thumb, palm, and top of the hand leading into the wrist. It may be described as sharp and burning or numb and tingling and can vary in severity and frequency. Along with pain, your hand may become swollen, stiff, or tender. Hand pain may also affect use of your hand, making it difficult to grasp objects and bend or move your fingers. Left untreated, hand pain and injuries may worsen, heal incorrectly, and result in restricted motion/function of the wrist, hand, and fingers.
Understanding Hand Anatomy
There are 19 bones in each human hand, 27 including those in the wrist. Each hand also contains 27 joints, 34 muscles, 100 ligaments, along with numerous nerves and blood vessels. Human hands have a complex design that sets us apart from all other living creatures. Our hands let us grasp and lift objects, perform delicate tasks with precision, and provide our sense of touch. Hand pain and injury can make performing daily activities difficult, uncomfortable, or nearly impossible. This can greatly impact our well-being and independence. Fortunately, hand therapy is an effective method to reduce hand pain and recover from the effects of a hand injury.
Causes of Hand Pain
Hand pain and injuries may result from a traumatic injury or chronic condition. Common causes of hand pain include:
- Acute sports injuries or use of improper form during athletics
- Hypersensitivity after a hand injury
- Poor ergonomics
- Jobs in construction, manufacturing, cashiering, cooking, or computer work
- Sewing, knitting, crafting, and gardening
- Trip and fall or car accidents, often when hands are put out suddenly to catch yourself
Hand Pain Conditions We Treat
Armworks Hand Therapists have extensive knowledge and training in rehabilitating hand pain and injuries. They regularly see patients who need hand pain treatment for:
Hand Pain Treatment
Your first appointment at Armworks Hand Therapy will consist of an a professional evaluation with a licensed hand therapist. Armworks Hand Therapists work exclusively with injuries and conditions affecting the elbow, wrist, and hand. Your hand therapist will design an individualized plan of care, built specifically for your recovery needs. Your hand pain treatment program may include:
- Treatment/instructions to reduce inflammation
- Manual Therapy
- Splinting of the wrist, thumb, or finger(s)
- Exercise programs both for home and when in the hand therapy clinic
- Education on correct use of your hands
Frequently Asked Questions
The typical progression of hand pain symptoms begins with a dull ache or brief sharp pains in the hand or fingers. As time goes by this can become more frequent or last for longer periods of time. Eventually your hand pain or injury may cause you to avoid using your hand, which will cause weakness and loss of motion.
The earlier you are able to start therapy, the better. The most common thing hand therapists hear is, “I waited to call, because I thought my pain would just go away.” Unfortunately, waiting to begin therapy can actually make your recovery period last much longer. Hand therapy is an effective hand pain treatment. Your hand therapist can also offer suggestions on how to prevent hand pain from reoccurring.
The recovery time is typically shorter when beginning hand therapy quickly after an injury or soon after you develop hand pain. The typical length of time for hand recovery is 4-8 weeks.
This can depend on what type of job you do and how much you use your hands in your job. Computer jobs often put a significant amount of stress on the hand to type or use a computer. Often, you are able to return to work with modifications to avoid putting too much pressure on your injured hand during work tasks.
Recovery time to return to playing sports can vary based on the type of sport. Your hand may take 8 weeks or several months to recover depending on the specific injury, but you may be able to return to sports earlier with modifications. Your hand therapist can develop a specific program to help you work toward your goals to return to sports.
Here is a list of the insurance plans accepted by SportsCare Physical Therapy and Armworks Hand Therapy. If you are unsure of your coverage or if your plan is accepted, please contact one of our offices. We are happy to assist you in learning about your benefits.
Armworks Hand Therapy has offices in Gresham, NE Portland, Clackamas, Beaverton, and Lake Oswego. For location specific contact information click here.