The hand’s complexity lends itself to a number of injury possibilities. Its structure of bone, ligaments, and muscles create a versatile, dexterous appendage that is capable of intricate movements.
The 27 bones in the hand are divided into three major types: metacarpal, carpal, and phalanges. The long tubes surrounding the fingers are sheaths. Fourteen bones create the fingers (phalanges). Each finger has three phalanges and the thumb has two. The bones comprising the large middle section of the hand are metacarpals and the bones within the wrist (eight) are carpal bones. Carpal bones connect to the hand to the arm. Contracting muscles move the bones in the hand, and the ligaments create a strong bond between the joints.
Because there are multiple moving parts to the hand’s structure, there are common problems that can occur and can even cause loss of function. The anatomical makeup of the hand lends itself to injury, simply because there are numerous parts involved.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common conditions to causes hand pain. The median nerve travels through the wrist’s carpal tunnel. When the nerve is compressed within the narrow tunnel, the painful syndrome occurs. Symptoms can include some loss of function, since the median nerve carries signals to the thumb and middle fingers. It is common to feel numbness, pain, burning, and a pins and needles sensation in the fingers and hand. A person with carpal tunnel syndrome might also have trouble making a strong grip.
Treating carpal tunnel syndrome might be as simple as wearing a splint to stabilize the wrist or as invasive as surgery. The surgery will relieve the nerve’s compression within the carpal tunnel.
Arthritis can be a very painful condition affecting the joints in the hand. Arthritis is defined by joint inflammation, and there are several types that cause pain. The most common is osteoarthritis, which is characterized by stiffness, swelling, and pain.
Hand pain that is associated with many types of arthritis can be managed with over-the- counter medications and physical therapy. Your doctor may also prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
When osteoarthritis affects the hand, it usually originates at the thumb’s base or at the joint closer to the fingertip. In some cases, osteoarthritis originates in a finger’s middle joint. The degenerative disease is quite painful as it progresses, leaving bones to press and rub against each other.
Tendons are the connective tissue attached to the muscles and bones in the hand. They allow the muscles to manipulate the bones for movement. Two conditions affecting tendons causing inflammation and pain are tenosynovitis and tendonitis. Both are most likely to occur in the wrist and fingers. Tendonitis inflames tendons, and tenosynovitis causes inflammation to sheaths enclosing the tendons.
Hand Pain Treatment in Central Maryland
If you are suffering from hand pain, talk to an experienced doctor about getting a diagnosis and treatment.
The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics can diagnose the cause of your hand pain and help you find relief through effective treatments. Make an appointment with our physicians by calling (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!