Most common causes for Hand Pain
ARTHRITIS – BASE OF THE THUMB
In a normal joint, cartilage covers the end of the bones and serves as a shock absorber to allow smooth, pain-free movement. In osteoarthritis (OA, or “degenerative arthritis”) the cartilage layer wears out, resulting in direct contact between the bones and producing pain and deformity. One of the most common joints to develop OA in the hand is the base of the thumb.
In a normal joint, cartilage covers the end of the bones and serves as a shock absorber to allow smooth, pain-free movement. In osteoarthritis (OA, or “degenerative arthritis”) the cartilage layer wears out, resulting in direct contact between the bones and producing hand pain and deformity. One of the most common joints to develop OA in the hand is the base of the thumb. Read More.
ARTHRITIS – MP JOINT
Arthritis is the wearing away of the cartilage at a joint. Cartilage is the coating layer of tissue on the end of a bone that acts as a shock-absorber. Loss of cartilage can lead to joint destruction and a shift in the finger position towards the small finger side, which is called ulnar drift. When arthritis affects the MP joints, the condition is called MP joint arthritis and can result in chronic hand pain. Read More.
ARTHRITIS – OSTEOARTHRITIS
Arthritis literally means “inflamed joint.” Normally a joint consists of two smooth, cartilage-covered bone surfaces that fit together as a matched set and that move smoothly against one other. Arthritis results when these smooth surfaces become irregular and don’t fit together well anymore and essentially “wear out.” Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it is most noticeable when it affects the hands and fingers. Read More.
ARTHRITIS – RHEUMATOID
Arthritis means an inflamed joint. A joint normally consists of two cartilage-covered bone surfaces that glide smoothly against one another. When joints become inflamed, the joint swells and does not move smoothly. Over time, the gliding surface wears out. There are many types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is just one type. Read More.
BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURY
(Erb’s Palsy) The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that originate near the neck and shoulder. These nerves begin at the spinal cord in the neck and control the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Sensory nerves carry messages to the brain from different parts of the body to signal pain, pressure, and temperature. The brachial plexus has nerves that are both motor and sensory.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when pressure builds up from swelling in this tunnel and puts pressure on the nerve. When the pressure from the swelling becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, numbness, tingling, and pain may be felt in the hand and fingers. Read More.
COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME – CRPS
Formerly Known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a pain condition that is constant over a long period of time that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems. CRPS is characterized by pain, swelling or stiffness in the affected hand or extremity.
COLD HAND DISEASE
Have you noticed that you have cold hands even in mild weather when others around you do not? Do you experience pain in your fingers at cold temperatures? Have you noticed your hands changing color like white, blue or red? Do you have problems healing minor wounds on your fingertips? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions you might have a cold hand disease that can be treatable.
CUBITAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. There is a bump of bone on the inner portion of the elbow (medial epicondyle) under which the ulnar nerve passes. At this site, the ulnar nerve lies directly next to the bone and is susceptible to pressure. When the pressure on the nerve becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, then numbness, tingling, and pain may be felt in the elbow, forearm, hand, and/or fingers. Read More.
DE QUERVAIN SYNDROME
Patients with de Quervain syndrome have painful tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. In de Quervain syndrome, the tunnel (the first extensor compartment; where the tendons run narrows due to the thickening of the soft tissues that make up the tunnel. Hand and thumb motion cause pain, especially with forceful grasping or twisting. Read More.
Dupuytren disease is an abnormal thickening of the tissue just beneath the skin known as fascia. This thickening occurs in the palm and can extend into the fingers. Firm pits, nodules and cords may develop that can cause the fingers to bend into the palm, in which case it is described as Dupuytren contracture. Read More.
EXTENSOR TENDON INJURIES
Extensor tendons, located on the back of the hand and fingers, allow you to straighten your fingers and thumb. These tendons are attached to muscles in the forearm. As the tendons continue into the fingers, they become flat and thin. In the fingers, smaller tendons from small muscles in the hand join these tendons. It is these small-muscle tendons that allow delicate finger motions and coordination.
Hand infections can cause severe problems that persist even after the infection has resolved, such as stiffness, loss of strength, and even loss of tissues such as skin, nerve and even bone. Thus early and aggressive treatment of hand infections is essential. When seen early, some infections can be treated with antibiotics, local rest, elevation and other nonoperative measures.
A mallet finger is a deformity of the finger caused when the tendon that straightens your finger (extensor tendon) is damaged.
Nerves are the “telephone wiring” system that carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. A nerve is like a telephone cable wrapped in insulation. An outer layer of tissue forms a cover to protect the nerve, just like the insulation surrounding a telephone cable. A nerve contains millions of individual fibers grouped in bundles within the “insulated cable.”
Psoriasis is a skin disease in which patients have dry, red and scaly skin rashes that can occur on any part of the body. Between 5-20% of patients with psoriasis may develop an associated arthritis. Arthritis means inflamed joint. A normal joint consists of two cartilage-covered bone surfaces that glide smoothly against one another. In psoriatic arthritis, the lining of the joint-the synovium-becomes inflamed and swollen. Read More.
SKIN CANCER OF THE HAND AND UPPER EXTREMITY
Skin cancer is a change in some of the cells of your skin such that they grow abnormally to form a malignant tumor. These abnormal cells can invade through the skin into adjacent structures or travel throughout your body and become implanted in other organs and continue to grow, a process called metastasis.
The hands, being composed of many types of tissue, including blood vessels, nerves, skin and skin-related tissues, bones, and muscles/tendons/ligaments, may show changes that reflect a disease that affects other parts of, or even the whole body (systemic diseases). The hands may show changes noticed by the patient or his/her hand surgeon even before the systemic disease is detected.
Trigger finger/thumb occurs when the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick and constricting around the tendon, making it hard for the tendon to move freely through the pulley. Sometimes the tendon develops a nodule (knot) or swelling of its lining. Because of the increased resistance to the gliding of the tendon through the pulley, one may feel pain, popping, or a catching feeling in the finger or thumb. Read More.
Vascular disorders of the upper-extremity are uncommon, but ones that may have lasting implications. Arteries bring oxygenated blood from the heart to the fingertips and veins return the used blood back to the heart and lungs. At the level of the wrist 2 major arteries bring blood into the hand: the radial and ulnar arteries. Variations in the anatomy are common, though, which may affect the way blood flow ultimately reaches each finger. Read More.
Mid Cities Hand Surgeon
Dr. Van Wyk is a mid cities hand surgeon actively practicing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since 1977. Dr. Van Wyk is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and has practiced in that specialty. He passed the added qualification in hand surgery exam and has limited his practice to 100% hand and upper extremity surgery.
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Whatever the reason you seek treatment, you'll find superb care at the offices of Dr. William Van Wyk. Put yourself on the road to recovery. Call us today at 817-877-3113 for an appointment.
Please Note: The medical information contained on this website is provided to increase your knowledge and understanding of hand and upper extremity problems or conditions. This information should not be interpreted as the Van Wyk Hand Center’s recommendation for a specific medical or surgical treatment plan.
Material modified from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.