Everyone has had a minor problem with a finger, hand, or wrist. Most of the
time our body movements do not cause problems, but it's not surprising that
symptoms occur from everyday wear and tear or from overuse. Finger, hand, or wrist
problems can also be caused by injuries or the natural process of aging.
Your fingers, hands, or wrists may burn, sting, or hurt, or feel tired, sore,
stiff, numb, tingly, hot, or cold. Maybe you can't move them as well as usual,
or they are swollen. Perhaps your hands have turned a different color, such as
red, pale, or blue. A lump or bump might have appeared on your wrist, palm, or
fingers. Home treatment is often all that is needed to relieve your
Finger, hand, or wrist problems may be caused by an
injury. If you think an injury caused your problem, see the topic
Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries. But there are many
other causes of finger, hand, or wrist problems.
Tendon pain is
actually a symptom of tendinosis, a series of very small tears (microtears) in
the tissue in or around the
tendon. In addition to pain and tenderness, common
symptoms of tendon injury include decreased strength and movement in the
Dupuytren's disease is an abnormal thickening of tissue beneath the skin in the palm
of the hand or hands and occasionally the soles of the feet. The thickened skin
and tendons (palmar fascia) may eventually limit movement or cause the fingers
to bend so that they can't be straightened. See a picture of
Ganglion cysts are small sacs (cysts) filled with
clear, jellylike fluid that often appear as bumps on the hands and wrists but
can also develop on feet, ankles, knees, or shoulders. See a picture of a
Lupus is a long-lasting autoimmune
disease in which the immune system attacks normal body tissues as though they
were foreign substances. It may cause joint pain.
Gout is an inflammatory joint disease that causes
acute pain and swelling. It is a form of arthritis that develops when uric acid
crystals form in and around the joints, commonly affecting the big toe
Raynaud's phenomenon is a condition in
which some areas of the body, usually the fingers or toes, have an extreme
response to cold temperature or emotional stress. During an attack of
Raynaud's, the blood vessels in the affected areas tighten, severely limiting
the flow of blood to the skin, causing numbness, tingling, swelling, pain,
and pale color.
Infection can cause pain, redness, and
swelling that occur with red streaking, heat, fever, or the drainage of pus. An
infection often causes tenderness to the touch or pain with movement at the
site of the infection.
Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
Carefully read and follow all directions
on the medicine bottle and box.
The following tips may prevent finger,
hand, and wrist problems.
Do exercises that strengthen your hand and arm
Stop, change, or take a break from activities that cause
Reduce the speed and force of repetitive movements
in activities such as hammering, typing, knitting, quilting, sweeping, raking,
playing racquet sports, or rowing.
Change positions when holding
objects, such as a book or playing cards, for any length of
Use your whole hand to grasp an object. Gripping with only
your thumb and index finger can stress your wrist.
When you work
with tools that vibrate, consider using special gloves that support the wrist
and have vibration-absorbing padding.
Wear protective gear, such as
wrist guards, in sports activities.
Protect your hands from cold
Wear gloves anytime it is cool
Use an insulated cover when you drink from a cold
Avoid caffeine (coffee, cola, tea, chocolate) and tobacco
products. Nicotine and caffeine cause blood vessels to narrow, which decreases
blood flow to the hands.
Eat a hot meal before going out. Eating
raises your body temperature and helps keep you warm.
Work posture and body mechanics
Organize your work so that you can change your
position occasionally while maintaining a comfortable
Position your work so you do not have to turn excessively
to either side.
Keep your shoulders relaxed when your arms are
hanging by your sides.
When using a keyboard, keep your forearms
parallel to the floor or slightly lowered and keep your fingers lower than your
wrists. Allow your arms and hands to move freely. Take frequent breaks to
stretch your fingers, hands, wrist, shoulders, and neck. If you use a wrist pad
during breaks from typing, it's best to rest your palm or the heel of your hand
on the support, rather than your wrist.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.