There’s a certain amount of ache you might expect with age and overuse of some body parts, but if pain in one or both hands affects much of your day, it might be time to see a specialist for relief.
Dr. Michael Aron, an orthopedic doctor specializing in hands with the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute, suggested gauging the pain and tracking when it occurs and for how long before becoming alarmed.
“Sometimes people experience intermittent pain in their hand or hands. If that starts to happen more often, it might be cause for concern,” he said, adding that injuries should be checked immediately so pain can be addressed.
Indications that you might need medical attention for your hand, he added, include feeling:
- Sharp pain, either in the hand, wrist or finger.
- Pain when you move your hand or wrist.
- Loss of strength.
- Weakness, stiffness or numbness, often that extends into the arm and shoulder.
- Burning or stinging sensation in the hand.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar – or if the pain lasts more than two or three weeks or seems to be slowly getting worse — Dr. Aron suggested talking with your primary care provider first. You may then be referred to a hand specialist for treatment.
“Ignored pain does not often go away. It’s important to have it looked into,” he said.
Pain in the hand can stem from:
- Arthritis, which can prove to be chronic.
- Illness such as rheumatoid arthritis or Lyme disease.
- Nerve problems like carpal tunnel, which can be caused by repetitive motion, or a pinched nerve in the neck.
There are a variety of ways hand pain can be addressed, depending on its source and severity, Dr. Aron said.
“Most people do not need surgery,” he said. “We can usually get people better by using the right brace, doing the proper exercises, sometimes with therapy and sometimes with a cortisone injection.
“The most important thing is getting the right diagnosis.”
For more information on help for hand pain at Hartford HealthCare’s Bone & Joint Institute, click here.