Summary: If you’re experiencing hand pain, your very first thought might be this: why does my hand hurt? It’s a sensible question. Discovering the source of your hand pain is going to be the first step in solving whatever the root cause of that pain might be. That’s why hand specialists and hand surgeons are there to help patients discover and treat whatever may be causing their hand pain.
Why Does My Hand Hurt?
If you’re experiencing hand pain of any kind your first thought is probably: why does my hand hurt? That’s because a significant number of hand ailments are caused by what’s happening beneath the surface. In no small part, that’s because the hands themselves are so incredibly useful. You’re always using your hands.
Finding Sources of Hand Pain
So when even a small thing goes wrong, you tend to notice it. Unfortunately, identifying the cause of that paint can be a little bit harder. When you experience chronic or significant hand pain, you first step should really be to seek out the assistance of a medical professional. In some cases, this will mean a trip to your doctor.
And your doctor may refer you, then, to a hand specialist or a hand surgeon. In medicine, just about everything is specialized. And your hand is no different. That’s because even though your hands might look simple, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. A highly qualified hand surgeon will have the best chance at diagnosing and solving your particular hand ailment, whatever it might be. So when you ask, why does my hand hurt, you should likely direct that question to a doctor that specializes in hands.
Possible Causes for Hand Pain
When you’re looking into possible causes for hand pain, that pain is itself usually divided into two separate categories: chronic or acute.
- Chronic hand pain is any hand pain that is consistent over a longer period of time. This is pain you experience every day or every hour. Chronic pain is not typically characterized by sudden increases in the amount of pain. In other words, the pain is pretty steady, but it’s consistently present.
- Acute hand pain is going to be shorter term. And this acute pain will usually go away as the hand heals. This is the type of pain you experience from a cut or laceration.
Chronic and acute pain are not mutually exclusive, of course, but surgeons will usually use the pain type to try to narrow down the possibilities in terms of a diagnosis. Chronic pain points to certain problems, whereas acute pain might be caused by a different set of issues.
As time goes by, it might be difficult to tell chronic and acute pain apart, as they can certainly reinforce one another. A chronic condition could cause a secondary injury that causes acute pain. An acute condition can, over time, cause complications that create chronic pain. The sooner you see a doctor about your pain, the better.
Possible Causes of Hand Pain?
There are some obvious and not so obvious causes of hand pain. Clearly, if you cut your hand while chopping onions, you’re going to cause a small injury. But the hand is an interesting part of your anatomy, in that even a shallow cut can cause significant injuries to your hand. The problem is that everything is so tightly packed into your hand–and so close to the surface. That’s why it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible even for a seemingly shallow laceration.
But there are injuries that can happen to your hand without an obvious cause. For example, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by inflammation of the tendons within the wrist. The cause of this inflammation is anecdotally said to be caused by repetitive motion, though that’s been difficult to prove in more controlled studies.
But the point is that there are plenty of nerves, tendons, and ligaments in your hand, each of which has an important task. When any one of those parts of your hand hits a roadblock, you can experience pain. And your body has kind of an unhelpful feedback loop there. Injury causes inflammation, which causes pain and more injury.
A Hand Surgeon Can Help
In some cases, your hand injury will be so severe that you require surgery. In some ways, that’s because of the inflammation and how often you use your hands. It’s just difficult for an injury to heal on its own because you use your hands so often throughout your daily life.
That’s why many patients come to rely on a highly qualified hand surgeon in order to get relief from their symptoms. A surgeon will usually be able to repair the damage (depending, of course, on what the damage is in the first place) and help patients start the healing process. For many, that means being able to actually use their hands in a meaningful way again.
As with many issues that cause pain, the sooner you get your hands looked at, the easier they are to treat. Ignoring hand pain is almost never a good idea. So if you’re asking, why does my hand hurt, it’s a good idea to see a hand doctor and get a real answer as quickly as possible.