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What Can Cause Pain in the Palm of the Hands?

Pain in the Palms of the Hand or Palm Pain can be caused due to various medical conditions. It can be caused due to some kind of an injury or damage to the tendons, bones, joints, or nerves in the palm of the hand. Pain in the Palms of the Hand may be constant or intermittent. The constant or intermittent pain depends on cause of the pain. In few cases, hand activities and movement increases intensity of pain. Pain in the palm may restrict the closing and opening the palm that often interferes with daily use of hand. The characteristic of pain in the palm of the hand may range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain. Most sharp stabbing pain are severe in nature.

Sometimes, pain in the palm of the hand may be a referred pain and caused by diseases of spine and nerve in the neck. Pain in the palm of the hand can be unilateral or bilateral depending on the disease and cause of pain. One of the common causes of bilateral palm pain is arthritis. Trauma to the hand or hand injury in most cases causes unilateral pain in the palm of the hand.

What Can Cause Pain in the Palm of the Hands

What Can Cause Pain in the Palm of the Hands?

  1. Injury of Wrist And Hand Resulting In Pain In The Palm

    1. Laceration of skin of palm
    2. Laceration and tear of muscles of palm
    3. Tendon rupture and dislocation
    4. Tendon inflammation
    5. Ligament tear
    6. Fracture of metacarpal bone and wrist bone
    7. Dislocation of wrist and metacarpal joint.
  2. Soft Tissue Inflammation Resulting In Pain In The Palm

    1. Tendonitis
    2. Myalgia
    3. Ligament inflammation
    4. Osteoarthritis
    5. Rheumatoid arthritis
  3. Neuromuscular Disorder Resulting In Pain In Palm

    1. Shingles or post herpetic neuralgia,
    2. Radicular pain,
    3. Carpal tunnel syndrome,
    4. Metacarpal bossing,
  4. Vasculitis of Hand And Wrist Resulting In Pain In The Palm

  5. Foreign Body Penetration On Palm Resulting In Pain

  6. Bee Sting Of Hand And Wrist Results In Pain In The Palm.

Pain in palm originates from diseases of nerves, vessels, bones, joints and soft tissue like muscle, tendon and ligaments. The diseases that causes pain are inflammation, infection, cancer and neuromuscular degenerative conditions. Medical conditions like diabetes or peripheral neuropathy can also cause pain in the palm of the hand. Below mentioned are some of the common causes of pain in the palm of the hand or palm pain:

  1. Pain in the Palm of the Hand Caused by Trauma or Injury

    1. Laceration of Skin of Palm-

      Skin laceration or abrasion is most common cause of pain in palm of the hand. The skin injury of palm is observed when individual stretches the arm while falling down or protects himself with stretched arm from flying object. Most impact to the skin of the palm causes split skin or laceration. The palm pain in such instance is moderate to severe in intensity and lasts for 7 to 10 days until wound is healed.

    2. Laceration And Tear Of Muscles Of Palm- The muscle of the hands can get injured following penetrating injury of the hand. Penetrating injury is observed during automobile accident, work accident, domestic fall and sport injuries. The muscles of the palm are lumbricals, thenar and hypothenar muscles.

      • Lumbricals Muscle- The muscle covers the metacarpal bone.
      • Thenar Muscle- Thenar muscle lies on base of the thumb.
      • Hypothenar Muscles- Hypothenar muscles lies at the base of the small finger.
    3. Tendon Rupture and Dislocation- Palm has several tendons that supports metatarsal bones and skin that covers the palm. The injury observe are laceration, tear and dislocation. The flexor tendons are covered by tendon sheath. The tear or laceration of tendon sheath disrupts the cohesive tendon contraction. The flexor tendons of the palm is also known as flexor digitorum profundus.

    4. Tendon Inflammation- The autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of tendon. Similarly, sharp contaminated object like needle when penetrate through skin into palm causes infection and inflammation of tendon.

    5. Ligament Tear- There are several ligaments in palm and wrist. Ligaments in wrist connects bones of wrist joint. The ligamental sprain of wrist joint is the most common injury. The wrist joint ligamental sprain causes pain in hand and palm. Most individual stretch their hand during the act of fall and the body weight is transmitted through out stretched arm and hand. During such act the ligament of wrist and hand gets stretched that results in laceration or tear of the ligament. The impact of wrist and palm during fall causes hyper extension of wrist that causes ligament sprain or tear.

    6. Fracture of Metacarpal Bone and Wrist Bone- The injury of wrist and hand causes fracture of wrist bones and metacarpal bones. Such injury results in pain in palm.

    7. Dislocation of Wrist and Metacarpal Joint- Dislocation of bones of wrist joint as well as joints form by metacarpal bones causes severe to very severe pain as well as deformity in palm.

  2. Soft Tissue Inflammation Resulting In Pain In The Palm

    1. Tendonitis- Tendonitis is a very painful condition caused by inflammation of tendon.4 The inflammation of tendon under the palm causes pain in palm. The pain intensity increases with movements of hands and pressure.
    2. Myalgia- The inflammation of lumbricals, thenar and hypothenar muscle causes pain over the wrist and palm. The inflammation of thenar muscle causes pain over palm and under the skin at base of thumb similarly, inflammation of hypothenar muscles causes pain over the base of little finger and ring finger as well as palm.
    3. Ligament Inflammation- Ligamental inflammation is known as ligamental sprain. The ligamental sprain causes severe pain and restricts all the activities of hand.
    4. Osteoarthritis- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative inflammatory disease. The pain localized over metacarpal and wrist joint. Joint deformity is observed.
    5. Rheumatoid Arthritis- Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. The inflammation affects joint cartilages, synovial membrane and joint capsule. The joint swelling often causes joint subluxation and deformity. Such anatomical deformities are observed in hand and wrist.
    6. Gout– Gout of hand and wrist is rare. Rarely gout does affects wrist joint and causes swelling as well as joint inflammation.
  3. Neuromuscular Disorder Resulting In Pain In Palm

    1. Shingles or Post Herpetic Neuralgia- Shingles causes inflammation of peripheral nerve. The shingles along the cervical nerve C6 and C7 causes eruption in hand and palm. The eruption and nerve inflammation causes shooting pain in palm.
    2. Radicular Pain- The irritation and pinch of cervical 6th and 7th causes severe pain along the nerve. The pain is observed over wrist and palm.
    3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome2– The wide spread of band of tough fibrous tissue across base of wrist joint is known as carpal tunnel. Band of fibrous tissue forms several tunnel for nerves, muscles and ligaments. Swelling or scarring of fibrous tissue causes pinch or compression of tendon and medial nerve. The median nerve irritation or pinch causes pain along the nerve pathway. Most pain is felt over wrist and palm as well as fingers.
    4. Metacarpal Bossing1– The bony lump occasionally seen over the palm. The condition is causes by inflammatory bony lump mostly located over second or third carpometacarpal joint.
  4. Vasculitis of Hand and Wrist Resulting in Pain in the Palm

    Vasculitis is also known as angitis and arteritis. The following inflammatory and autoimmune diseases causes vasculitis. Rarely isolated vasculitis of palm is observed. Following vascular diseases affects joint and multiple viscera as well as blood vessels of palm.3

    1. Behcet’s disease
    2. Buerger’s disease
    3. Kawasaki disease
    4. Talayasu’s disease
    5. Cung-Strauss syndrome
    6. Giant cell arteritis
    7. Cryoglobulinemia
    8. Granulomatosis and polyangitis
    9. Reynaud’s syndrome
  5. Foreign Body Penetration On Palm Resulting In Pain-

    Manual worker and metal worker often suffer through a painful penetration of sharp metal piece in palm.4 The contaminated and rusted metal causes serious infection if ignored for over 24 hours. The splinter is harmless but need immediate removal to prevent infection.

  6. Bee Sting Of Hand And Wrist5 Results In Pain In The Palm-

    Bee sting is frequently seen in farmer and children. The bee sting causes rapid development of inflammation of skin and subcutaneous tissue. The condition is painful.

When to see physician?

You should consult your physician or go to ER (emergency room) as soon as you see swelling in your palm following fall or injury. The swelling immediately following fall or injury is caused by bleeding under palm, dislocation or fracture of wrist or metacarpal bone. You should also consult your physician or visit ER if you see skin eruption or difficulties in hand movement.


  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome: Overview

    Created: November 5, 2014; Last Update: November 16, 2017; Next update: 2020., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279599/

  2. Diagnosis and treatment of swellings in the hand.

    Saiidy Hasham and Frank D Burke, Postgrad Med J. 2007 May; 83(979): 296–300.

  3. Vasculitis syndrome—diagnosis and therapy

    Takahiro Okazaki, MD, PhD, 1 Shoshi Shinagawa, MD, 1 and Hidenori Mikage, MD 1, J Gen Fam Med. 2017 Apr; 18(2): 72–78.

  4. Missed foreign bodies in the hand: an experience from a center in Kashmir

    Sajad Ahmad Salati* and Ajaz Rather, Libyan J Med. 2010; 5: 10.3402/ljm.v5i0.5083.

  5. Honey bee sting pain index by body location

    Michael L. Smith, PeerJ. 2014; 2: e338.

Pain in Palm of Hands

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 15, 2019

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