What is Pain in Palm of Hands?
Pain in palm of hands can be experienced when there is damage to the structures in the palm of hands. These structures in the palm of hands include bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissues.
Any damage or injury caused to these structures or any medical conditions that affect these structures can result in pain in palm of hands. Sometimes, pain in palm of hands can be referred pain, being felt as a result of an injury or damage of structures in another location.
Pain in palm of hands can be felt as a sharp, shooting pain in the palm or as a dull, aching pain. It can range from slight discomfort to severe pain depending on the cause.
Sensations Accompanied by Pain in Palm of Hands
The pain in palm of hands can be accompanied with different sensations like burning, stabbing, throbbing or sometimes even weakening type of pain. The nature, severity and duration of pain in palm of hands vary widely and needs to be evaluated properly to provide appropriate treatment.
Causes of Pain in Palm of Hands
Injuries Can Cause Pain in Palm of Hands
Injuries of various types can cause trauma to the bones and soft tissues of the palms and hands, causing pain in palm of hands. Some common injuries are:
- Fractures of the bones of the hands or palms and dislocations.
- Sprain and strain of hand muscles, ligaments and soft tissues.
- Injury or damage to the tendon in the hand causing inflammation and swelling of tendon sheath (e.g. de Quervain's syndrome).
- Overuse injury to the hand joints and tissues of the palms.
- Injury to the cervical vertebrae (neck bones), intervertebral disc causing disc protrusion or nerve compression.
- Injury to the nerves of the hands can cause pain in palm of hands with numbness and tingling.
- Injuries to the skin on the palm like insect bites, stings, etc. on the skin of palms too can cause pain in palm of hands, which can be of burning, stinging types on the skin over the palms.
- Burns, scalds or wounds to the skin on the palms can cause pain in palm of hands.
Joint Conditions That Can Cause Pain in Palm of Hands
Joint related conditions that affect hands, wrists and small joints can cause pain in palm of hands.
Arthritis of various types including:
- Osteoarthritis (joint wear and tear),
- Rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune condition),
- Septic arthritis (infection) and others.
Nerve Conditions That Can Cause Pain in Palm of Hands
Conditions affecting nerves, causing degeneration or compression like cervical spondylosis, peripheral neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome (a nerve passing through the wrist gets compressed). Medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, obesity or phases like pregnancy can cause nerve compression and pain in palm of hands.
Infections That Can Cause Pain in Palm of Hands
Bacterial, viral or other infections that affect skin and tissues of the hands, which include boils, cellulitis, contagious infections that affect the skin on the palms or hands or infections of the nails can cause pain in palm of hands.
Other Conditions That Can Cause Pain in Palm of Hands
Other conditions like cysts, tumors, disorders of the blood vessels and skin can cause pain in palm in hands. Fibromyalgia often has trigger points and some areas in the palm or fingers can be painful.
Sometimes, more serious conditions affecting important nerves or conditions like stroke, heart attack too can cause pain in palm of hands and often need immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Pain in Palm of Hands
Pain in palm of hands can be felt on the palmar surface or on the surface behind. It may also be associated with wrist pain, hand and arm pain. Neck pain and difficulty in movements may also be present if neck is involved. Signs of bruising, injuries, stings, burns or boils may be present in case of injuries.
Nerve involvement may present with tingling, numbness and sometimes weakness. There may be difficulty in gripping objects, making fine movements of fingers, pain in small joints of fingers, joint stiffness, swelling or deformities in joints, etc. Signs of infection, presence of fever, etc. may be noted.
Diagnosis of Pain in Palm of Hands
Diagnosis of pain in palm of hands can be made after thorough history taking and clinical examination. Investigations may include blood work to detect presence of inflammation, infection and joint problems. X-rays, CT scans, MRI and nerve studies may be done. If joint swelling is present, fluid aspiration may be considered.
Treatment for Pain in Palm of Hands
Treatment of pain in palm of hands usually depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Insect bites and local injuries are treated with appropriate first aid and wound care. Trauma to bones and soft tissues may need pain killers, rest and compression. Skin problems and infections may be treated with local application and oral antibiotics.
Nerve and joint problems may require anti-inflammatories, nerve regeneration medicines. For emergency cases, first aid and immediate hospitalization is considered. Surgical correction may be considered in cases where compression of nerves, blood vessels, etc. is present.