Hand Pain: A Comprehensive Guide

When hand pain strikes, it can end up affecting everything that you do.

The pain is an unwelcome guest, making it hard to do everyday tasks like buttoning your shirt, holding a cup, or typing on a keyboard.

We at Coeur Physiotherapy understand your frustration and agony. We know how this pain hinders your mobility, limits your independence, and even impacts your work performance.

What Causes Hand Pain?

Hand pain can be caused by a variety of factors. It could be due to a recent injury or a chronic condition like arthritis. Sometimes, repetitive motions, such as typing or any activity that involves the use of your hands excessively, can lead to hand pain. In some cases, health issues like diabetes and the side effects of pregnancy can cause hand pain. Since the root causes are diverse, it’s crucial to get an accurate diagnosis, which only a trained medical professional like a physiotherapist can provide.

Symptoms of Hand Pain

Aside from the obvious pain, other symptoms might signal an issue with your hand. These may include stiffness, swelling, or a sensation of pins and needles. You may also experience difficulty in gripping objects or a reduced range of motion. The severity and frequency of these symptoms can vary depending on the underlying cause, making it important to pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Common Types of Hand Pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This condition is caused by pressure on the median nerve at your wrist, leading to numbness, tingling, and pain in your hand.


Overuse of the hand can lead to inflammation in the tendons of your wrist, hand, or thumb, resulting in pain, swelling, and discomfort.

Ganglion Cyst

These are benign lumps that usually form along the tendons or joints of your wrists and hands, often causing pain and discomfort.

Trigger Finger

This condition causes one or more fingers to get stuck in a bent position, causing pain and stiffness.


Dupuytren's contracture

A condition that causes one or more fingers to bend into the palm, leading to hand pain.


After age 40 or following significant trauma, osteoarthritis can be a cause of persisting hand pain. Hand pain can also be one of the main symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. The condition leads to pain in multiple joints in the hand, making movements stiff and difficult. 
Read more about when your hand pain may mean arthritis in this article from the Arthritis Foundation.

How to Treat Hand Pain

The treatment of hand pain largely depends on its cause. In some cases exercise and progressive loading is the best course, though other conditions require a period of rest and occasionally need an immobilizing brace or splint. Some hand conditions may require surgery, and your physiotherapist can help determine when a consultation with a surgeon or specialist may be required.

Physiotherapy is often a key component of the treatment plan, helping to reduce pain, increase strength, and improve mobility. This might involve exercises, manual therapy, and advice on managing your condition at home.

Research Recommends..
Can Physiotherapy be just as effective as Surgery in the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Sundrome?

 A 2017 randomized controlled-trial looked at 50 patients who had Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery versus 50 who received only physiotherapy, including manual therapy and exercise.  Both groups showed significant improvement in pain, strength, and function, and the physio group showed just as much improvement as the surgical group.  Both groups remained improved a year after the treatments, showing that rehabilitation can lead to long-term relief in people experiencing pain and numbness from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gentle range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises can help in many cases. However, it’s best to consult with a physiotherapist to get a tailored exercise plan.

Yes, by maintaining good posture, taking frequent breaks from repetitive tasks, and using ergonomic tools, you can reduce your risk of hand pain.

It can be. Persistent hand pain accompanied by stiffness or swelling could be a sign of arthritis, however there are many other causes that should be ruled out first.

Absolutely. Physiotherapy can help manage hand pain effectively by addressing the underlying issue that led to the pain and improving strength, flexibility, and function.

This is a big question with many factors! Proper conservative treatment may include physiotherapy, splints or bracing, medication, and in some cases, surgery, but most people will be able to achieve a significant level of relief.

If you have had an acute trauma to your hand, such as a recent fall, blow, or car accident and have significant pain, swelling, or any deformity, you should see your doctor immediately as you may need an x-ray to see if you have a fracture.  In more chronic or persisting hand pain, x-rays can sometimes be part of the diagnostic process, but should rarely be the first step.  After a thorough clinical exam a physiotherapist can advise if x-rays or other imaging would be helpful, and in some cases can order them for you.

Your Next Steps

At Coeur Physiotherapy, we understand the negative impact hand pain can have on your life. Our team of experienced physiotherapists is ready to work with you to alleviate your pain and restore your hand function. 

Remember, hand pain is not something to be endured quietly. Let us help you regain control of your life, one step at a time. 

Don’t let hand pain dictate your life. Reach out to us to discuss your symptoms and start on a path to recovery. 

You can book an appointment online or call us at 587-200-8992. Your healing journey can begin today.

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