Most of the things we do with our hands come as second nature. It’s not until you have pain or an injury that you really start to realize just how much you use your hands throughout the day. There are many different injuries and other afflictions of the hand but we are going to give you the top four orthopedic conditions that could be the cause of your hand pain. Here is a quick and easy guide to help you identify why you may be experiencing pain, and some of the treatment options that could work for you. Get ready to get a handle on your hand pain. In no particular order, here we go:

De Quervain’s

What is De Quervain’s you may ask? De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is inflammation of the tendons around the base of the thumb.

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  • Chronic overuse of the wrist
  • Repetitive movements
  • Previous Injury

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain and/or swelling near the base of your thumb
  • Discomfort when turning your wrist, grasping or making a fist
  • Difficulty moving thumb while grasping or pinching
  • A “sticking” feeling when trying to move your thumb

Risk Factors:

  • Age: you have a higher risk between the ages of 30 and 50
  • Gender: Sorry ladies! The risk of De Quervain’s is higher for you
  • Baby Care: lifting your baby repeatedly may increase your risk
  • Jobs or hobbies that require repetitive movements

Treatment Options:

  • Rest
  • Ice or OTC’s (Advil, Aleve, etc.) to reduce pain and swelling
  • Corticosteriod injections
  • Splinting to rest the thumb
  • Surgery- in cases where conservative treatment did not provide long term relief

Trigger Finger

Do any of your fingers get stuck or catch when you move them? You may have stenosing tenosynovitis, more commonly referred to as, Trigger Finger. Trigger Finger is a condition where the tendon is stuck and causes the finger to jerk or snap when the finger is straightened or bent. It occurs when the sheath that protects a tendon becomes inflamed or irritated.


  • The cause is generally unknown but it is a common problem
  • Inflammation or scarring of the tendon sheath around the flexor tendons can impede the tendon’s ability to glide and cause it to “stick”


  • Finger stiffness and swelling
  • A catching or popping sensation when you move your finger
  • Tenderness or lump at the base of your hand
  • Pain when bending or straightening your finger

Risk Factors:

  • Age: you have a higher risk if you are between the ages of 40 and 60
  • Gender: more common in women than men
  • More common if you are diabetic or have rheumatoid arthritis
  • You’ve had a previous hand injury
  • High volume of activities that strain the hand

Treatment Options:

  • Rest: Avoid gripping activities for three to four weeks
  • Ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Splinting at night
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Wrist Pain[1]

We’re sure you’ve heard of carpal tunnel syndrome and know that it typically presents itself as pain or numbness/tingling in the hands. But you probably don’t know why these symptoms are occuring. On the palm side of your wrist there is a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel which protects a main nerve to your hand. When the tunnel is narrowed the nerve gets pinched it produces the symptoms that characterize carpal tunnel syndrome.


  • Trauma or injury that causes swelling
  • Diabetes
  • Fluid retention
  • Small carpal tunnel
  • Repeated use of vibrating hand tools

Signs and Symptoms

  • Burning, tingling, or itching in the palm of the hand and fingers
  • Numbness in hand or fingers (all fingers except the little finger)
  • Decreased grip strength and weakness

Risk Factors

  • Gender: Women are at a higher risk due to the carpal tunnel areas being smaller
  • More common if you are diabetic or have rheumatoid arthritis
  • Working with vibrating tools or doing activities that require prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist

Treatment Options:

  • Wrist splinting
  • Over the counter pain medications
  • Stretching and strengthening
  • Corticosteroid Injections
  • Carpal Tunnel surgery

CMC Arthritis

CMC Arthritis occurs in your thumb carpometacarpal joint. You may also hear CMC arthritis referred to as “thumb arthritis”, and it occurs when the cartilage at the end of the bones that make up your carpometacarpal (or thumb) joint wears away.


  • Aging
  • Previous Injury

Signs and Symptoms

  • Severe pain at the base of your thumb
  • Swelling, stiffness, or tenderness
  • Decreased strength when pinching or grasping
  • Decreased range of motion

Risk Factors

  • Gender: Women have a higher risk
  • Age: increased risk if over 40
  • Injuries to the thumb joint
  • Activities and jobs that put high stress on the thumb joint

Treatment Options

  • Splinting for support and to limit movement
  • Over the Counter pain relievers
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Surgery when all else fails

There you have it! A quick, and hopefully pain free guide to some of the top orthopedic hand injuries and ailments. There are of course many other injuries that can affect the hand, such as fractures and sprains, which are also treated at the Orthopedic and Shoulder Center. In addition to our Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Lawrence Li, we have two Certified Hand Therapists who will help you get the use of the hands back. If you are experiencing hand pain call our office to make an appointment with Dr. Li and the staff at Orthopedic and Shoulder Center. Get a handle on your hand pain today!