Hand pain becomes common as we get older. Tingling and numbness, aching or locking joints, and difficulty grasping objects are frequent complaints. But don’t make your own diagnosis and suffer in silence. “It’s difficult to discern between different types of hand pain. Some have overlapping symptoms,” says Dr. Sang-Gil Lee, a hand surgeon at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Lee advises that you seek treatment as soon as possible for persistent hand pain, before it gets so advanced that it’s tough to use your hands for even the simplest jobs, like brushing your teeth or buttoning a shirt.
The following are common types of hand pain and their treatments.
Osteoarthritis is the wearing away of cartilage in the joints. Any joint is susceptible. However, in the fingers, it’s typically the last joint before the fingernail that’s affected. On the thumb, it’s usually the joint at the base of the hand. Symptoms include stiffness and pain that goes away with rest. “What causes pain is the restriction of gliding motion. It causes inflammation,” explains Dr. Lee. To diagnose osteoarthritis, your doctor may order an x-ray to look at the bones.