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What Are the Most Common Causes of Pain in the Back of the Hand?

A model of a human hand.
Pain in the hands may be caused by arthritis.
Carpal tunnel syndrome may cause pain in the back of the hand.
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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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There are several different issues that commonly lead to pain in the back of the hand. Injuries that damage the skin, muscle, or bones are a frequent culprit. Disorders that cause compression of nerves running through the arms and hands can also be to blame. Arthritis in the joints of the hand is another common cause, and some people may also develop painful issues with the tendons in their hands.

Pain in the hand is often the result of an injury to the area. Contusions or bruises may develop for a wide range of reasons; for example, a heavy object might be dropped on the hand or it could be hit against a hard surface. A severe enough blow may even lead to a painful fracture in the bones along the back of the hand.

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Nerve compression is another frequent cause of hand pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome, where the median nerve that passes through the wrist to the hand is compressed, is often the problem; this disorder frequently develops in people who make repetitive movements with their hands and wrists or who often use tools that vibrate. Another disorder known as radial tunnel syndrome, or posterior interosseous nerve syndrome, is the result of pinching of the radial nerve in the elbow or back of the forearm, and can lead to sharp, stabbing pain in the back of the hand. In some cases, the nerve is actually damaged; this is known as radial neuropathy, and it can lead to long-term pain as well as loss of some sensation in the hand.

Another common cause of pain in the hands is arthritis. This disease, which causes inflammation and damage in joints, can affect many different areas in the hand, and typically becomes progressively more degenerative and painful over time. There are different types of arthritis that are often associated with the hands, but the most common is osteoarthritis, which often affects older people.

Tendon problems in the hands may also lead to pain. Two common disorders that affect the hands are tendonitis and tenosynovitis. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendons themselves, while tenosynovitis causes inflammation of the sheaths around them. Frequently the result of strain or overuse, tendon issues typically lead to swelling, irritation, and pain in the hands.

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Discuss this Article

MrsPramm
Post 3

My friend dislocated her fingers a long time ago, but she often complains about the back of her hand and pain that starts before the weather is about to change.

She finds that an ice pack can make it a bit more bearable, and she often takes a couple of anti-inflammatory tablets as well.

indigomoth
Post 2

@Mor - It can cause permanent damage after a while if you don't change your habits. There are several things you can do if you want to take better care of your hands. Most people know that there are better keyboards that you can get, but there is also the choice of changing your original keyboard layout to one that's more friendly to your fingers. It can be confusing at first, but I've heard it's worth it in the end.

The best thing you can do, though, is try to stretch out your hands every now and then so that they aren't held in the same position all the time. There are plenty of guides to hand exercises online and you can look up other kinds of office exercises while you're at it.

Mor
Post 1

I get a lot of wrist pain and pain in the backs of my hands when I type too much. It's particularly bad if I try to do too much typing on my laptop and sit with it on my lap.

I know it's because I bend my hands back a little bit too much and I should get a better keyboard, but I never seem to get around to it.

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