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5 Soft Tissue Injuries That Cause Hand Pain

5 Soft Tissue Injuries That Cause Hand Pain

Your hand is a hard-working part of your anatomy — sometimes, you don’t even realize that it’s working. For instance, as you read this blog, you’re likely blissfully unaware of the tendons, muscles, and ligaments at work behind each scroll of your thumb. 

Your hand has over 30 muscles and over 100 ligaments and tendons, and they all work together to keep its 27 bones and 27 joints in full working order.

So, it shouldn’t surprise you when we say a lot can go wrong in your hand, especially with all the work it puts in on a daily basis.

Hand pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to your body's muscles, tendons, ligaments, or other soft tissues — and your hand has a lot of soft tissue. 

Here, our team at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine highlights just five of the most common soft tissue injuries that cause hand pain.

1. Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, a long nerve that runs from your forearm to your hand, becomes compressed within the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in your wrist that houses and protects the median nerve and other soft and connective tissues. 

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling, and pain in hand and fingers, particularly the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Some even experience pain that shoots up the forearm.

2. Flexor tendon tear

The flexor tendons in your hand are cord-like structures that run from your forearm and cross your wrist and palm on their way to your fingers. They're responsible for allowing you to bend your fingers and thumb, make a fist, and grasp objects — pretty important jobs, if you ask us.

Injuries to your flexor tendons usually stem from cuts on your arm, wrist, hand, or fingers. Certain high-contact sports like football, wrestling, and rugby also put you at risk of tearing the tendon from your bones. 

Flexor tendon tears are usually incredibly painful and are accompanied by an inability to bend one or more of your fingers. 

3. Trigger finger

Tendons run from the muscles in your wrist and hand to the bones in your fingers and thumbs. Surrounding these tendons are tendon sheaths. When these sheaths become inflamed, trigger finger, or tenosynovitis, occurs. The inflamed sheath causes your finger to lock, catch, or “trigger” suddenly when you bend or straighten it. It can cause pain in the finger and hand, especially when grasping objects.

4. Mallet finger injury

Mallet finger injury (also called baseball finger) impacts the thin tendon that straightens the end joint of a finger or thumb. It usually stems from a direct blow to the tip of your finger or thumb, such as a baseball screaming into your glove, or a minor force like tucking in a tight bed sheet. In addition to pain, you'll notice swelling and bruising. Your fingertip may even droop noticeably. 

5. Dupuytren’s contracture

Dupuytre’'s contracture occurs when the tissue beneath the skin on the palm of your hand thickens and tightens, causing one or more fingers to curl or bend in toward your palm. 

Many point to genetics as the main culprit behind this condition, but it can also be linked to cigarette smoking, alcoholism, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, and even medications used to treat seizures. It can cause pain and stiffness when writing, particularly when straightening the affected fingers.

A helping hand

We know how debilitating hand pain can be and how complicated its causes are. We thoroughly evaluate your symptoms and treatment goals before making our treatment recommendations. Treatments for hand pain depend on the underlying condition or injury and usually include rest, physical therapy, medication, and, in the most severe cases, surgery. 

If you’re experiencing hand pain, don't wait to get help. Consult with one of our experts to determine the underlying cause, develop an appropriate treatment plan, and keep your hand from suffering long-term consequences. Call or click to schedule an appointment at either our Toms River or Shrewsbury, New Jersey, office. 

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