Hand pain is any discomfort in the hand. The median nerve is one of the three major nerves in the forearm. It is located on the palm side of your hand, providing sensation to the following parts of the hand:

  • Thumb
  • Index finger
  • Middle finger
  • Part of the ring finger
  • It also provides the electrical impulse to the muscle leading to the thumb.


Swelling in the hand causes the compression in carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed, or pinched. The pain is due to excess pressure in your wrist and on the median nerve. Other common causes include wrist injury, arthritis, and gout. Wrist swelling can occur and trigger carpal tunnel syndrome due to: performing repetitive tasks with your hands, such as typing, drawing, or sewing; being overweight, pregnant, or going through menopause; or having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, or an underachieve thyroid.


Common conditions and symptoms the doctors at IPM see are:

Wrist injury – include sprains, broken bones, and tendonitis
Causes of wrist injury include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Disfigured joints near the wrist

Gout – caused by a buildup of uric acid. Uric acid is a chemical produced when your body breaks down foods that contain organic compounds called purines. Most uric acid is dissolved in the blood and removed from the body through urination. In some cases, however, the body produces too much uric acid. The excess uric acid can be deposited in the joints, resulting in pain and swelling. This pain frequently occurs in the knees, ankles, wrists, and feet.
Causes of gout include:

  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Overeating
  • Certain medications, such as diuretics
  • Other conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease

Arthritis – an inflammation of the joints. The condition can cause swelling and stiffness in the affected part of the body
Causes of Arthritis include:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Aging
  • Overworking of the hands

Symptoms that may occur along with wrist pain include:

  • Swollen fingers
  • Difficulty making a fist or gripping objects
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the hands
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling that gets worse at night
  • Sudden, sharp pain in the hand
  • Swelling or redness around the wrist
  • Warmth in a joint near the wrist

Treatments for the Hand

Treatment options for hand pain can vary depending on the cause. If pain persists, please contact our pain specialists immediately.

Treating Carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Wearing a wrist brace or splint to reduce swelling and ease wrist pain
  • Applying hot or cold compresses for 10 to 20 minutes at a time
  • Taking anti-inflammatory or pain-reliving medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Surgery to repair the median nerve, in severe cases

Treating Gout:

  • Taking an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Drinking a lot of water to reduce the concentration of uric acid
  • Cutting back on high-fat foods and alcohol
  • Taking medication prescribed by your doctor to decrease the uric acid in your circulatory system

If you have sustained a wrist injury, you can help promote healing by:

  • Wearing a wrist splint
  • Resting your wrist and keeping it elevated
  • Taking a mild pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Placing an ice pack on the affected area for several minutes at a time to reduce the swelling and pain