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Learn about your severe hand pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your severe hand pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Severe Hand Pain Checker

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Your Severe Hand Pain May Also be Known as:
Extreme hand pain
Hand extremely painful
Hand hurts extremely
Hand hurts severely
Hand hurts unbearably
Hand hurts very badly
Hand is extremely painful
Hand severely painful
Hand unbearably painful

Top 5 Severe Hand Pain Causes

  1. 1.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent permanent nerve damage. Your doctor will diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome with a physical exam and special nerve tests. Treatment includes resting your hand, splints, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines. If symptoms do not improve with these less invasive treatments, your physician may recommend surgery.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, pain in one hand, weakness in one hand
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow

    Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow is the compression of the ulnar nerve, causing numbness and/or weakness in the hands.

    You should visit your primary care physician. Diagnosis is made by looking at your symptoms and confirmed with a test of the nerves. Treatment depends on severity. If no weakness, splinting and physical therapy. If weakness, surgery to decompress the nerve.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    hand weakness, pain in one hand, numbness in one hand, weakness in one hand, pain in one elbow
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Severe Hand Pain Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having severe hand pain.

    Take a quiz
  3. 3.Normal Hand Pain

    Hand pain not caused by injury or surgery that is a variation of normal.

    Your hand pain is normal and unlikely to be caused by a serious illness. Your elbow pain is normal and unlikely to be caused by a serious illness. You can try over the counter pain medication like Tylenol. If the pain becomes severe, see a physician.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    hand pain
    Symptoms that always occur with normal hand pain:
    hand pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

    Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is the compression of the nerves and/or blood vessels that run through the upper chest. It can occur as a result of trauma, surgery, growths in the body, or just randomly.

    You should seek medical care soon to determine whether the compression is of the nerve or the blood vessels. You may need imaging using x-rays, CTs of the blood streams, or MRIs. Treatment depends on the extent of the injury, but usually includes physical therapy. Surgical treatment may be required if a blood vessel is compressed.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, arm weakness, pain in one shoulder blade, arm numbness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Brachial Plexopathy

    The brachial plexus is a complex nerve network located in the upper chest deep to the collar bone, which supplies the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand. Damage to the brachial plexus is usually due to mechanical injury or trauma, and can interfere with normal nerve function causing numbness, pain, and/or weakness.

    You should visit your primary care physician to discuss these symptoms. It is likely the doctor will perform a thorough physical exam, and in many cases refer you to a specialist, physical therapist, or both. A professional evaluation is very important, as surgical treatment might be required for a brachial plexus nerve injury.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one arm, shoulder pain that shoots to the arm, arm weakness, numbness in one arm, shoulder pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Severe Hand Pain

  • Q.How long has your hand pain been going on?
  • Q.Is your hand pain constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.Push the backs of your hands together like in this picture, and hold for 1 minute. Do you notice any numbness, tingling, or pain in either of your fingers/hands? (This is called the Phalen's maneuver.)
  • Q.Lightly tap on your inner wrist. Does this cause your symptoms to reappear?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our severe hand pain symptom checker.

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Severe Hand Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced severe hand pain have also experienced:

    • 18% Joint Stiffness
    • 18% Hand Swelling
    • 18% Hand Tingling
  • People who have experienced severe hand pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 40% Over a Month
    • 23% Less Than a Day
    • 17% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced severe hand pain were most often matched with:

    • 42% Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    • 28% Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow
    • 28% Normal Hand Pain

Severe Hand Pain Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having severe hand pain.

Take a quiz