You probably don’t realize how often you use your hands until they’re in pain. That’s why these warning signs in your hands can help you get treatment sooner, avoid chronic issues, and resolve situations before they’re too late. Because your hands can be pretty vital to your everyday life, especially if you’re not accustomed to functioning without 100% of their versatility.
It’s the Stealthy Warning Signs in Your Hands You Need to Watch
But there are any number of issues that can develop in your hand that might require treatment. Some of these issues are easy to spot—if you sever a finger in a table saw, that’s hard to ignore. But there are some hand issues that sneak up on you with symptoms that are easy to ignore.
Luckily, there are many hand ailments that can be treated, especially if you address them early. In some cases, those treatments will require hand surgery (hence, why we’re including this discussion on our website). So what warning signs in your hands should you be on the lookout for? Let’s make a handy list! (It should go without saying that this list is not intended to be a substitute for the opinions of a surgeon or qualified doctor—if you have any symptoms or doubts at all, go see a doctor!)
One sign that should always give you pause (and encourage you to schedule an appointment with a doctor) is numbness. Generally, numbness means that something is either happening to the blood supply or the nerves. When it comes to the hand, nerves are exceptionally important. All those nerves are what allow us the great deal of sensitivity and control that makes hands, well, useful.
Now, numbness in the hands could mean any number of things. If the numbness persists, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. But there’s a long list on WebMD in regards to what numb hands could be a symptom of:
- Lyme Disease
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Brachial Plexus Injury
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Ultimately, the precise location of the numbness can give you some clues as to the cause. For example, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will usually cause numbness or tingling in the thumb, index finger, or middle finger. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will also get worse with repeated motions. Luckily, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is incredibly treatable—sometimes with therapy and sometimes with surgery.
Whatever might be causing the numbness in your hands, it’s definitely in your best interest to get a professional medical opinion about what might be going on.
If you’re having difficulty moving your fingers in the way you want, there could be something wrong with your hands. In most cases, the kind of tightness that interferes with movement is attributed to issues with the muscles, bones, or ligaments and tendons of the hand. That said, something like arthritis (caused by the breakdown of lubricants in your joints) might feel quite different from an issue with a tight tendon.
For example, there’s a condition called Trigger Finger. Patients who suffer from trigger finger notice that the first one of two fingers (the index or middle finger or both) will contract. Your finger will look like it’s wrapped around a trigger finger (hence the name).
Generally, Trigger Finger is caused by inflammation round the tendon. See, most tendons are encased in a kind of sheath. Once the sheath becomes inflamed, the tendon can become trapped or stuck in a certain position. It’s like kinking up a garden hose… sort of. The point is that, while Trigger Finger can be crippling, it can also be treated.
Other Hand Issues that Should Not be Ignored
In general, you should seek consultation or treatment for any of the following hand symptoms that might arise:
- Decreased mobility
- Acute pain
- Chronic pain
- Numbness and/or tingling
- Anything else that seems out of the ordinary
Finding a Hand Surgeon
Once you’ve identified a problem, it might be a good idea to find a hand specialist that can mitigate or treat that problem. In many cases, patients will first see a general practitioner before being referred to a hand specialist. That referral is important—as most specialists function on that referral system. But it’s not always necessary, so you should consult with the front desk before making an appointment.
In any case, there are a few ways you can help yourself find a great hand surgeon:
- Do Your Research: There are plenty of ways to check in on any type of doctor before making decisions. One of the best ways is to examine overall reviews. There are certainly going to be reviews on Google and Yelp, but you can also check HealthGrades or HealthLine for more reviews (and more medically focused reviews at that).
- Ask a Lot of Questions: Except perhaps in emergency situations, it’s rare to undergo a hand surgery without first going through a consultation. Asking a lot of questions through this consultation will keep you both informed and engaged in the process.
- Seek Out Referrals From Doctors You Trust: One of the nice things about having a regular general practitioner that you see is that a bond of trust develops over time. Your GP knows you, your body, and your needs—and can refer accordingly. That’s an excellent relationship to have, and if you’ve got it, you should take advantage of it.
Take Professional Medical Advice
Whatever is causing issues in your hand, it’s should be clear that professional medical advice is usually what you should be listening to. If you’re having issues with your hands—loss of sensation or increased pain and discomfort—then seeking out a medical professional should definitely be on your list of things to do. In other words, at the end of the day, you should listen to the warning signs in your hands. They’re trying to tell you something.