Chronic Pain in Hands

“Chronic” hand pain refers to pain, discomfort, or stiffness in the hands, fingers, or wrist that lasts at least three months. It can often interfere with daily life, causing difficulty sleeping, eating, working, and managing self-care. Chronic pain may be continuous or come and go, and is often the result of another underlying condition. While symptoms vary depending on the root cause, common chronic hand pain symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness 
  • A jabbing, throbbing, stinging, aching, or burning sensation in the hands
  • Swelling around the joints of the fingers or wrists
  • Poor or worsening grip strength
  • Numbness or weakness in the hands, wrists, or fingers
  • Difficulty straightening the fingers
  • Decreased range of motion in the fingers or wrists

Chronic pain in the hands should not be ignored. Untreated chronic hand pain can lead to worsening discomfort, functional limitations, and potential complications from underlying conditions.


There are many options for managing and treating chronic pain, and the best method varies by patient, severity of pain, medical history, and associated condition. Your doctor may choose a surgical treatment, a non-surgical treatment, or combine multiple options to alleviate your chronic hand pain.

Non-Surgical Treatments



Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, or prescription drugs like muscle relaxers, steroids, or opioids to help alleviate symptoms.

Steroid injections

Injecting cortisone directly into the tendon to reduce pain.

Joint Splinting

Using an external device to immobilize the affected joint(s). 

Physical Therapy

Engaging in specific exercises to strengthen and stretch the tendons and muscles of the hands.

Surgical Treatments


Tendon Repair

Reconnecting tendons by sewing fibers back together or inserting tendon tissue grafted from another part of the body.

Nerve Repair

Reattaching nerves or inserting a nerve graft to restore hand function and feeling.


Relieving pressure and hand pain by creating an incision in the connective tissue.

Joint Replacement

Restoring function to finger or wrist joint using tissue from another area of the body or synthetic material.

Replantation Revision

Correcting a previous replantation of the finger or hand to improve function.

Orthopedic Implant Removal

Removing screws, rods, or other implants from a previous hand surgery that has since healed can help prevent infection and improve hand mobility.



Why Patients Trust the Center for Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery

Our advanced out-patient surgery centers are led by renowned orthopedic and plastic surgeons who specialize exclusively in hand, wrist, and arm procedures. Patients gain access to state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatments in a more private environment that ensures the highest standards of patient safety, quality, and continuity of care.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you experience persistent discomfort that interferes with their daily activities, work, or quality of life, early evaluation by a healthcare professional is crucial to determine the underlying cause, receive an accurate diagnosis, and initiate an appropriate treatment plan. Seeking prompt and proper treatment can prevent potential complications and improve long-term hand health and function.


What causes chronic pain in the hands?

Many different underlying causes can contribute to chronic pain in the hands, including:

  • Inflammation due to arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, lupus, or gout
  • Peripheral neuropathy due to autoimmune disease, diabetes, or infection
  • Sprains, fractures, dislocations, or other injuries
  • Improper healing after surgery or trauma
  • Complications with implanted hardware in the hands
  • Stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger finger)
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
How is chronic hand pain diagnosed?

Because pain is usually a symptom of another condition, your doctor will conduct a physical exam to better understand where your pain is originating and may order one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Bloodwork
  • Urine test
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Electromyograph
  • Nerve conduction study
  • Spinal fluid test 
HUES Surgeons

Make chronic pain a thing of the past. A pain-free future is possible.