Hand Pain

The hand is a very complex structure and some medical practitioners only specialize in treating hand injuries. Hand pain can be described as any pain extending from your wrist to the base of your fingers, and for this purpose be divided between the palm and the back of your hand. To establish where exactly your hand pain is coming from it can be very helpful identifying what structure is causing your pain. Hands are our field of specialty, we are the experts. Your hand is complex due to its small size, and close proximity of these small structures.

Hand pain is usually more prominent in the dominant hand. This means that if you write with your right hand you will likely have pain in your right hand. Similarly when you write with your left hand, you will more likely develop pain in your left hand. The dominant hand is more vulnerable to pain and injuries as it is the preferred first contact.

Any pain or problem in your hand will have a ripple effect on your fingers, wrist and elbow. So if you are uncertain what the cause may be, rather let us have a look at it before you cause even more problems. Hand pain can be caused by any of the muscles, joints, tendons or nerves in your hand, so let’s look at each of these anatomical structures, and how hand pain and other problems may arise:

Hand Pain Treatment

Why is your hand pain lasting longer than it should?

Does this sound like you?

If any of these have happened to you – we would love to help you. The fact that you’ve tried any or all of these things already is actually a good thing, because when you know what doesn’t work – you are closer to finding the thing that does!

We invite you to come and see us. Why? Because we do things differently. We’ll do a thorough assessment and test all the possible causes. After we’ve diagnosed your problem, and explained what it’s going to need to heal, we’ll make sure you understand why this is happening.

What can you do to get rid of your hand pain?

Decide to get help

So many people rest for weeks, hoping that the pain will ‘just go away with time’, but 6 weeks down the line they’re still putting up with it, and nothing’s changed… Or the pain & swelling gets even worse. You may even cause other problems. Lack of treatment could end up costing you more time & money the longer you wait.

Do the right exercises

One of the best things to help ease your hand pain is to do the right series of progressed exercises – as advised by a Hand expert. The right kind of activities can reduce your pain, and help your healing. Above all, exercises ensure that problems don’t come back. However, the wrong kind of exercises have the potential to increase the pain in your hand even more.

Get hands-on treatment

Hand therapy is proven to improve pain & accelerate healing of people suffering from hand pain. Hand pain could be affecting your physical performance in a professional or private capacity, you may not even notice. It could even threaten your work or get in the way of spending quality time with your family & friends. Annoying hand pain can leave you frustrated, irritated & miserable. We can enable you to live the life you desire as quickly as possible.

If you’re looking for solid advice on how to start solving your problem, you might not know if our treatment is the right thing for you, we encourage you to give us a call. This is an opportunity to get an expert’s advice about your situation. Our goal is to help you make the right decision about what to do next.

Get rid of your hand pain in the next few days!

Muscle pain

There are only a few small muscles in the hand that bridge the spaces between the bones called the Metacarpal bones. These muscles are the Intrinsic muscles which are mainly responsible to bring the metacarpal bones together like making a tight fist as well as opening the ‘web spaces’ between these bones.

Lumbricals are mainly on the palm side of the hand and the Interosseous muscles on the back of your hand. These muscles are the first to get strained with repetitive punching, or they can be cut through when a pole or knife is driven through the web spaces between the metacarpals.

We treat muscle pain in the hand by decreasing the strain on the muscle or giving the muscle the correct healing process. Most people have muscle pain in their dominant hand (usually right hand pain). Adapting the way in which you move your hand in is proven to assist with repetitive strain injuries.

Tendon pain

On the palm side of the hand there are two groups of rope-like tendons that run across the hand from the forearm to your fingertips. The Flexor Digitorum Superficialis, and Flexor Digitorum Profundus, that gives you the ability to close your fingers into a fist. On the back of your hand we have the Extensor Digitorum Communis that allows you to open your hand.

These tendons gets cut by either glass or a knife. The Flexor group on the palm side of the hand is more prone to injury. An example is washing dishes and the glass breaks in your hand. Defending yourself against a knife attack, or even trying to catch a falling sharp object.

Nerve pain

There are three branches of nerves that supply the power and feeling to your hand. The Median nerve supplies the Thumb, Index and middle finger. The Ulnar nerve supplies Ring and Little finger. The Radial nerve gives feeling to the back of your hand and Thumb.

Nerve pain in the hand is caused by damage or disease that affects the power cables of the hand. These power cables control all your hand’s movement and communication such as feeling to the skin and muscles, this includes touch, temperature and a variety of other feelings.

Hand pain due to nerve injury may cause you to feel: Pins & needles, numbness, burning tingling, weakness, electrical shock traveling from the palm of the hand to the fingers. There are numerous ways in which the nerves may be injured, compressed or irritated. Click the link for a more in depth discussion.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a frequent problem patients consult us about. This is when the Median nerve is compressed at the base of the hand and wrist.

One of the most common signs of damage to these nerve is a deformity called “ the Claw”, where the fingers and hands stays in a contracted position and unable to willingly move your hand or fingers.

Joint pain

There are two sets of joints in the hand, the one group connects to your wrist and the others form your knuckles of your fist. The Metacarpal bones connect to the Carpal bones (wrist side) forming the Carpometacarpal Joints(MPJ) at the base of your hand. On the other side, your fingers connect to the first phalanx called the Proximal Phalanx to form the Metacarpal Phalangeal Joints (MPJ).

Arthritis is the most common cause of hand pain in these joints. The Metacarpophalangeal joints are more vulnerable to dislocate due to the relative instability of the fingers connecting to the hand at this point.

Hand fracture

There are 4 tightly arranged long bones in the hand called the Metacarpal bones, that fits parallel next to each other. These Metacarpal bones may fracture at high force or impact like when boxing, hitting a wall, or falling with your hand on a rock.

‘Boxer’s fracture” Hence the name, is a fracture of the 5th Metacarpal bone (Below the Little finger) The forces during a punch concentrate on the outside of the fist, and absorbs most of the impact, therefore its the first to crack, break and fracture.

Repetitive stress on the Metacarpal bones may cause the outer edge of the bone to crack that leads to a stress fracture in your hand.

Hand fracture

There are 4 tightly arranged long bones in the hand called the Metacarpal bones, that fits parallel next to each other. These Metacarpal bones may fracture at high force or impact like when boxing, hitting a wall, or falling with your hand on a rock.

‘Boxer’s fracture” Hence the name, is a fracture of the 5th Metacarpal bone (Below the Little finger) The forces during a punch concentrate on the outside of the fist, and absorbs most of the impact, therefore its the first to crack, break and fracture.

Repetitive stress on the Metacarpal bones may cause the outer edge of the bone to crack that leads to a stress fracture in your hand.

Right hand pain treament

What can you expect from hand pain treatment?

Relief from hand pain is our number one priority. After assessing the pain in your hand we will treat the structures involved accordingly. From exercises and functional activity adaptations to immobilization and strengthening. We will ensure that your pain in your right or left hand is a thing of the past by treating your hand pain successfully.

Hand pain on the …

  • Flexor Digitorum Superficial tendon avultion
  • Fractured finger
  • Flexor tendon rupture
  • Nerve pain in your fingers
  • Volar plate sprain
  • Torn Pulley
  • Flexor Digitorum Superficial tendon avultion
  • Fractured finger
  • Flexor tendon rupture
  • Nerve pain in your fingers
  • Volar plate sprain
  • Torn Pulley
Hand pain therapy

What causes my hand pain?

To understand where your hand pain is coming from, you’d have to determine how you injured it, or if you can remember when it started. Some are outright obvious like when you slam the door onto your hand, meanwhile others are subtle and creeps up on you – getting worse day by day. So, it’s easier to establish how your pain started and changed until now. Changes in your hand pain gives us many clues to understand where your pain is coming from.

Our body consists of various types of tissue, some elastic like tendons, or strong like cables (ligaments), some tissue can generate movement & force like muscles. We rely on your hand ligaments to keep joints stable, tendons to coordinate movements, and muscles to generate power to grip. The structures in your hand are quite vulnerable to injury, especially trauma. There are more than 95 structures in your hand that can get injured, some problems are more common than others, but just to be safe – we test them all.

Here’s a breakdown of a few structures that can get injured that gives you different types of hand pain:

Get to the root of your hand pain

Different structures, cause different types of hand pain, although these are not concrete it’s a good guideline to which structure produces what type of pain

Muscle — Dull ache or stiffness, sharp pain with contraction
Nerve — Numbness, tingling, weakness, electrical stabbing feeling
Tendon — Burning pain with certain specific movements, pain comes & goes
Ligament — Pain at the end of range, unstable, clicking
Bone — Constant pain, sharp pain with certain movements
Joints — Cramp, constant stiff feeling, worse after rest, better with movement
Cartilage — Sharp pain when at certain point, painful arch of movement
Arteries — Pins & Needles, dead leg feeling, heavy feeling
Fat pad — Pinching pain, pressure increases or decreases pain immediately
Bursa — Pain only comes on after being active, better with rest
Referral from other joints — Difficult to pinpoint pain, vague painful area

Causes of Hand pain

The most common cause would be constant irritation to the tendons running to the palm of the hand. We spend hours in front of computers and gripping our steering wheel. Irritation to the tendons running from the forearm to the hand can easily get irritated and inflamed. A tendinitis is caused by this irritation. When making a fist, a burning pain will be felt over that tendon. In most cases, the tendon as well as its corresponding muscle (in the forearm) needs to be treated to relieve the pain. We use our hands every single day and we cannot afford not to use them. Your productivity depends on it.

Direct injury from a specific fall can easily crack or separate the bones in the hand and wrist with very little force. This pain you will feel with certain movements of the fingers and swelling (or even bleeding) might be present.

Types of hand pain and the structures they may relate to:

Nerve pain in your hand

  • Burning pain

  • Pins & Needles

  • Tingling

  • Sharp stabbing, shooting pain

  • Electrical shock pain

  • Numbness

  • Unable to control movement

  • Dead feeling over skin

Muscle pain in your hand

  • Pain gets worse during activity

  • Burning or cramp like pain

  • Stiffness and tightness

  • Dull pain when stretched

  • Pain only at the end of range

  • No loss of muscle strength

  • Able to move your hand to make a fist & open

  • Little swelling

Joint pain in your hand

  • Sharp sudden pain

  • Worse when moving as compared to static positions

  • Pain when doing a specific moment

  • Muscle tightness surrounding sharp pain

  • Deep pulling feeling when stretched/ moved

  • With or without swelling

  • Pinching feeling at end of range

  • Unable to pinpoint it to one specific spot

  • Dull ache over a large area

  • Unable to find a pain-free position

Our experience

The biggest concern among patients are the time it will take to heal. This question can only be answered after we’ve actually tested & looked at of all the structures.

Our medical professionals treat muscles, tendons, nerve and joint problems. But first we must know what we’re dealing with.

About Hand Therapy

We are a group of experts that just understands pain & injury, which makes us the obvious choice to deal with it.

If you’re unsure if we’ll be able to help, just give us a call and lets get in touch. There’s so much we can do for you.

Symptoms of hand pain

How bad is my hand pain, really?

Size – The larger the area of your hand pain, is better, because tendons in your hand stretch from your finger tip to your elbow. Pain tends to radiate along the tendons and affect large areas. Tendons heal easier & recover faster.

Colour – Bruising in & around your hands are quite common after a crack, splinter or fracture, because of the high concentration of small blood vessels in your hands. These capillaries rupture & leak plasma that pools in your fingers. Clearly something is wrong. Blue discoloration closer to your knuckles is more concerning for it involves your possible injury to the small bones in your hand & fingers.

Swelling – Swelling is your body’s way of healing itself by sending cells to heal the tissue. More swelling could mean more tissue damage, however not all hand injuries swell. Injury to tissue that develops over a few weeks doesn’t swell, because the tissue trauma is continuous and repetitive, so your body stops the inflammatory reaction. A new injury on an old problem is also possible.

Area – Hand pain on the palm’s side are more restrictive when you grip & hold things, while pain at the back of your hand limits you from typing or texting. If your hand pain renders you unable to make a fist you must be more concerned. Sharp pain over a small area makes it easier to pinpoint structures near your pain. Vague, dull & deep hand pain can take longer to identify the root cause. Compensatory patterns develop, sometimes it takes a while to just get rid of those.

Motion & sore hands

Stiff – Hand stiffness followed by pain is regressing and getting worse. Seek help. However, pain followed by stiffness is a good sign of tissue healing, specifically scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is hardening wound tissue that tends to shorten and pull on structures surrounding the injured site. This is more pronounced in muscle strains & tears, where the normal slide of muscles is restricted during a contraction.

Range of movement – Difficult moving your hand through its range is a big problem. A painful arch means the structure injured only takes tension over that specific range i.e Only painful when you straighten your fingers the last 10 degrees. Hand pain over a smaller range of movement is not necessarily better. This may point to connecting joint surfaces being injured like cartilage. If you feel pain only at the end of your range its less severe and easy to fix. When your hand pain stops movement completely and its too painful to move, you should definitely come see us as soon as possible.

Changes over time

Intensity – When you grade your pain from 0 – 10. You may think it’s not that bad because it’s not that painful. On the contrary, pain intensity is not a sign of how severe your tissue injury is for example, complete ruptures of ligaments are less painful than partial tears. When fibers are stressed while it’s anchors are completely loose, there’s not much pain, but fibers that are partially torn will produce severe hand pain. People have different pain thresholds, so be careful not to ignore your hand injury.

Frequency – Pain that’s fleeting or intermittent, short burst of pain must not become more frequent and constant. This shows that the tissue damage is not getting any better. Pain that only lasts for a few seconds tend to heal faster, so the longer your pain lasts the faster you should get to us.

Latency – If your pain lags to come on and builds up over the day you must be very cautious. This is a sign of a relapse of your tissue pathology. It’s difficult to judge what makes it worse, because the pain only comes on a few hours after your activity, and not during. Your pain tends to be worse in the afternoons rather than in the morning.

Loading – Pushing through your hand pain while you work is not a good idea. Putting compromised tissue under strain is dangerous. Would you tow a car with a partially torn cable? No! Because it just needs that final pull or jerk that could cause catastrophic tissue damage. Loading soft tissue without knowing what it’s able to handle is dangerous & reckless.

100% Covered by Medical Aid

Hand therapy claims directly from your medical aid.

Hand therapy claims directly from your medical aid.

No co-payments or extras. Most certainly, no unexpected bills. Plain and simple payments. We charge medical aid rates, so if you have funds available the treatment will be covered in full. Pay with cash or your medical aid.

Diagnosis of hand pain

Our experts know and understand the intricate anatomy of your hand. There are many structures to test, and we even consider the complex biomechanics of each knuckle. We’ll accurately diagnose which structures are involved, and to what degree. This gives you a good idea what exactly is happening inside your hand in order to establish the extent of the tissue damage.

During your evaluation, we’ll be stretching & stressing the soft tissue structures like muscles, ligaments, nerves and tendons. This way we can diagnose muscle tears, ligament sprains, tendinitis’s and nerve irritations. We’ll test different aspects like muscle strength, range of motion, flexibility and stability in order to confirm how severe your tissue damage is, which will lead us to tailor a treatment plan. Then we’ll customize the treatment to your specific needs. Therefore our specialists are the best at diagnosing hand pain & hand injuries.

The Process of Diagnosis

Diagnosis is a process of exclusion, not inclusion. Medical professionals are taught a process of elimination and deduction to identify the most possible diagnoses for your hand pain. The better you can describe & elaborate on your pain, the better picture you’ll give us to understand what’s happened & what you’re feeling.

The practitioner uses their skills to eliminate diagnosis’s it’s not and zoom in on your problem. This elimination brings us to only a few possibilities to what could be causing your hand pain. Then we test & assess all our possibilities to get to the root cause of your pain. We encourage you to be honest and open about what you’re feeling – to clarify, carry on or change our approach.


  • No ibuprofen or other forms of Anti-inflammatories in the first 48 hours after an injury

  • Do not use heat packs or soak your hands in warm water for the first 2 to 3 days after an injury

  • Don’t try to lift heavy objects or grip anything too tightly

  • Click, pull or your fingers

  • Try to stretch through the pain

  • Ignore swelling (clearly something is wrong)

  • Treat it without a proper diagnosis, you may end up causing more harm

  • Ignore the pain (it may be a sign of a deeper problem)

  • Leave it untreated & hope it’ll heal

Must Do

  • Protect it from further injury

  • Put an ice pack in a towel and place it on your wrist for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours

  • Take off any jewelry if your fingers or hand starts swelling

  • Stop, cut down or limit activities that brings on your pain

  • Wear a splint to support your hand, especially at night – you can get these at our reception (if you’re strapped for cash)

  • We can diagnose your problem fast & treat it

  • If you’re unsure what it might be – rather get an expert’s opinion

  • Give us a Call to set up an appointment to determine the tissue damage & how severe your problem is.

Makes it worse

  • Typing

  • Writing

  • Painting

  • Carry bags

  • Texting

  • Driving

  • Unlocking a door

  • Pushing onto it

Hand therapy treatment for hand pain

We have seen many patients with hand pain and provide the best possible treatment for a faster recovery. Pain and stiffness after a hand injury prevent you to grip or hold things. You might feel afraid to move, or scared you’ll damage it even more. We know that you’re anxious about the unknown, so that is why we are here to guide you and give you all the answers.

Your hand pain treatment will be tailored according to various factors, but just to give you a broad idea, our focus of our treatments are:

  1. Determine what structures are injured in your hand
  2. How bad is it injured?
  3. Protect it from further injury
  4. Help accelerate healing
  5. Re-evaluate to monitor progress
  6. Change and adapt as you get better

Hand pain treatments that we offer:

  • Custom splints

  • Strapping

  • Laser

  • Electrotherapy

  • Waxing

  • Progressive exercises

  • Stretches

  • Nerve gliding techniques

  • Transcutaneus Electrical stimulation

  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Grip exercises

  • Joint mobilizations

  • Medications

  • Neurodynamics (Nerve tissue mobilizations)

Hand therapy expert

Our experts can diagnose, test and treat any kind of hand pain. We guide you to get rid of your pain as fast as possible. Our world class techniques & machines make sure you get the best value for your money. We will test a lot of different possibilities why you’re feeling this hand pain in order to explain what’s going on in your body. It all depends on the results of our tests to determine what needs to be done. All our experts are hand specialists that can determine the slightest problem coming from your finger, hand or wrist, so if you’re uncertain – we can help you.

Our experts determine multiple problems that can be involved, this means that we test everything to ensure we’re treating it the right way. This is our expertise & what we’re best at. We take on many roles to achieve your goals: Teacher, counselor, trainer, coach and engineer. As a teacher we explain the extent of tissue damage & the intricate details of your hand pain & how it may affect other problems. As a counselor & pain expert, we’ll guide you every step of the way. As engineer we check the structural integrity of the tendons, ligaments & joints in your hand.

Most common hand injuries we treat:

  • Extensor digitorum tendinitis

  • Flexor digitorum tendinitis

  • Metacarpal fractures

  • Fractures of the bones in the hand

  • Proximal Metacarpal phalangeal joint dislocations

What our patients say

“Please consider seeing Elmarie before you consider surgery!”

C Legge

Elmarie is a super qualified expert with skills identifying the problem and working towards fixing it. She is professional and puts your mind to rest regarding the road ahead to rehabilitation of my hand injury. I can definitely recommend her”

T Heard

“Amazing service, took my son because of an broken bone in his hand. She’s just brilliant and he is healing fast.”

O Swanepoel

Hand pain

Hand treatment is a process of understanding

Hand treatment is a process of understanding

We have a whole range of hand treatments, but first we must know what we’re dealing with. An accurate diagnosis gives us a better understanding of the causes of your in pain.

Our Partner

Well Health Pro is a medical group of professionals that treat a wide range of muscle, joint, tendon & nerve problems.