My hand hurts - help
April 5, 2009 8:10 AM   Subscribe

My hand hurts, and I don't know why? You are not my doctor, but maybe this sounds familiar to someone and I can avoid sounding like a complete moron to the doctor...

Again, I know you're not my doctor - but maybe this sounds familiar.

A few days ago, my left hand began hurting in an unusual way. Holding my left hand vertically (as if shaking someone's hand) and bending my thumb either way has become increasingly painful over the past few days. I first noticed while doing push-ups (my wrist / thumb area was too painful). At present, it is difficult to have confidence in holding a cup or anything of more than a couple pounds. A friend suggested I try a wrist wrap (like an ACE bandage of sorts), which hasn't done much to make things feel better...

I am left-handed, male, 27 years old. There's no family history of arthritis, and while I can't rule out carpal tunnel, my right hand is perfectly normal. Computer user, but not a gamer.

Suggestions? I plan to see a doctor sometime this week as my schedule permits.
posted by chrisinseoul to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might have just sprained your wrist, or pulled a muscel in your hand. Some ice, a proper bandage/ support, and some TLC should help.
posted by Stirdog at 8:18 AM on April 5, 2009

It sounds to me like it could be de Quervain's tenosynovitis. It has similar symptoms to arthritis in the basal joint of the thumb -- which I have, and which was originally MISdiagnosed as de Quervain's.
posted by rhartong at 8:23 AM on April 5, 2009

Use your right hand for the mouse in the meantime and put your hands on pillows when doing pushups.
posted by fantasticninety at 8:51 AM on April 5, 2009

I had the same symptoms (but higher up, not exactly in the hand itself) and had broken the radial head in my elbow. Did you fall recently? Did it start during the pushups or before? Are you starting up an exercise regime and could have stressed your wrist in a bad way?

Honestly it sounds bad enough that you should get it checked out. You will not "sound like a moron" for explaining exactly what you did here: you don't know how it happened, you notice pain when doing xyz, and an ace bandage hasn't helped. The doctor will perform some maneuvers on it, feel it for any obvious changes, and possibly send you for an xray or MRI.

Not being able to hold a cup is not just a minor little twinge. It's your body, you only get one, take care of it by not letting things get worse!
posted by barnone at 8:59 AM on April 5, 2009

I should add, and I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, that these are pretty similar symptoms to when I broke my scaffoid bone in my wrist. Might be worth having the x-ray done.
posted by fantasticninety at 9:08 AM on April 5, 2009

I had de Quervain's tenosynovitis -- here's a link with a diagnostic for it:
but i'm of the mind that you should see a doctor about it, even if you self-diagnose. the tenosynovitis i had was only the worst thing that i noticed of a range of symptoms caused by overuse of my hands, and bad ergonomics when doing so. my family is also not prone to hand problems -- i just had a job that was very hands-on and i didn't take care of myself. nothing more strenuous than typing, but argh, when i think of how i just ignored pain as 'well, it'll feel better tomorrow probably...' So i entered physical therapy to deal with all these problems once the de Quervain's was diagnosed, and gradually got much better. there are all kinds of exercises and splinting that can be done to deal with overuse injuries (and a great range of overuse injuries besides carpal tunnel, etc.). thus, a doctor should take you seriously if you describe it like here, *and* should have some serious recommendations for getting you to feel better (or should know to refer you to someone that does) beyond just giving you some pain meds that just staves off things temporarily (unless he/she is convinced you only have a very acute problem. as a note, i had a flareup during my physical therapy/recovery, resulting from not following my treatment plan and overdoing it, and the pain i experienced in my whole hand was *much* worse than what i experienced a few years earlier upon breaking a bone in a finger joint. these things are serious life-hinderers and you can do something about them....hope you feel better!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 11:12 AM on April 5, 2009

Hi from the OP:
While it didn't technically start with trying to do pushups, that was the first time it reached an unacceptable level. No falls, unusual activity, or unusual lifestyle to report. The wrist support / brace felt too tight and didn't seem to help things, but I'll try the ice treatment once off work

At the risk of self-diagnosis, De Quervain's tenosynovitis seems to fit the bill - something to take to the doctor as a place to start.

In case anyone else has other suggestions I'm leaving the question open for now. Thanks again MeFites!
posted by chrisinseoul at 1:00 AM on April 6, 2009

Hi from the OP:
Good news - the hand has returned to its usual self, with no pain or worries. I ended up not needing to visit the doctor, although I did buy a new ice / hot pack and use that for about 20 minutes a couple times a day. I woke up the next morning and life was good :) :)

Resolved tag added - thanks wonderful MeFis :)
posted by chrisinseoul at 12:59 AM on April 8, 2009

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