Experiencing pain in any part of the body can both be exasperating and distressing—all the more so if it affects more than one part, such as in the case of foot and hand pain.
If pain is plaguing your hands and feet, here’s what you need to know about its possible causes and how you can address it.
Possible Causes of Foot and Hand Pain
Foot and hand pain has a number of possible causes, the most common of which include:
- Arthritis– This is an umbrella term referring to more than a hundred types of conditions characterized by inflammation of one or more joints in the body. Arthritis can affect the joints of both your feet and hands, causing not only pain but also swelling, redness, and joint stiffness.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This occurs when the cartilage, which cushions the ends of your bones, loses its elasticity and wear away. When cartilage completely deteriorates, your bones will rub against each other, hence the symptoms.
- Peripheral Neuropathy– The nerves outside your brain and spinal cord work as transmitters for sensory and motor information to and from these areas of the body. Damage to any of these nerves can cause foot or/and hand pain, muscle weakness, numbness, among other symptoms.
Peripheral neuropathy can have various potential causes, such as autoimmune conditions, exposure to toxins, infections, metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes), traumatic injuries, and infections. Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by a compression of one of the nerves in the hand, is one of the most common culprits in localized (upper extremity) neuropathies.
- Fibromyalgia– This is a disorder in which your body amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way pain receptors work. A person with fibromyalgia often experiences foot and hand pain and numbness along with fatigue, memory issues, and difficulty sleeping.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but according to recent studies, it appears to be a multiple-hit theory involving genetic disposition complemented by a trigger— or a set of triggers— such as infection, stress, and trauma.
Treatment for foot and hand pain can vary, depending on its underlying cause. You should consider seeing an orthopedic specialist, especially if it’s already affecting your quality of life. Your orthopedic specialist will do a thorough assessment, which includes a review of your symptoms and medical history, physical exam, and some lab tests and medical imaging tests, to confirm a diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is determined, your orthopedic specialist will discuss with you your treatment options. Your doctor will likely prescribe oral pain medications in conjunction with any or a combination of the following treatment modalities, whichever is applicable to your condition:
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections (for arthritis)
- Anticonvulsants (for fibromyalgia and peripheral neuropathy)
- Lifestyle recommendations (e.g., losing weight, exercise, etc.)
- Braces, to alleviate the strain on the joints in your foot
- Custom orthotics (shoe inserts)
- Blood sugar management (for peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes)
Foot-and-Hand Pain Treatment in North Dakota
No matter the cause of your foot and hand pain, our highly skilled orthopedic specialists here at The Bone & Joint Center can help manage or even reverse it. We utilize the most advanced technology and techniques as well as offer on-site physical therapy services to help restore the normal function of your hands and feet, so you can feel and move better.
To arrange a consultation with one of our orthopedics specialists, you can call us at (701) 946-7400 or (866) 900-8650. You can also fill out our appointment request form.