Can Nerve Problems Cause Hand Pain?

Jan 08, 2024

Can Nerve Problems Cause Hand Pain?

Hand pain notoriously causes dysfunction and frustration as it affects your ability to grip, grab, point, and perform other important functions. Could your hand pain stem from a nerve problem?

Like all peripheral nerves, the nerves inside your hand are largely responsible for the function of a part of your body — in this case, your hand. Sensory nerves allow you to feel touch sensations, while motor nerves control the muscles in your hand. You probably don’t think about this complex nerve network at all unless you’re suddenly unable to use your hand because of pain, weakness, stiffness, or numbness. 

Our board-certified surgeons and providers at North Point Orthopaedics in Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, often see cases of hand pain and perform detailed evaluations to uncover the  underlying cause. While not all hand pain originates from a nerve problem, you might be surprised to hear that a lot of it stems from nerve compression, neuropathy, and other neurological sources. 

To find out why you experience hand pain, the North Point Orthopaedics team reviews your symptoms. Symptoms that accompany hand pain, such as weakness or tingling, might suggest nerve compression or damage as a cause. The team reviews your medical history and might use nerve conduction studies to assess nerve function within your painful hand. 

So, how can we know if you have hand pain from a nerve problem? Which nerve problems commonly cause hand pain? In this article, we’ll share the basics of hand pain caused by nerve problems and inform you of your options for treatment. 

Nerve problems that cause hand pain

Hand pain often arises gradually or appears without an immediately apparent cause like a broken bone or bruise. If you experience hand pain, especially if it comes with other neurological symptoms like numbness or tingling, the North Point Orthopaedics team might explore the following avenues first:


Neuropathy commonly comes from diabetes, but it can also be caused by a number of other things. If you have peripheral neuropathy, or neuropathy in nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord, you might experience a variety of classic neurological symptoms like pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a neurological disorder involving compression of the median nerve inside your wrist. This nerve travels through the wrist and branches out into your palm and fingers. Compression of this nerve can cause hand pain and often causes your hand to go numb occasionally, driving you to shake your hand to restore its sensation. Around 5% of the population experiences carpal tunnel syndrome, often from overuse. 

A similar yet less common condition is called cubital tunnel syndrome and involves compression of the ulnar nerve, another nerve that serves your hand. This compression happens at the elbow. 

Ganglion cysts

Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled sacs that commonly grow inside the hand and wrist. While mostly harmless, these cysts can compress nerves in the region and cause hand pain and reduce hand function. 

Various nerve lacerations and injuries can also lead to persistent pain in the corresponding hand. These injuries often occur in car accidents and other incidents that cause major tissue damage. 

Your best options for treatment

In turning to North Point Orthopaedics with hand pain from a nerve problem, you’ve come to the right place. Our team specializes in industry-leading treatments to reduce pain and restore function to your affected appendage. 

Our team develops an individualized strategy after evaluating your hand pain, typically including several techniques for a comprehensive approach. Your hand pain may improve with:

  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Bracing and other immobilization techniques
  • Activity modification
  • Surgical nerve repair
  • Aspiration for ganglion cysts
  • Carpal tunnel release and other decompression surgeries

North Point Orthopaedics prioritizes noninvasive treatments, but sometimes surgery is necessary. In these cases, they use minimally invasive techniques when possible to minimize damage, recovery time, post-surgical pain, and scarring. 

Do you have neurological hand pain?

If your hand pain persists beyond your attempts at home care, we can help. Call North Point Orthopaedics or request an appointment online for an expert evaluation today.