Pain in the palm of the hand - Hand pain

There are many causes of pain in the palm of your hand. You can often ease the pain yourself. But contact your GP if the pain does not improve.

How you can ease palm pain

If you see your GP, they'll usually suggest you try these things:

Do

  • rest your hand when you can

  • put an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) in a towel and place it on your palm for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours

  • take paracetamol to ease the pain

  • remove any jewellery if your hand is swollen

  • wrap a bandage around your hand to support it

Don't

  • do not use ibuprofen in the first 48 hours after an injury

  • do not use heat packs or have hot baths for the first 2 to 3 days after an injury

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • the best painkiller to take
  • treatments for common skin problems
  • if you need to see a GP

Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP if:

  • the pain is stopping you doing normal activities
  • the pain is getting worse or keeps coming back
  • the pain has not improved after treating it at home for 2 weeks
  • you have any tingling or loss of sensation in your hand
  • you have diabetes – hand problems can be more serious if you have diabetes

Immediate action required: Go to your local injury unit or nearest ED if you:

  • have severe pain
  • feel faint, dizzy or sick from the pain
  • heard a snap, grinding or popping noise at the time of the injury
  • are not able to move your hand or hold things
  • have a hand that's changed shape or colour, such as blue or white

These might be signs of a broken hand.

Common causes of pain in the palm of your hand

Pain in the palm of your hand is often caused by bruising or injuring your hand.

Your symptoms might also give you an idea of what's causing the pain in your palm.

Common causes of pain in the palm of the hand

Symptoms Possible cause
Symptoms Aching pain that's worse at night, numbness or pins and needles, a weak thumb or difficulty gripping Possible cause carpal tunnel syndrome
Symptoms Pain or tenderness in your palm at the base of your fingers or thumb, stiffness, clicking when you move your finger or thumb Possible cause trigger finger
Symptoms Pain, swelling and stiffness that lasts a long time, it may be hard to move fingers, you may have a lump Possible cause arthritis
Symptoms Sharp or burning pain, tingling or numbness, palm feels more or less sensitive to touch or heat Possible cause peripheral neuropathy
Symptoms Heat, pain and redness in the palms Possible cause erythromelalgia

Do not worry if you're not sure what the problem is. Follow the advice on this page and see a GP if the pain does not get better in 2 weeks.


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

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