Stiff Hands: Four Hidden Causes and Prevention


stiff hands

Stiff Hands: Four Hidden Causes and Prevention

Almost all of our tasks rely on our hands, right from brushing our teeth in the morning, scrolling our fingers to read this article, operating the mouse at work, or even holding our phones until we layout our bed linens at night.


When we put our hands in compromising situations, they become more susceptible to pain and damage. That’s why hand injuries result so often. While some injuries are not always avoidable, they can be prevented by understanding their causes and preventive methods.


However, hands aren't just honoured about their intricate design but also for their astounding chore as anatomical engineers of our bodies. Any grievance that affects the fundamental or underlying anatomy of our hands can be a significant hindrance to the overall health of the body.


In addition, stiff hands make it difficult to do simple everyday tasks such as holding a cup of coffee, reading a book, or even eating our favourite dish. In all, our hand accounts for 27 bones out of which, the carpals (or wrist) contains 8 bones.


If a traumatic circumstance occurs that impacts delicate structures, such as nerves, joint cartilage, muscles, ligaments, fingernails, or tendons, the possibility of a variety of injuries lays dormant.


If you are dealing with stiff hands, there may exist several serious reasons. For some, the stiffness may come and go. For others, it may take a lifespan. Read on to find the exact hidden reasons for stiff hands:


1. Arthritis:

Arthritis (or joint inflammation) holds the record for 10 million cases annually in India. An insufferable feeling of joint pain, stiffness, swelling and limited range of motion to one or more joints is defined as an arthritic condition. Nonetheless, there are additional types of arthritis that can affect the hands.

I. Thumb Arthritis: Also known as carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. It is common with ageing and happens when the gristle or cartilage tears down at the end of the thumb bone. It is a result of repetitive stress over the same area or the occurrence of traumatic events. Hence, it causes irritation or stiffness at the end side of the thumb.


II. Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is a chronic progressive condition that can affect the entire body, resulting in immobility and painful deformity; especially in wrists, fingers, and feet. It is when the body’s immune system damages its own tissues causing severe pain.


III. Osteoarthritis: This condition develops when the outer cartilage that covers the ends of bones wears down over time. As the smooth covering of your bone's protective tissues worsens, it causes your hands to feel weak and become stiff.


2. Fractures:

A fracture is a speed breaker in a bone. If you have a hairy crack in your hand or a broken bone, your finger may become stiff. If you feel pain, immobility, or restricted motion then you must seek immediate medical attention.


On the other hand, while recovering from any fractures (after surgeries), you are also likely to experience a stiff hand. For the best recovery, consult your doctor as soon as possible because in some cases, the stiffness stays forever which then becomes a stumbling block in regular activities.


3. Tendon and Muscle Injury:

Tendon is a fibrous connective tissue that allows us to make free movement of hand, finger, arm, and wrist. Extensor tendon injuries happen even when deliberately we get a small cut on our finger while cutting anything with a knife.


Additionally, Flexor tendon injuries take place when skin gets a deep cut. In some severe cases, patients are unable to move their hands and experience serious symptoms, infections and illness. If you have undergone muscle injury surgery then stiffness is natural.


4. Dislocations:

Dislocations are traumas caused to the bones and knock them out of the place. It is a very common result of sports injuries. It makes the joint weak. It is often treatable with physiotherapy or RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation).


In some critical cases, surgery is advisable by doctors, which may also cause your hands to become stiff even after surgery.


Infections Of Stiff Hands:

● Redness.

● Deformity.

● Tenderness.

● Swelling (or inflammation).

● Restricted range of motion.

● Warmth.

● Fever.

● Numbness.


Preventing Hand Injuries:

● Use sharp tools carefully.

● Stop playing with sharp tools.

● Use a guard on the saw stop.

● Never disable the safety device on a table.

● Use clamps whenever possible.

● Use leather gloves.

● If you scrape yourself by mistake, wash your hands vigorously and apply antibiotics or a bandage.


A slight cut may give rise to further serious infections while a delay in treatment can result in permanent disabilities. Consult your physician if you're experiencing severe pain and stiffness in your hands for one week or more and if they don't appear to be improving.

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