What is hand pain?

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Hand pain in children: Overview

Common causes of hand pain are overuse and injuries, such as might happen during sports. Everyday wear and tear also can cause hand pain.

Most minor hand injuries will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all you need to do. If your child has sudden and severe pain, tests and treatment may be needed.

How can you care for your child's hand pain?

  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Have your child rest and protect the hand. Have your child take a break from any activity that may cause pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's hand for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Prop up the sore hand on a pillow when you ice it or anytime your child sits or lies down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • If your doctor recommends a sling, splint, or elastic bandage to support the hand, have your child wear it as directed.

Hand pain: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your hand turns cool or pale or changes color.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You cannot move your hand.
  • Your hand pops, moves out of its normal position, and then returns to its normal position.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the sore area.
    • Pus draining from a place on your hand.
    • A fever.
  • Your hand feels numb or tingly.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your hand feels unstable when you try to use it.
  • You do not get better as expected.
  • You have any new symptoms, such as swelling.
  • Bruises from an injury to your hand last longer than 2 weeks.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.