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What Conditions Cause Foot and Hand Pain?

Foot and hand pain can stem from a myriad of conditions, including arthritis, nerve damage, repetitive strain injuries, and circulatory issues. Each condition affects the body differently, with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. Understanding the root causes is key to effective treatment. How does your lifestyle impact these conditions? Continue reading to uncover the connection.
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Foot and hand pain can be experienced independently from each other, or they may be experienced at the same time due to the same conditions or separate conditions. The most common causes of pain in the feet and hands include arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, injuries and trauma, and soreness from overuse. Arthritis occurs when the ligaments in a joint begin to degrade, causing painful inflammation and other painful joint issues. Arthritis is common in both the hands and feet as well as other parts of the body. Fibromyalgia is a condition in which a person becomes sensitive to pain and pressure throughout the body.

As humans age, the tissues in the joints begin to wear out. This wearing is called arthritis, and it can be a very painful condition for which there is no cure. The cartilage padding between the bones in the joints starts to wear down, the ligaments start to stretch, and the bones grind together, which can lead to nerve aggravation or compression, bone degradation, joint stiffness, soreness, and other types of pain. Foot and hand pain often result from arthritis, since both parts of the body contain many small joints in which arthritis can develop. Treatment for arthritis usually involves medications such as anti-inflammatory pills or topical ointments, as well as painkillers. Regular exercise and stretching can also help alleviate some of the pain associated with arthritis, though in some very severe cases, surgery may be necessary; joint replacement surgeries are sometimes a response to severe or debilitating arthritis.

A model of a human hand.
A model of a human hand.

Fibromyalgia can cause pain throughout the body, including in the hands and feet, though diagnosing this condition can be difficult because medical professionals are not entirely sure what it is or what causes it. It is thought that elevated stress levels are a contributing factor to this condition. In addition to pain, the individual may have an increased sensitivity to pressure. People who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, or who suspect that they may have it, often need to change their daily activities to help reduce the symptoms and lower their stress levels.

Arthritis is a common cause of foot and hand pain.
Arthritis is a common cause of foot and hand pain.

Nerve damage can also cause foot and hand pain, depending on which nerves have been damaged. When a nerve becomes compressed, it may cause pain in any area of the body that is serviced by that nerve. Pain can be caused by compression of more than one nerve, since the hands and feet are serviced by several different ones. Compression can occur anywhere along that nerve's length, and many nerves originate or run near the spine. Problems with nerves in the spine, therefore, can lead to pain in different parts of the body.

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Discussion Comments


@bear78-- I'm not sure about hand pain but diabetes can cause leg and foot pain. It usually occurs in long-term diabetes patients because diabetes causes nerve damage over time. And nerve damage leads to pain in the extremities, particularly in the feet and legs.

But pain usually isn't the only symptom. Nerve damage can also cause sensations like tingling and pins and needles. Numbness is another symptom.

I learned about all this as I have diabetes and I have to watch out for these symptoms in case nerve damage occurs.


Are foot and hand pain side effects of diabetes?


My sister has been experiencing pain for years, particularly in her feet and hands. It was finally diagnosed as fibromyalgia. But it took a very long time to get the diagnosis. She saw so many doctors and most did not believe that there was anything wrong with her. Since there aren't any specific tests that can be used to diagnose fibromyalgia, diagnosis is done based on the symptoms entirely. But very few doctors know enough about fibromyalgia and take their patients seriously when they arrive with the symptoms.

Treatment is also about controlling the symptoms rather than anything else. So it's about managing pain and discomfort. We're just happy that she has finally been diagnosed.

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    • A model of a human hand.
      By: emu
      A model of a human hand.
    • Arthritis is a common cause of foot and hand pain.
      By: Serenethos
      Arthritis is a common cause of foot and hand pain.
    • Fibromyalgia may cause foot pain.
      By: koszivu
      Fibromyalgia may cause foot pain.
    • Nerve damage may lead to foot or hand pain.
      By: nebari
      Nerve damage may lead to foot or hand pain.
    • Foot and hand pain are often experienced independently from each other.
      By: Vadim Ponomarenko
      Foot and hand pain are often experienced independently from each other.