The Top Causes of Hand Joint Pain Among Athletes

The Top Causes of Hand Joint Pain Among Athletes

Posted on 06/26/2023

Athletes are no strangers to joint pain. Training and competition subject the body to repetitive stress, which can be harmful. It might result in several ailments and injuries. One area where athletes often experience pain is in their hand joints.

The hand is a complex structure with several tiny bones, muscles, and tendons. These make the hand vulnerable to harm. Here are the top causes of hand joint pain among athletes.


Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are among the most common causes of hand joint pain among athletes. These accidents happen when athletes use their hands repeatedly. This causes inflammation and harms the hand's muscles, tendons, and bones. Sports requiring repetitive hand movements, including tennis, golf, and baseball, are prone to overuse injuries.

Tendonitis is one of the most prevalent overuse injuries. The tendons of the hand become inflamed, resulting in pain and discomfort. Another overuse injury that athletes may experience is carpal tunnel syndrome. This stems from compression of the median nerve in the hand, resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness.



Trauma is another common cause of hand joint pain among athletes. It can occur due to a sudden impact or a fall. Sports with a high risk of hand trauma include basketball, football, and martial arts.

One common type of hand trauma is a fracture. Any of the hand's bones are susceptible to fractures, ranging from mild to severe. Dislocations occur when a hand bone moves out of its normal position. They can be painful and may require medical attention to correct.



Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are common symptoms of arthritis. Arthritis can affect everyone, even athletes. The strain of their sport may cause them to develop the illness. The most prevalent form of arthritis that affects the joints of the hands is osteoarthritis.

When the protective cartilage sheltering the ends of the hand's bones degenerates, osteoarthritis develops. This causes discomfort and stiffness. Sports that require grasping and twisting movements may put athletes at a higher risk for developing hand osteoarthritis.



Infections are another cause of hand joint pain among athletes. A breach in the skin or exposure to bacteria or viruses can lead to infections. Sports that demand close contact with teammates or opponents may put athletes at a higher risk for illnesses.

One type of infection that can affect the hand joints is septic arthritis. This occurs when viruses or bacteria enter the joint, leading to inflammation and pain. Septic arthritis is a critical condition that needs immediate treatment to stop further harm.


Prevention and Treatment

Preventing hand joint pain in athletes requires proper training, equipment, and self-care. Athletes should perform frequent strength training and stretch to preserve flexibility and reduce injury risk. Another way to avoid hand injuries is to wear safety gear like wrist braces and gloves.

Athletes experiencing pain in their hand joints should consult a doctor to identify the problem and get the proper care. Treatment options may include rest, ice, and physical therapy. Surgery may be necessary to solve the issue in more challenging situations.



Hand joint pain is a common problem among athletes. Overuse injuries, trauma, arthritis, and infections are among the top causes of this problem. By getting the proper training and utilizing safety gear, athletes can lower their chance of injury. If hand joint pain does occur, seeking appropriate medical attention is crucial.

For more on hand joint pain, visit East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity at our Oakland, California office. Call (510) 904-1100 to schedule an appointment today.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.