5 Reasons You Should See a Hand Doctor


Many people come into my clinic and say things like, “I almost didn’t come in for this” or “I’m not sure if this is a big deal” or “I just mentioned this to my primary care doctor, and they said I should come see you.” Most of these people end up feeling glad they came in for an appointment about their hand or wrist problem.

With different types of aches and pains throughout your body, it can feel difficult to sort out which problems need to be seen by a hand doctor. When it comes to the hand and wrist, here is a list that can guide you in deciding when it is time to schedule an appointment with a hand doctor.


1. Pain That Doesn’t Go Away

You are probably aware of your body’s limits. It may be normal for you to feel muscle soreness or joint stiffness after exercise or rigorous work. However, if your hand and wrist pain does not improve with rest, or wakes you up from sleep, you should probably see a hand doctor.


2. Pain Prevents Basic Daily Tasks

If your hand or wrist pain is so bad it prevents you from doing basic activities like brushing your teeth, buttoning a shirt, or cooking a meal, then you should probably see a hand doctor.


3. Numbness, Tingling, Weakness

Think about when you hit your “funny bone” or felt your foot fall asleep – if that same feeling of tingling (or “pins and needles”), or if any numbness or weakness becomes frequent or constant in your hand or wrist, you should probably see a hand doctor.


4. Stiffness, Swelling

If your hand or wrist becomes so swollen you cannot make a full fist, wear jewelry, or you can see an indent on the skin of the back of your hand, then you should probably see a hand doctor.


5. Getting Worse

It is probably easy to remember a time when you experienced a minor problem that was mild and/or went away in a day or two. However, in any of the first four categories above, if you feel like something is worsening over weeks or months, you should probably see a hand doctor.


Finding a Hand Doctor

Once you’ve decided to see a hand doctor, ask your primary care doctor for a referral, or call Care New England Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at 401-729-2800.

Whether it is education about your problem, advice on preventing it from getting worse, medications, braces, exercises, therapy, injections, or surgery, a hand doctor can likely help make you feel better.

Disclaimer: While I am a doctor, I am not your doctor.  The content in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and should not serve as medical advice, consultation, or diagnosis.  If you have a medical concern, please consult your healthcare provider, or seek immediate medical treatment.