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Pain in the palm of the hand

There are many causes of pain in the palm of your hand. You can often ease the pain yourself. But see a GP if the pain does not improve.

How you can ease palm pain yourself

If you see a GP about pain in your palm, they'll usually suggest you try these things:

Do

  • rest your hand when you can

  • put an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) in a towel and place it on your palm for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours

  • take paracetamol to ease the pain

  • remove any jewellery if your hand is swollen

  • stop or cut down activities that are causing the pain – for example, writing, typing, DIY or housework

  • wrap a bandage around your hand to support it

  • wear a splint to support your palm and ease pain, especially at night – you can get these at most pharmacies and supermarkets

  • keep your hands and wrists moving with gentle exercises to help ease pain and stiffness

Don’t

  • do not use ibuprofen in the first 48 hours after an injury

  • do not use heat packs or have hot baths for the first 2 to 3 days after an injury

  • do not lift heavy objects or grip anything too tightly

A pharmacist can help with hand pain

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • the best painkiller to take
  • the best splint to support your hand and ease pain
  • if you need to see a GP

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • pain in the palm of your hand is stopping you doing normal activities
  • the pain is getting worse or keeps coming back
  • the pain has not improved after treating it at home for 2 weeks
  • you have any tingling or loss of sensation in your hand
  • you have diabetes – hand problems can be more serious if you have diabetes
  • you have a painful palm and also feel unwell with a high temperature
  • your palm is painful, warm, swollen and stiff
Information:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It's still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during COVID-19

Immediate action required: Go to an urgent treatment centre or A&E if:

  • you have severe pain in your hand
  • you feel faint, dizzy or sick from the pain
  • you heard a snap, grinding or popping noise at the time of the injury
  • you're not able to move your thumb or hold things
  • your finger or thumb has changed shape or colour
  • you've lost the feeling of part or all of your hand

These might be signs of a broken hand.

What we mean by severe pain
Severe pain:
  • always there and so bad it's hard to think or talk
  • you cannot sleep
  • it's very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
Moderate pain:
  • always there
  • makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
  • you can manage to get up, wash or dress
Mild pain:
  • comes and goes
  • is annoying but does not stop you doing daily activities

Common causes of pain in the palm of your hand

Pain in the palm of your hand is often caused by bruising or injuring your hand.

Your symptoms might also give you an idea of what's causing the pain in your palm.

Common causes of palm pain and related symptoms.
Symptoms Possible cause
Aching pain that's worse at night, numbness or pins and needles, a weak thumb or difficulty gripping Carpal tunnel syndrome
Pain or tenderness in your palm at the base of your fingers or thumb, stiffness, clicking when you move your finger or thumb Trigger finger
Pain, swelling and stiffness that lasts a long time, may be hard to move fingers, may have a lump Arthritis
Sharp or burning pain, tingling or numbness, palm feels more or less sensitive to touch or heat Peripheral neuropathy
Heat, pain and redness in the palms Erythromelalgia
Information:

Do not worry if you're not sure what the problem is.

Follow the advice on this page and see a GP if the pain does not get better in 2 weeks.

Page last reviewed: 24 March 2022
Next review due: 24 March 2025