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Causes of Muscle Pain in the Hands and Feet

by
author image Noreen Kassem
Noreen Kassem is a hospital doctor and a medical writer. Her articles have been featured in "Women's Health," "Nutrition News," "Check Up" and "Alive Magazine." Kassem also covers travel, books, fitness, nutrition, cooking and green living.
Causes of Muscle Pain in the Hands and Feet
Aching hands while typing. Photo Credit ViktorCap/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Muscle pain is a common health complaint that occurs not only due to damage and inflammation of the affected muscle but also the structures around that muscle such as tendons and ligaments. Muscle pain in the hands and feet is usually the result of overuse, strain or injury of the specific muscle. It may also be associated with other medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis as well as muscle diseases such as dermatomyositis and fibromyalgia. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that muscle pain in the hands, feet and other areas of the body can be debilitating and may require treatment in severe cases.

Muscle Strain

A strain or sprained muscle is an injury that is usually caused by twisting or overstretching the muscle during trauma or in a sports-related accident. Muscle strains in the hands and feet may also be caused by excessive stress and repetitive movements of these joints, explains the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Symptoms of a muscle sprains include moderate pain, swelling, redness and mild limitation of movement of these muscles.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps cause a sudden sharp pain with stiffening of the muscle due to abnormal and involuntary contractions, says MayoClinic.com. This can cause severe pain that lasts for a few minutes or more and is usually relieved by stretching the affected muscle. Muscle cramps typically occur in warmer temperatures and after excessive exercise due to dehydration leading to a drop in body salts that are needed for normal muscle contraction and relaxation. Cramping in the muscles of the hands and feet may also be due to overuse and unnatural posturing for long durations.

Tunnel Syndromes

Carpal tunnel syndrome and tarsal tunnel syndrome cause pain in the muscles and joints of the hands and feet, respectively. These conditions are caused by the tightening of the tendon sheaths that surround the nerves passing through them to the joints of the hands and feet. Tunnel syndromes result in pain, tingling, numbness and progressive weakness of the affected muscles and can severely affect function of the hand or foot. Overuse and repetitive movements of the joints can cause these conditions. Tunnel syndromes can also be caused by swelling of the tendon sheaths around the nerves due to pregnancy, autoimmune disease inflammation, osteoarthritis and medical conditions such as diabetes and hypothyroidism.

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