April 15, 2019

Why you shouldn’t ignore finger, hand, elbow or wrist pain

Hand, Wrist and Elbow


You’ve been told a million times to not let pain be a deciding factor on what you should be doing. The voice inside your head might be your mom telling you to “tough it out” after you fell off your bike or your football coach screaming “no pain, no gain” during a workout.

No matter what, many of us have conditioned to ignore pain for as long as possible. However, that’s not always the best option and could make things more complicated.

“Often times, ignoring pain for a long period of time can actually make things worse,” said Dr. Andrew Vicar, OrthoIndy hand, wrist and elbow specialist. “If pain is serious, treatment from a medical professional is the best option to avoid further injury or prolonged treatment.”

Symptoms you shouldn’t ignore in the fingers, hand or wrist

  • Tingling, numbness or weakness
  • Stiffness, swelling and loss of movement
  • Pain that lasts more than 48 hours
  • Pain that is inconsistent or dull over a long period of time
  • Trouble grasping objects or frequently dropping objects

What happens if a fracture is left untreated?

While it is possible for a broken bone to heal on its own with splinting or bracing without the help of a medical professional, it could also lead to more problems or the need for surgery, which could’ve been avoided with treatment from a hand, wrist and elbow specialist.

“For example, people often hear that there is nothing you can do for a broken finger, so you might as well just tape it or splint it at home,” said Dr. Vicar. “However, improper splinting for a broken finger can actually cause more pain, arthritis and even the need for surgery.”

Parent's guide to at-home treatment

Why ignoring hand, wrist or elbow pain could make things worse

Furthermore, according to Dr. Vicar, it’s not just broken bones that require attention from a medical professional. Pain in your hand, wrist or elbow could also be a warning sign of something more serious.

With the increased use of cellphones and repetitive motion of typing on a keyboard, people are putting more pressure on their hands and wrists, which can cause pain or lack of motion.

Additionally, people that work with their hands such as construction workers or landscapers might feel their fingers lock up or the wrists become sore from repetitive motion.

“It’s important to talk to a hand, wrist and elbow specialist about your symptoms, especially if they have progressed,” said Dr. Vicar. “You might only need a brace or to change your work station set up; however, it could be more serious like carpal tunnel or arthritis where treatment is necessary to reduce pain.”

According to Dr. Vicar, the sooner you speak to a medical specialist about your hand, wrist or elbow pain, the less likely you are to need aggressive treatment such as surgery.

“Most times hand, wrist or elbow pain can be treated with conservative methods such as physical therapy, injections or bracing,” said Dr. Vicar. “However, there are times when conditions have advanced, or pain is too extreme, and surgery may be necessary.”

Learn more about hand, wrist and elbow treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan Golden worked at OrthoIndy from 2012 to 2019, where she wrote a variety of content for our blog, magazines and inbound campaigns. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor.

Related Posts

More from OrthoIndy

What are the most common golf injuries?

What are the most common golf injuries?

OrthoIndy hand and sports medicine physician, Dr. Timothy Dicke discusses common golf injuries and how to reduce your risk of experiencing an injury while playing.


What causes elbow tendonitis and how do you treat it?

What causes elbow tendonitis and how do you treat it?

THIS POST IS PART OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HAND, WRIST AND ELBOW INJURIES The elbow is made up of bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Tendons are flexible, tough bands…


What is endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery?

What is endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery?

Occasionally, surgery is necessary to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Endoscopic carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common treatment for patients who need surgery.


Get stories and News in your inbox

Subscribe to our weekly articles