A chronic hand condition, as opposed to an acute injury, is an injury, disease or condition that develops slowly and persists or recurs over time. Chronic conditions may be mild or severe, and many display only mild symptoms and/or pain for a long period of time. However, left untreated, low-grade chronic conditions can become debilitating, so it is important to seek treatment early.
Common chronic hand conditions include occupational overuse injuries, tendonitis, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms of chronic conditions may vary and include pain, swelling, weakness, numbness and limited motion. Symptoms may be constant or they may come and go and worsen at intervals or during certain activities, such as typing, driving, swinging a racquet or bat, or playing a musical instrument.
If you have hand or wrist pain that is continuous or recurring you should consider seeking professional help. Even seemingly minor pain or symptoms might mean you need expert treatment to prevent a permanent loss of function in your hand, and the longer you delay seeking treatment, the greater the potential impact. If you are uncertain about whether you need treatment, consult your local GP or contact the Hand Centre.