A variety of problems can cause hand stiffness, limiting the use and function that we often take for granted. Stiffness can occur when there are problems within and around the structures of a joint, including ligaments and muscles. Some of these problems may include:
- Bad sprains
- Tendon and muscle injuries
Evaluating Hand Stiffness
Your doctor will ask when the stiffness began and how it has progressed, including its effect on use of the hand, any injuries, other medical conditions and any prior treatment. Careful examination is performed to check the range of motion, assess swelling and tenderness, and evaluate muscles and tendons.
X-rays are usually taken to evaluate for arthritis and any other distortion of the bones and joints. For special situations, other tests may be considered such as an MRI or CT scan.