Swellings in the Hand

Any type of swelling or lump in the hand will need a proper evaluation. Although swellings in the hand are rarely worrisome or life-threatening, they can act as a hindrance to performing certain movements. Some swellings can also be painful and cause discomfort to the patient.

There are different types of swellings that can originate in the hand. The presenting symptoms and location can help in the diagnosis of the swelling.

What Are The More Common Types of Hand Swellings?

When a swelling arises at or around the joints in the finger, it is likely to be a benign tumour or swelling of the synovial tissue or a ganglion cyst of the tendon or joint. Swelling of the synovium is common amongst patients with rheumatoid arthritis or some other type of autoimmune inflammation. Ganglion cysts, on the other hand, are usually a result of the ageing process.

It’s rare for a malignant tumour to form in the hands but not impossible. Tumours, both benign and cancerous, can form anywhere in the skin, nerves, joints, blood vessels or bones of the hand. In most cases these tumours are benign, and a simple surgical excision will be enough.

How is a Lump in the Hand Diagnosed?

Apart from the history and examination of the swelling, certain imaging techniques will aid in the diagnosis of the lump. X-rays, USG and even MRI, can be useful in knowing the true nature of the lump.

If there is a suspicion of malignancy, a biopsy specimen from the lump is also taken for histopathology.

How is a Lump in the Hand Treated?

The treatment options will vary depending on the underlying cause of the swelling. When swelling causes pain or has proven to be a tumour, then surgery is the gold standard options.

Sometimes benign lumps are not operated upon and left as such if they present with no symptoms. However, regular follow-up is necessary in these cases.

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