ZocdocAnswersCan pain in your hand cause pain all the way up the same arm?

Question

Can pain in your hand cause pain all the way up the same arm?

I had this bruise or what I thought was a bruise in the knuckle of my left hand and now I'm getting some pain that is all the way up that same arm. It goes almost all the way up to my shoulder and it seems like it follows a line like it along a vein or tendon or something. Could the knuckle injury cause all of this pain in my arm?

Answer

It sounds like your symptoms are pretty severe. For this reason, I would strongly recommend that you go to see your primary care doctor, or seek evaluation in the emergency room. A localized bruise over or injury to your knuckle should definitely not cause pain that shoots all the way up your arm. It is also hard to imagine how an injury over the knuckle could cause a significant enough nerve injury to cause shooting pains up your arm, as there are no major nerves in that part of the hand. Therefore, I think you need to be evaluated for a more serious injury, somewhere else in the arm and shoulder, as the potential cause of your pain. Your doctor, depending on what they find, might want to get some x-rays of the arm. Another potential cause is that you could have an infection spreading up the arm starting from a cut on the hand near the site of the knuckle injury. Typically, there would be swelling or redness on the skin, and potentially fever, in addition to pain in this scenario. Regardless, get in to see your doctor right away, and they should be able to help you figure things out.

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