Whether the lump or bump on your hand is painful or just unsightly, you may be curious about what it is and what you should do about it. Hand specialist Andrea L. Gale, MD, with Southeastern Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine has answers.
Q. What are some of the common lumps and bumps that develop on the fingers, wrists or palms?
The good news is the vast majority of the lumps or bumps that people develop on their hands are benign. By far, the most common one is a ganglion cyst. This is a cyst that forms around a joint and is filled with joint fluid. They can develop around any joint, but are fairly common around the wrist and fingers.
Another common bump is called a Heberdon node. It forms from underlying arthritis at the distal interphalangeal joint of the fingers.
Lipomas, or fatty tumors, can also form in the hand.
Dupuytren’s disease can also cause nodules or bumps to form in the palm.
Q. If a bump is not painful, should I be concerned about it?
Generally speaking, if the lump is not painful it can be monitored for changes in size or symptoms. It can be beneficial to see a doctor to have the size and location documented for future comparison in case it does change in size or character.
Q. Are there treatment options for bumps that are painful or limit activities or range of motion?
Yes, absolutely. While lesions that are not painful are usually treated with observation, those that are painful or limit activities can be treated.
Ganglion cysts can be aspirated or surgically removed. However, there is a word of caution with ganglion cysts. They do have a tendency to recur even if surgically removed.
If pain is caused by osteoarthritis, there are medications that can minimize pain. In certain cases, there are operative treatments that can improve range of motion.
Q. Do these conditions develop at a certain age?
They can form at any age.
Q. Is it possible for a bump on the hand to be malignant?
Yes, it's possible. Skin cancers can appear on the hands. There are also some locally aggressive lesions of the tendon sheath that can develop and cause swelling in the fingers. Malignant lesions to the hands are typically metastasis from other parts of the body.
Q. When should someone seek medical attention for a bump on the hand?
If a person has a new bump or lesion of their hand, they can make an appointment with their primary care physician who can direct them to the correct specialist to evaluate the condition.