Cramps in Hands and Feet, Hand Cramping and Locking, Acute Causes, Cramps in Hands When Gripping, Home Remedies to Cramps in Hands, Treatment of Hand Cramps

Have you ever experienced cramps in hands? In this article, we critically look at the cramps in hands and feet, hand cramping and locking, acute causes, when gripping, home remedies and treatment.

Cramps in Hands and Feet

Cramps happens in any muscle, which includes the hands as well as the feet. Cramps in hand and feet happen abruptly and develop much quickly. Having them can range from an inconvenience to a painful situation.

There are several potential causes that can lead to cramps, which ranges from the benign to symptoms of the serious disease.

Cramps are involuntary contractions of muscles, during which muscles contract tightly than you might voluntarily have to contract them. They mostly happen abruptly and might also be painful.

The muscle which is cramping might visibly bulge under skin and when touched, it can also feel hard or even rigid. Cramps are usually associated with spasms.

If you have low levels of some nutrients, this can lead to hand and foot cramps. If you have reduced levels of magnesium, it leads to cramps in hands. Lack of vitamin D can lead to muscle spasms and cramps in hands and feet.

If you have cramps while feeling dehydrated, especially after some exercise, then that triggers muscle contractions. In these particular cases, correcting the deficiency can stop the cramps from coming back after stretching out the muscles.

Several diseases which includes muscle spasms in symptoms. These particular spasms can cause hand and foot cramps. These diseases include kidney failure, hypothyroidism as well as tetany. Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis are also said to cause hand and foot spasms, which can then trigger cramps. Treating these conditions can assist in prevention of hand and foot cramps.

Cramps in hands
Cramps in hands

Hand Cramping and Locking

Hand cramps may be uncomfortable and sporadic or even chronic. When your hand cramps up, you might have a lot of difficulty bringing your fingers together.

You can also experience cramping in many other parts of your body also. While hand cramping isn’t that dangerous, it may be an indication of a larger issue when other symptoms are present.

What causes cramps in hands?

If you can determine the exact cause of your cramps, then you’re likely to keep them from happening in future. The following are some of the possible reasons for the condition.

Low magnesium

Magnesium assists in maintenance of strong bones and also relaxation of the muscles.

This mineral assists in prevention of the muscle cramps, which includes hand cramps, and the restless leg syndrome as well as the eye twitches. If you’re low on magnesium, you might also experience some of the below symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • PMS and menstrual cramps
  • asthma
  • insomnia
  • dizziness


If you don’t drink enough amount of water, you might easily be dehydrated. Dehydration happens when the body lacks enough water so as to properly function. Dehydration affects functioning of muscles and makes them to cramp.

While dehydration is likely to happen in the hot temperatures, you may also develop dehydration without any proper water intake in the cold temperatures as well. Other symptoms of dehydration are:

  • bad breath
  • dry skin
  • craving sweet foods
  • headaches

Poor circulation

Poor circulation occurs when your body lacks enough flow of blood. Circulation sends blood, nutrients, as well as oxygen through your body. You might also feel circulation issues in hands, arms and also the legs. You can then experience the below symptoms:

  • pain
  • tingling
  • throbbing pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the nerve going from the forearm to palm is compressed. The nerve is inside, which comprises of the flexor retinaculum, tendons, as well as the bone below the hand.

The compression may be brought about by thickening or even swelling of the tendons which can be irritated.

Those with the syndrome experience the below symptoms that occurs together with hand cramps:

  • burning in the palm and fingers
  • a swelling sensation
  • decreased grip strength

Several other types of repetitive strain injuries might also lead to hand cramps, such as writer’s or musician’s cramp.

Stiff hand syndrome

Stiff hand syndrome, also known as the diabetic stiff hand syndrome, is a complication of diabetes in which thickening and also the waxiness of hands which limits the movements of fingers.

Those with both types of diabetes can experience hand cramps emanating from stiff hand syndrome. Researchers say that the condition might be due to an increase of glycosylation, in which sugar molecules tend to attach to protein molecules.

The increase leads to the skin increasing in collagen. Other symptoms of the stiff hand syndrome are:

  • the inability to strengthen the joints
  • stiffness in little finger which then extends to thumb
  • the inability to bringing together all fingers
  • waxy skin on back of hand

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis leads to hand cramps, and cramping in several other parts of the body.

This autoimmune disease usually attacks the joints, leading to inflammation which makes the joint tissue to thicken. In time, the joints might then lose their mobility.

If you have this condition, you might feel the cramps in hands, in feet, knees, wrists and also the elbows. Joint inflammation from the condition is symmetrical, meaning that if one hand is affected, the other is also affected.

Cramps in hands
Cramps in hands

Cramps in Hands When Gripping

While almost everyone understands what a muscle cramp feels like, many patients do not know the underlying cause. When muscles contract involuntarily, it is called a spasm.

Forceful, prolonged spasms are known as cramps. An involuntary muscle contraction might be brought on by several factors, which includes poor blood supply, nerve compression, as well as mineral deficiency.

Acute causes of cramps in hands

There are several acute causes of the cramps. These may be due to dehydration and potassium deficiency. A loss of body electrolytes can also lead to cramping in several areas of the body, which includes the hands.

Because vigorous activity can cause dehydration, exercise activities are usually linked to muscle cramps. Activities which are linked specifically to the hand pain—repetitive behaviors like typing and writing, however—might simply cause cramps due to overuse of hands.

Hand cramps from the acute causes can be eliminated with rest, and adjustments to diet, including Vitamin D and also potassium supplements.

Hand cramps from arthritis

Because occasional muscle cramps are very much common, there’s no good reason to assume that they are brought about by a chronic condition. However, if you have persistent cramps or even the wrist, this may be due to arthritis.

Patients with osteoarthritis frequently experience hand cramps due to inflammation of joints. There are many conservative and invasive treatments available for arthritis which includes joint arthroscopy.

Proper arthritis treatment can assist to decrease painful cramps in hands.

How to Get Rid Of Hand Cramps

The common drug treatment for cramps is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which then produce side effects such as heartburn, stomach pain, tinnitus, dizziness, kidney or liver problems.

However, hand cramps may also be relieved through use of various self-care methods. Here are the common natural hand cramps treatment in form of food, supplements among other natural therapies.

  1. Warm Compress

Apply a warm compress such as the use of a heating pad to your hand cramps. Pain may be relieved once the heat encourages blood flow and then relaxes muscles.

If pain continues after a period of 10 minutes, wait for about 30 minutes before using the compress once again.

  1. Foods Rich in Acetic Acid

A diet that is high in acetic acid foods can also assist to relieve cramps. Some of better options include apple cider vinegar and pickle juice.

Acetic acid is usually required for acetylcholine synthesis, improving the functionality as well as coordination of the muscles in your hands. Thus, cramping might be alleviated or even be eliminated.

  1. Herbal Tea

Research has shown that stress and anxiety might be a cause of cramps in hands. Thus, several herbal teas might relieve stress and also relax the body, potentially provide relief from muscle cramps.

Valerenic acid that is contained in chamomile tea is called a muscle relaxant which can assist in relieving cramps. The menthol in peppermint tea is a natural muscle relaxant. Other herbal relaxant teas include peppermint, lemon balm, passionflower and ginger.

  1. Stretching

One of the best and fastest ways that can be used to relieve cramps in hands is performing a few gentle stretching exercises. The best approach here is flexing of the hand muscles while moving the hands around.

You may also press the hand on wall using fingers facing down so as to relieve hand cramps.

  1. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is also said to treat cramps. Simply use some amount of warm massage oil on affected area. Light and then apply gentle strokes so as to relieve the pain.

Research that was published in the journal Pain Management Nursing in 2004 indicated that hand massage is an effective, and low-risk strategy that is used for pain management.

Another study that was carried out in the year 2011 showed that massage therapy improves muscle pain, indicated that the muscle relaxant effects due to massage.  

Also, a hand exerciser can assist to reduce hand cramps. This is useful for people who perform regular actions using their hands.

  1. Essential Oils

Essential oils are a great way that can be used for relaxing muscles and soothing of the cramps. For hands cramps , dilute any essential oil in carrier oil like coconut oil, and apply the mixture to cramping area.

The following are essential oil picks for relieving hand and finger cramps:

  • Thyme: Thyme essential oil has a heating effect which benefits the joints as well as the muscles. This is due to its thyme oil’s antiseptic and antispasmodic properties.
  • Roman chamomile: Roman chamomile is an essential oil with antispasmodic properties which is beneficial for hands cramps because of muscle spasms. Research articles has confirmed that Roman chamomile is used for rheumatic pain as well as muscle spasms.
  • Lavender: The analgesic properties in lavender oil are effective at treatment of pain from muscle tension and also stress. It might also improve the blood circulation, which is very perfect for relieving of the muscle spasms because of anxiety.

Hand Cramps Treatment

General home remedies for the cramps include stretching, strength-building exercises, thus increasing your fluid intake, and taking of vitamin D supplements.

Treatments might also be prescribed based on reason for your symptoms.

To treat low magnesium

Increase your magnesium intake by eating more leafy greens and whole grains. Take a magnesium supplement. If you experience stomach upset, try use of the magnesium chelate, which is much easier to digest.

To treat dehydration

For mild dehydration, drink water as well as a rehydration drink with electrolytes, like Gatorade.

You may also create your rehydration drink with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 4 teaspoons of sugar, and some water. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency.

To treat poor circulation

Participate in an exercise program that is recommended by your doctor. Other treatments depends largely on the cause of circulation issue.

To treat carpal tunnel syndrome

Take frequent breaks, avoid any activities which can aggravate symptoms, and ensure that you apply a cool pack. Your doctor might also suggest splinting, over-the-counter medications, yoga or surgery.

To treat stiff hand syndrome

Maintain proper blood glucose levels, and try some of the exercises so as to strengthen the hand and keep it more flexible. Your doctor might also prescribe physical therapy.

To treat rheumatoid arthritis

Your doctor might also recommend that you try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, disease-modifying ant rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), or even that you undergo surgery.



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