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8 Things you never knew your hands could tell you about your health

Dr. Anderson



Your life is in your hands… Sounds so cliché, right? However, what if your hands could actually tell you things about your life including it’s potential quality and quantity? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Fortunately for us, it does, but it’s in a rare language called “Handese” which we are quite proficient in…luckily!.
So we’re going to be interpreting 8 things that your hands are trying to tell you with regards to your health. You’ll never view your hands the same again after reading this.

1. Numbness and tingling in the thumb, index, middle finger and part of ring finger: This describes a condition called Carpal tunnel syndrome, in which a nerve supplying the hand is compressed. The symptoms are usually worse at night and in the advanced stage there may be weakness of the thumb. It occurs more often during pregnancy, among body builders and some typists.
2. Spasms of the hands and feet: is a relatively common manifestation of low blood calcium levels among other conditions. Other symptoms include “pins and needles” sensation around the mouth, muscle cramps in the back, difficulty in swallowing, wheezing and voice changes.
3.Intention tremors: This occurs when the hands shake uncontrollably only when a person is trying to do something or reach for something. At rest, the hands are as stable as a rhino. These class of tremors arise from damage to a special part of the brain called the cerebellum. Other complaints include slurred speech, abnormal gait, unconscious shifty eye movements and difficulty in performing rapidly alternating movements.
4. Tremors at rest: In this situation, the hands shake uncontrollably even while at rest. One of the most significant causes of this is Parkinsonism. Another cause is thyroid gland hyperactivity.
5. Flexion(Bending) deformity of the terminal joint of the finger (Swan neck deformity): Is a fixed deformity usually seen in Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic condition affecting multiple joints.
6.Boutonniere deformity: This is a deformed position of the fingers or toes, in which the joint nearest to the knuckle is permanently bent toward the palm while the farthest joint is bent back away. It could be caused by injury, Rheumatoid arthritis or genetic conditions like Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
7. Hand permanently flexed/bent downwards at the wrist: This is usually seen in damage to a nerve called the radial nerve or the spinal cord components that supply this nerve.
8. Severe itching and burrows in the webbed spaces of the fingers: This is classically seen in Scabies (a contagious skin infection caused by a mite. Burrows are a pathognomonic sign and represent the intraepidermal tunnel (hole in the top layer of the skin) created by the moving female mite. They appear as curved, grayish, threadlike elevations in the superficial epidermis(top layer of the skin), ranging from 2-10 mm long. They can also be found in the armpits, belt area, wrist and scrotum. Treatment is with scabicidal creams and certain drugs.

Now that you understand the “Handese” language, pay attention to what your hands are trying to say!

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Dr Anderson is a graduate of Lagos State University College of Medicine who is on a mission to build a national team of healthcare professionals with international affiliations, which will bring basic healthcare to the poorest in society and increase National income from Medical tourism. He is a proud member of various reputable bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos chapter, the World Safety Organisation and the Christian Medical and Dental Association, Nigeria (CMDA Nigeria). He also belongs to the Medical College of Surgeons. He is an MDCN(Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) and HSE 1, 2, 3 certified doctor. When he is not busy reading, writing or doing some public speaking, you can find him dancing, playing chess or watching movies.