Why Are My Hands Always Warm?

Medically reviewed by Stacy Sampson, DO on December 1, 2017Written by Julie Ryan Evans

Overview

While cold hands can be painful and uncomfortable, warm hands can also cause problems. In some cases, your hands may just feel warm compared to the rest of your body. In others, you might even notice a burning sensation in your hands.

Keep reading to learn more about what might be causing this and how you can ease your symptoms.

Palmar erythema

Warmth or burning in both hands may be caused by a rare skin condition called palmar erythema. This condition also causes a splotchy red color on your palms, and sometimes even your fingers.

Some cases of palmar erythema have no known cause, or it may be inherited. However, others are related to or caused by:

If there’s no known cause of palmar erythema or it’s hereditary, there’s no specific treatment for it. But if it’s related to a treatable, underlying cause, it usually clears up after the underlying cause is addressed.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is usually marked by pain felt over various places of the body, as well as generalized fatigue. In some cases, people with fibromyalgia will experience a burning sensation in their hands and feet.

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia may include:

Fibromyalgia can be hard for doctors to diagnose. You may have it if you experience ongoing, widespread pain that has no identifiable cause for at least three months or more.

Treatment options for managing symptoms include:

  • muscle relaxant medications
  • anticonvulsant medications
  • antidepressant medications

Others find relief through alternative remedies, including:

  • acupuncture
  • massage
  • yoga

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to what happens when there’s pressure on your median nerve. This nerve travels from your forearm into your palm, in the carpal tunnel of the wrist. In some cases, it can cause warmth or a burning sensation in your hands.

Other symptoms include:

  • numbness and tingling in your palm and fingers
  • weakness in your hand muscles
  • wrist pain, numbness, or weakness
  • pain and burning that moves up your arm

Several things can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. They include:

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on how bad the pain is. Treatment options include:

Peripheral neuropathy

Warmth or a burning sensation in your hands can also be a symptom of peripheral neuropathy. This condition involves nerve dysfunction due to nerve damage from an underlying condition.

Other symptoms may include:

  • tingling in the hands or feet
  • sharp pain
  • numbness in the hands or feet
  • weakness in arms or legs
  • feeling of heaviness in arms or legs
  • a buzzing or shocking sensation in hands or feet
  • low blood pressure
  • erectile dysfunction
  • feeling like your arms or legs are locked in place

While genetics may play a role in the development of peripheral neuropathy, it’s typically due to an underlying condition.

Some common underlying conditions include:

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy usually focuses on managing the underlying cause. In the meantime, you can work with your doctor to manage your symptoms with:

  • pain treatment medications, including topical medications, such as lidocaine
  • anticonvulsant medication therapy
  • alternative therapies, such as acupuncture

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), also called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), is a complex condition where there’s malfunctioning in your nervous system and immune system. These malfunctions are usually the result of an injury or underlying condition, including stress, infection, or cancer.

While it occurs most often in the hand, it can affect other parts of the body as well. It often makes the affected body part warm to the touch. It may also cause sweating.

Other symptoms include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • sensitivity to heat or cold
  • pale or red skin
  • muscle weakness or spasms
  • joint stiffness

Depending on your symptoms, there are many options for treating RSD. It may take some time before you find something that works, but possible treatments include:

  • medications, including NSAID, anticonvulsant, and corticosteroid therapies
  • anesthetic injections
  • biofeedback
  • physical therapy
  • surgical therapy

Erythromelalgia

Though it’s rare, erythromelalgia may cause intense warmth or a painful burning sensation in your hands. Other symptoms may include:

  • swelling
  • increased sweating
  • red or purple-colored skin

Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes most cases of erythromelalgia. Genetic inheritance is very rare. Erythromelalgia may be related to certain blood vessels not staying as dilated or narrowed as they should be, affecting blood flow to your arms and legs. It may also be related to or caused by an underlying condition, including:

  • bone marrow disorders
  • nerve damage
  • autoimmune disorders

Pain and burning caused by erythromelalgia respond well to cooling techniques, such as putting your hands in cold water. Other treatment options include:

  • elevating your hands
  • avoiding warm temperatures and hot water
  • topical creams containing lidocaine
  • medications such as calcium antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants, or antihistamine therapy

The bottom line

In most cases, having occasionally warm hands isn’t a problem. However, if the warmth doesn’t go away after several days or starts to cause a burning sensation, it’s best to contact your doctor. You may have an underlying condition that’s affecting your nervous or circulatory systems and need additional treatment.

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