Clenched Hand

I’m getting desperate. I have a symptom that I can’t find mentioned anywhere on the Internet in relation to MS. Yet my rehab team say that it is a MS symptom. Since I had a bad attack of MS resulting in me using an electric wheelchair about a year ago, I have found that my right hand has started to get 'tight" By this I mean that my hand curls up tightly, with my thumb tucked inside. It’s been getting worse and worse, and I often find my hand and arm is sitting above my chest curled inwards. For a long time I thought it was all in my mind and a bad habit. I have now got to the point whereby I can’t stretch my right hand out as fully as my left. My rehab team have given me several things to wear at night or when I’m sitting in a chair doing nothing to prevent my hand from curling. The bespoke cast I am supposed to wear at nighttime is so uncomfortable, it affects my sleep. I also experience a lot of pain under my arm running up from my wrist to my elbow. Does anyone else suffer from this with a diagnosis of MS? I have the typical numb finger ends that conversely create great pain on touching something equal to dipping my finger ends in hot water or putting them through a mangle. I now use software to dictate everything I want to type as it aggravates it so much. Is anyone else out there suffering the same symptoms?

Morning Sam,

i also have the curling hand, although I do not have it anywhere as bad as you. I was given splint things to wear at night but find them so incredibly uncomfortable, I would suggest you mention this to you physio.

I need you to know your definitely not alone!

Polly xxx

Hi Sam

I have problems with my left hand too but not as bad as you have it. It started off as a weakness but now my hand curls now and again and I think it probably is going to be on going. I go to a physio so I will mention it when I see her next. I have a feeling they are going to say its another symptom of ms but they might have exercises for it.

Mags xx

Hi Sam,

Sorry to hear of your plight, I too have a tight hand which could well be Ms but there are other conditions that it could be. Take a trip to your gp and it may not be what you think. There is Carpal Tunnel which also causes that problem, worth a try.

Janet. x


i can undertstand this. i to have been using powerchair for over a year following a huge relapse from which i have never recovered. all right side affected which is a b*gger as i am naturally right handed so i have controls on left which if further confusing for my poor brain!

re curling hand i experience exactly how you describe. what i did was spend long times sliding hand under my butt! and every hour (at least) doing some diy physio such as using better left hand to uncurl the right. physio did give me some finger exercises but they only work if u do them-i know that seems obvious but fatigue and whole load of other reasons make them easy not to do! i still cant do the individual finger ones but i can move whole hand a wee bit. oh-toes a prob too-i really struggle to find suitable footwear!

i suppose what i am saying is never underestimate the power of ur brain! the message may not be able to go a to b but may goa- c-d-e-f-b.

take care, ellie

Hi Sam, yes this happens to me as well but on the right hand, used to be a typist so you can imagine how frustrating this is, can’t even hold a pen now! I take Baclofen which helps but doesn’t stop it completely. You are definitely not alone. Linda x

Hi Sam, ask about Baclofen, it might help you. I have to constantly do exercises for my left side & hand as the hand will sometimes try to go into the position you’ve described.

Do you take any medication to help with sleeping? If you don’t, maybe something to relax you & help you to sleep would enable you to try the hand splint again & not find it so uncomfortable…might take a while to get used to it.

Good luck

Rosina x

The clenched hand was the first symptom I noticed, about three years before diagnosed. It’s my left hand, the same side as the rest of my weaknesses. It’s not painful, just annoying. Like you I hadn’t realised it was a MS symptom before so this post is very interesting.

Hi Sam55, my right hand & down my side and leg all spasm usually at the same time,the consultant explained this causes the hand to curl into what they call a crow foot if I remember correctly. Baclofen has helped reduce this, however I have more intense episodes if I am cold.

Hope this helps

Pauline x

Hi Sam,

I have a similar problem with my right foot. I have botulinum injections which kills off the nerve endings giving the muscles a chance to relax. You do have to have them every 8 to 12 weeks but it has given me some relief. I would ask your GP about it. I think it is offered by most hospital rehab units.

Best wishes


My hands both do this but the index fingers and thumb do not curl but spasm uncontrollably at same time other fingers are clenched tight into palm.

Left hand is worst…shame am left handed.

I too have night splints, day splints etc and due to see physio this week about murphy splints … we shall see if they do anything.

Quite a pain as I have to self catheter several times a day…got to laugh or I might scream !


I’d investigate the Botox possibility as a matter of urgency and be a bit pushy if you have to. I think these kind of things can be increasingly difficult to resolve the more they are left. I think they need aggressive management.

1 Like

Hi Sam.

Whilst my own clenched fist responds to Clonazepam, yours does sound more severe and quite possibly any anti-spasmodic drugs might not work. In which case I echo this…

Eiona :slight_smile:

Hi Sam Like mrbobowen mentions above, botox maybe suitable for you. Think about discussing it with your gp or neurologist. Good luck x


Hi I’ve ms and my right hand is all tight and I can’t seem to do anything and want it sorted as I’ve a 4 month old son and doing it on my own and I don’t want anymore acesidents I mean by nearly dropping my son and falling down out of the bath

How interesting that this has been mentioned. I was diagnosed PPMS in 2014 and didn’t know anything about this forum then, so I never knew this was an actual symptom. Now it makes sense, about 2 years before diagnosis I noticed my left hand curled up, not painful, but not right. Four years after diagnosis, now I’ve noticed the right hand is starting to curl and combined with tingling in my right foot and leg I guess PPMS is progressing, great!

carolineguk, I do feel for you. It’s a scary thing. I have an 18 month granddaughter living with me and it’s been a continual worry that I drop or hurt her with my clumsiness. I haven’t, thank goodness, but I have fallen whilst she was in my care, which was very scary. Please get help and advice from your ms nurse as soon as you can for your peace of mind.

Take care, Carolyn

My wife seems to get this on both hands, not to an extreme level, and not all the time but its definately there.I can see it but like most of her symptoms if i mention it she denies it! I think she just likes to disagree with me, she fell over in kitchen this weekend right in front of me and said i imagined it!

Hi everyone, I was just searching for clenched hand along with MS symptoms and came across all your comments. I have been suffering for several years with mine and my doctors have done nothing about it, apart from a few nerve conduction tests I think. When the curling of both my hands comes on I get severe pins and needles, kind of like a conveyor belt of them on an extremely fast speed. I’ve tried putting my hands to my face to see if I can feel the pins and needles that way as they are so intense you would think you would be able to feel them or see them in another way other than in my hands-I also get pins and needles in my arms, legs and feet. My hands will curl up as if I am holding onto something such as a steering wheel I suppose, and I’ve had the comments of ‘open them!’ but I can’t because they lock into that position for at least 20 to 30 minutes minimum at a time. I’m going to try again to see the doctor as I have been suffering yet again with vertigo-This is now my 9th week of it and I suffer with vertigo far too often, along with facial pain that has been looked at by the maxillofacial clinic who said my teeth were fine and thought my issue, (I also have another sensation like I’m a wax doll sat by the fire too long on one side of the face, well, it’s the same side), was something that was very complicated but didn’t do anything about it and I am waiting yet again to go see them once more…

Most of the muscles which control the fingers are in the forearm. If certain groups of these muscles contract then you will form a grasp with your fingers. It seems that it’s spasming of these muscles which cause your clenched fist. Certain medication, used as a muscle relaxant might work. Physiotherapy with a neurophysiotherapist would be a drug free option.