I am a very skinny guy, 180cm tall, weigh 63kg. Even being as thin as I am, I had started to develop a potbelly. So I decided to do small rounds of working out about 10 days ago whenever I can, which included only two things - push-ups, and sit-ups.

This went pretty okay for a week - I used to do them both alternately at least once a day, sometimes more, intermittently.

But, about since about three to four days, I'm feeling slight pain in my left palm. I'm attaching an image below to indicate specifically which part of the palm. It always happens only when I go DOWN to do the push-up, not when I push. And it sort of feels like a nerve attached at that point from inside the palm is being pulled.

Does anyone know why this could be happening? It is extremely frustrating that I out of the blue, can't do push ups now because of this and I could just 10 days ago.I really want to stay in shape, as much as I can.

This is the image: http://i.stack.imgur.com/LEDIZ.jpg

  • have you tried doing push ups on a soft surface like carpet or a yoga mat? I don't know if it would make a difference which is why I'm not answering it just commenting, but if you haven't it might be worth a shot. Jun 20, 2012 at 5:58
  • @Calvin I did actually. Still persists. As I said, feels like a nerve is attached to the point marked and being pulled from in. Jun 20, 2012 at 11:03
  • You can also do pushups on your knuckles, it's not much harder (and might help wrist stability etc).
    – VPeric
    Jun 20, 2012 at 12:00
  • @VPeric I tried that but I was feeling tension in my abs more while doing that. Is that okay or am I not doing it right? Jun 21, 2012 at 12:12
  • @ProgrammingNoob It's basically the same movement, there's no real way to do it wrong; if your abs hurt that just means you are training your abs as well, which can only be a good thing!
    – VPeric
    Jun 21, 2012 at 23:06

5 Answers 5


I'm no doctor (and this may be a case where you should see one)... so it's everyone's guess what it could be without a professional having a look.

What I can guess based on what you describe: could be trapped nerve, could be a repetative strain (akin to carpel tunnel), could be a muscle strain (that's the abductor digiti minimi muscle of the hand you seem to be pointing to in the pic), or one of its tendons, as it seems you aren't getting the pain via the force/pushing up, but more on the flexion/stretch as you come down, putting stress on that area.

Again, if resting, icing and taking anti-inflammatories (all the usual home remedy stuff) doesn't work and it persists, you gotta see a doctor about it.


Here's a link to a site with stretching/exercises for the hand: http://www.handhealthresources.com/Solutions%20Pages/Exercises.htm

Sounds like you might have bruised a tendon or its the start of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-topic-overview). I would recommend using dumbells or some pushup bars to hold on to OR knuckle push ups to take the pressure off the wrist/palm. Like the old Dr. said, if it hurts, don't do it.

  • Dumbells is a good idea. I'll try that and knuckle push ups. Will also check your links, thanks :) Jun 21, 2012 at 12:14

I was going to guess it was that part of your palm, as I've experienced it there too (and in the left hand). Sadly I don't have a good answer for it (yet). My solution was to switch to knuckle pushups, or use a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells and grip them. I don't experience the pain either when I do wide grip pushups, so that might work for you as well.

It'd also be worth trying headstands (and handstands if you can do them) to see if you experience the pain with that too - I'm not sure what the presence or absence of pain doing that would indicate, but more information always helps, and maybe that'll be enough for someone more knowledgeable to have an explanation.


I too recently noticed this pain after doing pushups daily for about 3 weeks. It was my right palm. I am right hand dominant. I will assume you are left hand dominant. I decided to rest and took 4 days off. Did my pushup routine last night and didn't experience the pain. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to continue with my daily pushup routine or try the every other day schedule.

Watching videos and reading what some other workout buffs say about exercise routines when body building, most all seem to agree that rest is key to seeing results. Each session you are tearing muscle tissue and so when you rest the tissue repairs and grows. All of this said really didn't give a concise and proven remedy to the palm problem, but rest is my advice.

After reading what I've posted and editing a few times, I think I'll take my own advice and allow a day in between sessions for rest and try to keep the palm pain at bay. As someone mentioned, the pushup bars are another good suggestion. The knuckle technique is ok too but I do a variation pushup called the diamond, so the knuckle technique won't work in this case as the thumb and index finger of each hand need to meet thus forming the diamond shape.

  • The URL that Meade Rubenstein posted of WebMD clearly explains the pain we are experiencing. Here is an excerpt: (quote) "Pressure on the median nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This pressure can come from swelling or anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller. Many things can cause this swelling, including: Illnesses such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Making the same hand movements over and over, especially if the wrist is bent down (your hands lower than your wrists), or making the same wrist movements over and over." (end quote)
    – Oldskool
    Jan 6, 2016 at 0:30

I sometimes get this pain when I sleep with my hand curled in (it's comfy but you pay for it the next day).

  • If you still want to do pushups, try doing knuckle pushups. That takes the strain off of your wrist.
  • You can also use pushup bars to get around this pain and still do pushups. (A set from Target or Walmart is around ~$20)
  • I will look into push up bars. I did try knuckles but I don't think I was doing it right. I'll try that again too :) Jun 21, 2012 at 12:13

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