Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

What is it?

Hand-arm vibration syndrome, HAVS is a condition which can affect the circulation, sensory and motor nerves and cause musculo-skeletal problems and can damage blood vessels and nerves in the fingers.

Also known as Dead Man’s Hand or White Finger Disease, HAVS is the most common secondary cause of Raynaud's. During an attack the blood vessels narrow and the blood supply to the fingers is reduced.


Fingertips turn white after exposure to cold, and with increased vibration this condition progresses to the base of the fingers. Attacks last several minutes to over an hour and often end with considerable pain.

The friction resulting from the excessive repetitive activity causes a sharp or achy pain, tenderness and stiffness of the joint, which is moved by the tendon. It may last for only a few days, but in some cases can go on for many weeks or even months. However, treatment usually helps. During the attack fingers feel numb to the touch, and pain and temperature sensitivity are often greatly reduced.

Exposure to HAVS over many years can lead to reduced grip strength and numbness and temperature sensitivity may persist between attacks. Problems such as cyst formation in the carpal bones can also result.


  • Rotate repetitive activities and job duties to reduce stress and take frequent breaks throughout the day.
  • Adjusting an existing lifestyle can control Raynaud's. This may include protection from the cold, avoiding excessive emotional stress, minimizing the use of vibrating tools and wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE that will provide support during repetitive tasks.)
  • IMPACTO's anti-vibration Air Gloves are designed to dampen and absorb the shock and vibration and have proven to be an effective means for prevention.
  • Wrist supports will help to prevent over flexion and over extension of the wrist which helps prevent further onset of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome associated with vibraton.


  • More severe cases may require medical treatment, such as drugs to help dilate blood vessels. Consult your physician before taking any medications. In some cases surgery is necessary.
  • There is no known cure for Raynaud's Disease; therefore, effective preventative measures are essential.