What causes hand tremors in children?

Tremors are common in people who are older, but certain medical conditions can cause tremors at any age. Hand tremors in children can be a sign of a mild or serious underlying medical condition. It is important to have children evaluated by a physician to find out the cause of hand tremors.

Familial Tremor

A cause of hand tremors in children is called familial tremor. It is thought to be an inherited condition, because multiple family members suffer from this neurological disorder. The tremors worsen with movement, emotional stress and activity. The exact cause of familial tremor is unknown. In some cases, the tremors may affect other parts of the body, such as the head, arms, or facial muscles. Familial tremor in children usually affects only the hands and requires no treatment.

Brain Tumors

According to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, each year approximately 2,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with a brain tumour. The type of brain tumour, size and location will produce different symptoms. A brain tumour in the cerebellum, or back of the brain, can cause hand tremors in children as well as other symptoms such as headaches, difficulties walking, and vomiting in the morning without nausea.


Graves' disease is the cause of most cases of hyperthyroidism. The immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which causes it to produce too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism can cause hand tremors in children, and include symptoms such as moodiness, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, sweaty skin, skin that is warm, red, and/or itchy, and weight loss. If a child has any of these symptoms consult a physician right away. Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to severe heart problems, and bone problems.

Spinocerebellar Ataxia

Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) stands for the parts of the nervous system affected. The first part, spino, is the spinal cord, and cerebellar is the back part of the brain. This region of the brain is what controls coordination. Ataxia refers to the inability to coordinate muscle movement. The lack of control over muscles is what may cause hand tremors in children with this condition. Other symptoms include difficulty with walking and balance, slurred speech, and swallowing problems.

Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette's syndrome is a central nervous system disorder that causes twitching, uncontrolled movements of the body, and vocal outbursts such as yelling, grunting, or throat clearing. These symptoms are called tics. Tics often happen multiple times throughout the day, and usually more than one type of tic is present. Symptoms of Tourette's involve single or multiple muscle groups, and can cause hand tremors in children. If they are tired, excited, upset, or angry, the tics can worsen.

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About the Author

Marie Louise is passionate about her writing, bringing personal knowledge and experience on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, chronic pain conditions, parenting, research, alternative medicine and animals. Her work appears on several different websites.