Pain in the wrist is quite common among American adults. The wrist is a marvel of flexibility and complexity, but those very characteristics increase the chances of wrist pain at some point for many people. While not all wrist pain requires surgery, if you get to that point, you may need help from a hand surgeon or hand specialist. For more information about wrist pain, courtesy of the Florida Hand Center, please read on.
How Anatomy Affects Wrist Pain
Your wrist is a bit of an genetic engineering marvel, consisting of eight small bones and numerous joints that are connected by ligaments (the muscles that control the wrist are actually in the forearm). While these multiple moving parts allow you to perform complex tasks, like painting, playing the piano or using a computer, they also mean that when a minor problem occurs it can cause wrist pain. Wrist pain can be difficult to diagnose, which is why you should see a hand doctor who specializes in the wrist and hand.
Injuries and Wrist Pain
Wrist injuries are basically of two sorts. An acute injury is usually the result of a fall or other acute trauma. These injuries can cause sprains, strains or fractures, and nearly always benefit from treatment by a hand specialist. Overuse or repetitive motion injuries come on slowly and result from making the same motion repeatedly. For example, typing, using a computer mouse, swinging a hammer or performing tasks with hand-operated machinery can stress joints and ligaments.
Other Reasons for Wrist Pain
Rheumatoid arthritis is a fairly common reason for wrist pain; it may be accompanied by pain in other joints in the hand or extremities. A chronic condition that cannot be cured, it can cause permanent joint deformities. Carpal tunnel is another condition of the wrist that results from narrowing of the space where the median nerve runs from the forearm to the base of the thumb. The narrow “tunnel” causes inflammation and swelling of the nerve.
Diagnosing and Treating Wrist Pain
When pain in the wrist becomes persistent or severe, you should see a hand specialist. This physician – often an orthopaedic surgeon – can assess your situation and make a recommendation. Tests like an X-ray, MRI or a special procedure called an arthroscopy can help pinpoint the problem. Wrist pain doesn’t automatically mean you need wrist or hand surgery. Many conditions that affect the wrist can be treated conservatively. For example, overuse injuries often respond to rest and mild analgesics. Sometimes a brace or splint may be helpful.
When you’re struggling with wrist pain, please contact us at the Florida Hand Center. Our physicians specialize in all kinds of hand and wrist conditions. If it turns out you need wrist surgery, we offer that option as well as more conservative therapy. We have locations in both Port Charlotte and Fort Myers.