If your wrist is aching, it’s probably due to one of these five causes.
Wrist pain can range from mild discomfort that recedes in a few days with rest and ice therapy, to a persistent ache that keeps you awake at night. In its more severe forms, you may feel a tingling sensation along the thumb and the wrist, and even experience a loss of mobility; you may even struggle to pick up the lightest of objects.
If your wrist pain continues for several days without any relief, it’s time to see a doctor. After a physical exam, your doctor may perform imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to diagnose the root of your wrist pain. In all likelihood, your ailing wrist is due to one of these five common causes.
What’s Causing Your Wrist Pain
Though small, our wrists are made up of a complex network of bones, ligaments, and tendons. As with any complex joint in the body, our wrists are susceptible to pain due to repetitive motions or sudden injuries. Here’s a look at the leading causes of wrist discomfort.
- Sprains and Fractures. When we take a tumble, our first instinct is to stop the fall with our hands. This usually results in a sprain if the ligament is stretched almost to the point of rupturing. Breaking a forward fall with our hands can also lead to a fracture, as the curved bone on the thumb side of the wrist (the scaphoid) can crack. Sometimes, a scaphoid fracture doesn’t show up on an initial X-ray; if the pain persists, you’ll need further imaging tests.
- Arthritis. Two types of arthritis affect the wrist. Osteoarthritis, a deterioration of the cartilage that protects the bone, seldom originates in the wrist, but patients who’ve had a previous injury are likely to get arthritis in the wrist. The second type is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the body’s tissues. It frequently strikes the wrists.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A common complaint among workers who type, lift heavy objects, or handle vibrating machinery, carpal tunnel syndrome is an inflammation of the median nerve passing through the carpal tunnel — a pathway along the palm side of the wrist. Repetitive activities involving the hand, especially activities that force your arms downward while your hands slump below your wrists, narrow the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome produces weakness and a tingling sensation in their fingers, hand and arm. The symptoms tend to worsen at night.
- Ganglion Cysts. Soft, fluid-filled sacs, benign ganglion cysts typically grow on the back of the hand or wrist, causing mild discomfort. Fortunately, they don’t spread to other parts of the body, and very rarely would they compress a nerve to the point where your hand would feel numb or weak.
- Tendonitis. Your hand consists of flexor tendons located on the palm side, which permit your fingers to curl and grip objects. Secondly, extensor tendons run along the top of the hand. When you straighten your fingers, you’re using your extensor tendons. As with most wrist injuries, repeated motions such as typing or swinging a golf club irritate the wrist tendons, a condition characterized by a dull pain, mild swelling, and stiffness.
Is it Time to Fix Your Wrist Pain?
Wrist discomfort is not only bothersome, it can interfere with your daily activities, as well. The orthopedic physicians at Florida Hand Center can customize a treatment plan that incorporates pain reduction and physical therapy to cure your wrist pain once and for all. Contact the office today for an appointment.