Potential Causes of Wrist Pain

Did you know that your wrist is made up of eight small bones and attachments of thick bands of ligaments? As a complex joint, it’s no wonder it is subject to a number of conditions and injuries that make it difficult, or painful, to use your hand and wrist.

Injuries and Trauma

One of the most common causes of wrist pain is trauma and injuries. This includes strains, sprains, and even fractures. These injuries are often caused by you falling forward onto your hand.

In addition, if you play certain types of sports, such as golf or tennis, you are prone to tendonitis, repetitive motion injuries, and soft tissue injuries such as an injury to TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) cartilage.


While there are many  types of arthritis, when it comes to the wrist there are two primary types: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones. This deteriorates over time and can result in wrist discomfort and pain. In rheumatoid arthritis, your body’s immune system begins to attack its own set of tissues. Usually if one wrist is affected by rheumatoid arthritis, the other is too.

Conditions and Disease

A extremely common condition that any hand specialist diagnosis is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition causes numbness, tingling and pain in the hand and fingers. It occurs when pressure is placed on the median nerve.

Some individuals have pain as a result of ganglion cysts, which are soft tissue cysts. Ganglion cysts usually form on the side of the wrist opposite to the arm.

Treatment Options for Wrist Pain

The good news is that mos painful wrist issues resolve without surgical intervention, though the treatment preference depends on the type and severity of the injury and condition, and the activity level of the patient.  Icing, wrapping, medications, immobilization, injections, physical therapy, activity changes, and splinting are all conservative methods to resolve many cases of wrist pain.

Sometime, though, surgery for wrist issues is needed.  Today, minimally invasive techniques are available, as is arthroscopic procedures.

Prevention of Wrist Pain

As with many things in life, the best treatment is prevention. While it is impossible to prevent all causes of pain in the wrist, there are a few things that can help minimize your risk of developing a condition or injury that results in painful wrist, including the following:

Building bone health. Strong bones can help to prevent fractures. Speak to your physician to see if you are getting adequate calcium in your diet. Otherwise, taking a supplement may be in order.

Practicing common sense. If you perform repetitive activities, either as a hobby or for work, be sure to take breaks. In addition, if you use the computer a lot, take ergonomics into consideration, by using a gel wrist support and an ergonomic keyboard.

Prevent falling hazards. Be sure you have handrails on your stairways, grab bars in your bathroom, and clear clutter from hallways to prevent falls. Always wear sensible shoes that fit correctly, too.

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