Wrist pain can be caused by painful injuries such as a sprain or a fracture during a fall or other traumatic event like a motor vehicle accident. However, pain in the wrist can also develop from overuse or repetitive stress to the wrist due to activities that require repetitive gripping or other repetitive movements such as typing on a keyboard. Wrist pain can also be the result of osteoarthritis or other arthritic conditions such as gout.
If you experience numbness, tingling or weakness in the wrist, you have discovered one of the most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Sharp pain during movement is more indicative of ligamentous injury, and dull achy pain is more associated with muscular injury or osteoarthritis.
Causes of Pain in Wrist
Sudden strong impacts that include falling on one or both hands often cause strains, sprains and/or fractures that require immediate medical treatment. One of the more common causes of non-traumatic wrist pain is carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive use of the wrist places a considerable amount of pressure on the tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues. Chronic wrist pain can make it incredibly difficult to grip objects like a glass or a home improvement tool. This can be related directly to compression at the carpal tunnel from repetitive use, sprain of the ligament from a fall or other trauma, or a chronic issue such as osteoarthritis which takes years to develop.
Here are several other causes of wrist pain:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Ganglion cysts
- Kienbock’s Disease
Diagnosis: When Should I See a Doctor for Wrist Pain?
Any pain that lingers or continues to recur without a definitive cause or injury should be further evaluated. After a comprehensive health history, an examination of the wrist is performed and involves measuring range of motion at the wrist, measuring strength, and stressing soft tissues including ligaments and tendons. This may also include evaluation of the neck, shoulder and elbow if the doctor feels like this is causing or contributing to the wrist pain. Another important measure to evaluate is whether grip strength has been compromised, or whether numbness in the hand or arm is present. If this is the case, it may be due to a herniated disc in the neck, ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow, median nerve entrapment at the wrist, or some other type of nerve entrapment. The next step in developing a timely diagnosis is to perform one or more tests to detect damage to the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves which may include x-ray, MRI or testing such as a nerve conduction study (NCV), which measures how quickly nerve impulses move from the neck to the wrist and hand and/or electromyography (EMG), which assesses the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them. If surgery is indicated an arthroscopy can be performed which involves making a small cut on the wrist that allows the surgeon to insert a small camera that takes photos of the damaged area of the wrist
Wrist Injury Prevention
Preventing wrist pain requires implementing a few ergonomic tips, as well as remaining careful when participating in high-energy recreational activities. Placing a computer mouse and keyboard in positions that match your height and body size promotes proper posture. Getting up from a sitting position and stretching your arms keeps the wrist active. Other preventative measures include avoiding prolonged wrist flexion and extension and avoiding excessive wrist flexion at night.
- Wrist flexor stretch
- Wrist extensor stretch (3 ways)
- Wrist strength training with an elastic band
- Improving and maintaining grip strength
If you experience an injury or an acute onset of pain make sure you apply ice as quickly as possible to limit swelling and edema. Rest from the activity and if the pain persists you should seek professional treatment.
- Ice massage for the wrist
- Wrist massage using a lacrosse ball
Wrist Pain Treatment and Cure in Mesa
Dr. Raczkowski implements non-surgical techniques for treatment and rehabilitation of wrist pain. We ensure a treatment process that can help you return to normal activity as quickly as possible and allow you to perform at a high level on the field or in the workplace. If you’re ready to do something about your wrist pain, call us at (480) 633-8293.