Wrist painWrist pain is a common complaint here at the Garden Route Hand Unit and may have various causes. Since the wrist is not just one joint, there are various conditions that may affect the small joints where the bones of the hand and forearm meet, leading to pain in the wrist.
The most common causes of wrist pain include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome puts pressure on the median nerve within the hands' carpal tunnel. It commonly causes pain in the palm, fingers, wrist and forearm.
- De Quervain's disease
This condition causes the tendons and tendon sheaths to become inflamed due to overuse or repetitive motions. De Quervain's disease is associated with pain and a grating sensation inside the wrist and weakness along the wrist, forearm, and thumb.
- Injuries caused by sudden impact
Often when one falls forward on an outstretched hand, or backwards on a bent wrist, sprains, strains and even fractures are common. These may cause pain, swelling and loss of movement of the hand, wrist and thumb.
- Wrist tendonitis
This type of tendonitis may occur due to repetitive movements involving the wrist. It commonly causes stiffness and wrist pain that radiates to the elbow.
Arthritis is the deterioration or immune destruction of the cartilage or cushioning between the bones. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause pain in the wrist, the base of the thumb, end or middle joint of the fingers.
- Ganglion cysts
These cysts commonly occur in the on the part of your wrist opposite your palm, causing pain in this area.
- Wrist bursitis
Wrist bursitis is a small fluid-filled sac which has become inflamed, causing redness, swelling and pain in the wrist.
- Kienbock's disease
This condition causes collapsing of the small bones within the wrist due to lack of blood supply. Kienbock's disease may be the cause of wrist pain.
Treating wrist pain may vary depending on the diagnosis that has been made. Non-surgical treatments may be used to relieve pain caused by a sprain or tendonitis. These include rest, ice, compression, medication and immobilisation through splints and braces. In cases of severe inflammation, cortisone injections may be advised. Some wrist conditions require a surgical procedure for treatment. This may be the case in certain types of fractures, ganglion cysts or nerve compression, but your hand surgeon will talk you through this if surgery is advised.