Wrist pain is a common condition that affects tons of people across the globe. Unfortunately, wrist pain can be triggered by a lot of reasons. With the wrist called into action for almost any activity, the chances of overworking the wrist are pretty high.
Here is the thing, the wrist plays a significant role in basic movements. From texting to driving to typing to lifting and more, there is almost no activity where the wrist isn’t called into action. Sadly, when you begin to experience pain in the joint, it can take a toll on your daily routines and may even impact your quality of life.
For starters, the wrist isn’t a single joint; instead, it comprises of several small bones that connects the hand to the forearm.
That said, wrist pain can be triggered as a result of sudden impact and injury. For instance, a wrist sprain can cause excruciating pain if the ligament is outstretched. This form of wrist pain can occur suddenly, especially when an injury occurs. Stay with us as we explore the common causes of wrist pains along with their symptoms and treatments.
Table of Contents
Facts about wrist injuries you should know
- Any injury that affects the bones, tendons and ligaments in the wrist can trigger excruciating wrist pain.
- Recurring wrist pain may be due to certain conditions like inflammation of the joints or repetitive stress injuries.
- Wrist pain can occur over a long period.
Wrist pain causes
Wrist pain can be triggered by a lot of reasons. From simple fatigue to other underlying conditions, wrist pain can happen without any warning. Also, squashing the nerves that run through the wrist can cause excruciating pain. That said, here are some common causes of wrist pain.
For people with osteoarthritis, wrist pain is a common condition they have to live with. And just to bring you up to speed, this condition causes inflammation of the joints.
Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage that protects the bones wears away. Besides the wrist, osteoarthritis can also affect a wide range of joints in the body.
Osteoarthritis that affects the wrist mainly occurs in older people as well as people with a history of the condition in their family.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a prevalent wrist condition that affects nearly 3 percent of all working-class Americans- that’s almost 8 million people. Like other wrist conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome can happen out of the blue and will come with some serious punch that makes the pain and numbness almost unbearable.
Carpal tunnel syndrome comes with a lot of symptoms and happens when the ligaments in the wrist thicken and exerts pressure on the nerve. This squeezing and pressure exerted on the median nerve can result in pricky sensation, weakness and numbness.
If you’re obsessed, suffering from diabetes or arthritis, your chances of suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome are relatively high.
Again, carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by repetitive actions that involve activities like typing, lifting or working with heavy vibrating equipment.
Repetitive motion syndrome
Just as the name suggests, this condition occurs when you execute specific tasks over and over again. For people who type or knit quite often, you are at high risk of suffering from repetitive motion syndrome. When you overwork the wrist joints, it can trigger swelling while putting pressure on the surrounding nerves, leading to pain.
Repetitive motion syndrome doesn’t only affect the wrist; it can also affect the knees and many other joints in the body.
This condition affects tons of people and usually forms a type of mass just behind the wrist. Although ganglion cyst is generally benign and may not pose any risk to people with this condition, the cyst can grow into a large mass, become painful and may limit movement in severe cases.
According to health professionals, ganglion cyst comes from joint tissues and is filled with fluids that are quite similar to joint lubricants. With heavy use or repetitive actions, the cyst can grow into a large mass. But with adequate rest, the mass will shrink with time.
This condition is prevalent in women, especially women within the ages of 15 and 40. Plus, it can also occur in men and people of all ages.
If the cyst has progressed to a stage where it causes pain, your doctor could recommend immobilisation. The specialist could also suggest a non-surgical procedure that involves draining the fluid out using localised numbing cream.
Wrist tendonitis can be quite painful. The excruciating pain from this condition can prevent you from engaging in the things you love the most. While wrist tendonitis is a very common condition, especially among athletes, it is caused when tendons in the wrist develop small tears and become inflamed or irritated. For people who engage in repetitive action, you’re at risk of developing wrist tendonitis.
De Quervain disease
Although the exact cause of this condition isn’t yet known, experts believe that this condition is caused when the tendons surrounding the thumb section of the wrist become inflamed and swollen. Like a lot of injuries that affect the wrist, De Quervain disease is also associated with repetitive actions and overuse.
Some of the top symptoms associated with this disease include a grating feeling just inside the wrist as well as weakness and swelling along the forearm, thumb and wrist.
Many people have at one point in their life, sprained their wrist. And if you’re one of those, you’ll agree that the pain can be quite unbearable. Wrist sprains can happen out of the blue and maybe triggered when there is a fall or overbending of the wrist backwards.
Wrist pain symptoms
By now, we are sure you are well aware of what causes wrist pain. But that’s not enough, beyond the causes of wrist pain, we want to take a plunge into exploring various symptoms of wrist pain and why you shouldn’t take any slight sign of wrist pain for granted.
Like we earlier mentioned an aching wrist is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be checked out sooner, rather than later.
For starters, the symptoms of wrist pain can vary, especially because there are different causes of wrist injuries. While some people may experience pain, they can best describe as dull or achy; others may experience sharp pains that come and go. More so, the location of the pain can vary slightly.
Besides the pain that comes with wrist injuries, you may also experience other symptoms. Symptoms like swelling and bruising are telltale signs of wrist sprains. If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you’ll experience symptoms like weakness, tingling or numbness in the affected hand.
Outside of these symptoms, we have highlighted above, people with wrist conditions may also develop some of the following symptoms:
Stiffness: If you experience stiffness in your wrist and fingers, it is a sign that something isn’t right, so have it checked out as soon as possible.
Having troubles picking objects: Wrist injuries are sometimes characterised by symptoms that make it extremely uncomfortable and challenging to pick items.
A clicking sound that shows up when picking an object is a sign that you need to get your wrist examined. This symptom can become severe after taking some moments of rest.
Depending on the cause of wrist injuries, symptoms may be mild at first and become pretty severe as the injury progresses.
During the initial stage of wrist injuries, the pain you feel may be limited and may only occur when executing certain activities. But as the damage progresses, your condition may worsen, and you may begin to feel severe pain even when taking a rest. The numb feeling from specific wrist condition can also progress to the point where you may not be able to differentiate between hot or cold sensation. In severe cases, you may even start dropping things.
When should you see a doctor?
Don’t wait until your wrist condition worsens before you visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Once you notice a wrist pain that is beyond the ordinary, don’t wait for another second, take a trip to your doctor and have it checked out. The earlier you have your wrist examined, the better your chances of a quick recovery.
Plus, it saves you all that time you would have stayed off from engaging in the activities you love the most.
Once you begin to notice any of these telltale signs, its time to see a doctor;
- When you begin to have sharp pains that interfere with your daily routines
- If you begin to notice that the tingling sensation and numbness you feel in your hands start to worsen. Plus, when you experience little to no feeling in the fingers or hands, its time to visit the doctor.
- If you begin to have problems with simple hand movement and gestures
- When you notice that you feel weak in your hands and begin to drop things easily.
Complications from wrist injuries include excruciating pain, weakness in the wrist and inability to execute certain activities, especially when it involves gripping an object or using a keyboard.
How to diagnose wrist pain?
Are you looking for a permanent solution to the wrist pain you’re experiencing? Then the first step to take is to visit your doctor for a comprehensive diagnosis. During diagnosis, your doctor will conduct a physical examination and other related tests to figure out the cause of your wrist pain. Here are some things your doctor may perform during diagnosis:
- Flex your hand forward to see if you experience any numbness or tingling sensation
- Apply a bit of pressure around the median nerve to see if you feel any pain.
- Your doctor may request that you hold certain objects in a bid to test your grip.
- In severe cases, you may be requested to conduct an X-ray of your wrist, so your doctor can examine your bones and joints.
- You may also be required to carry out a nerve conduction velocity test, which helps your doctor check for nerve damages.
- A urine and blood test can also be carried out to check for other underlying medical conditions.
- To conduct further tests, your doctor may take a small sample of fluid from your joints to test for crystals and calcium.
Treating wrist pains
Wrist pain is not the end of you. Thanks to the myriads of treatment options available out there, you can kiss goodbye to wrist pain and live a reasonably normal life. Depending on the root cause of your wrist pain, there are tons of treatment options you can try. Stay with us as we run you through some of the common wrist injuries and their treatment options.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
We understand that the pricky feeling, tingling sensation and numbness that come with carpal tunnel syndrome can be super uncomfortable and unbearable, but guess what, there are lots of treatment options you can explore. Thanks to these treatment options, people with carpal tunnel syndrome can now enjoy some quick relief from the symptoms they are experiencing. Here, checkout top treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Wearing wrist support braces: This has got to be one of the oldest treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome in the books. By simply wearing a good wrist support for carpal tunnel syndrome, you’ll enjoy fast relief from the symptoms you’re experiencing. Thankfully, there are loads of carpal tunnel syndrome wrist braces on the market today, so you’ll most likely find one that works for you.
Applying cold and hot presses: If you want some quick relief from the symptoms you’re feeling, using hot and cold presses for at least 10 to 20 minutes wouldn’t be such a bad idea. While this treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome only provides temporary relief from the numbness and tingling sensation you are feeling, it gets the job done and allows you to relax for a while.
Medications: Although a lot of people are running away from drugs, because of their apparent side effects. Notwithstanding, medications provide fast and temporary relief from the symptoms you’re experiencing. If you want quick relief from the symptoms that come with carpal tunnel syndrome, you can take anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications like naproxen or ibuprofen.
Surgery: For severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome that interferes with your daily activities, you may be scheduled for surgery to fix the problem with your wrist. After surgery, you should be careful not to injure the site of the operation; this way, your wrist will heal faster.
Treatment for gout
Just like carpal tunnel syndrome, gout also has some unique treatment options that are aimed at alleviating the pains you’re experiencing. For people with gout, these are some treatment options you can explore.
Taking medications: Pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications are great, especially if you want to enjoy some quick relief from the symptoms you are having. For a start, you can take ibuprofen and naproxen as they are great for pain relief.
Taking lots of water: While this may sound like a no brainer, it is useful for managing symptoms of gout. One of the upsides of drinking lots of water is that it helps reduce the concentration of uric acid.
Making lifestyle changes: One of the first treatment options people suffering from gout should take; is making serious lifestyle changes. If you consume too much alcohol and high-fat food, its time to start cutting back on that type of lifestyle. Doing so will put you in a great place while speeding up your healing process.
Take your doctors prescriptions serious: Your doctor may sometimes prescribe medications that will help reduce uric acid in your system. Please endeavour you take these prescriptions seriously as it will speed up healing and relieve the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Treatment for other kinds of wrist injuries
The wrist pain you’re experiencing may sometimes not be connected to an underlying health issue. Sometimes a simple fall can trigger wrist pains and swelling that are unbearable. Should the pain you’re experiencing be as a result of injuring your wrist, you can take advantage of some of these treatment options below:
Wearing a wrist splint: A wrist splint helps support your wrist while limiting movement. Thanks to the solid grip from wrist splint, your hands will enjoy some added support that will speed up healing. For people with an active lifestyle who engage in various sporting activities, you’ll also fancy wearing a wrist splint. Wearing a wrist splint not only protects your hands but also boost your performance.
Take some time to rest: If you recently sustained a wrist injury, the first step to full recovery is taking some time to rest. We understand that this may interfere with your daily routine, but guess what, your health is just as important and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Medications: Taking medications to ease the symptoms you’re feeling isn’t such a bad thing. For people whose wrist injury come with excruciating pain, you’re welcome to take pain relief medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Use an ice pack: Using an ice pack to manage the pain and swelling from wrist injuries didn’t start today. For people with painful wrist injuries, feel free to apply an ice pack on the affected site for at least 10 to 20 minutes. This helps to relieve pain and swelling. The only caveat with this treatment option is that it is temporary.
For people with arthritis, it will be wise to visit a physiotherapist, as he/she is in the right position to administer the treatment that is best for you. A physiotherapist has all the experience and can teach you all the relevant stretching and strengthening exercises that are great for your wrist.
Preventing wrist injuries
Wrist injuries come with excruciating pains that are sometimes unbearable. But what if we told you that, you can prevent wrist injuries, will you be excited? We are sure you’ll be super excited. Well, here is how you can avoid some types of wrist injuries and live a decent and happy life:
Use ergonomic keyboard: Instead of using the traditional keyboard when typing, we urge you to invest in an ergonomic keyboard. Although an ergonomic keyboard can be a little expensive, it is worth every money spent getting it. With an ergonomic keyboard, your wrist is carefully positioned when typing. Plus, it will prevent your wrist from bending upwards.
Take some rest: Taking some time off to rest is highly recommended for people with wrist injuries. By taking some time off, your wrist will enjoy all the time to relax and heal properly.
Use a good wrist support brace: Wrist support aren’t only designed to support your wrist and speed up healing from wrist injuries, they also protect your wrist from injuries, especially for weightlifters, yoga enthusiasts and fitness buffs.
Use the services of an occupational therapist: If you perform repetitive actions or have an active lifestyle, you must work with an occupational therapist. These specialists will help stretch and strengthen your wrist and ensure your wrist is in excellent condition.
If you want to forestall future episodes of gout, you must do the following:
- Consume lots of water and cut down your alcohol intake
- Be mindful of what you eat. You must avoid eating smoked or pickled fish, anchovies and liver.
- While protein is super important in your diet, try to keep it moderately.
- Always stick with the medications prescribed by your doctor.
Frequently asked questions
Why does your wrist hurt when you try to grip something?
There are a lot of reasons why your wrist may hurt when you try to grip things. If you recently strained, injured, or overstretched your wrist, then you may likely experience pain when lifting objects.
How can you relieve wrist pain?
Besides using ice packs or taking some time off to relax, you can use wrist splints or wrist support braces to relieve wrist pain.
Can you drive with a wrist injury?
Well, it depends on the type of wrist injury you’re having. If it is severe, then it will be wise to stay off driving as doing so may cause further complications and irritations.
Does wrist pain go away completely?
With prompt diagnosis and treatment, you can kiss goodbye to wrist pain.
Wrist pain can be triggered by a lot of factors. From engaging in repetitive actions to falling on your hands or overstretching the wrist, there is no one cause of wrist pain. Thankfully, you can live a normal life with prompt diagnosis and treatment.