The joint connecting the hand to the forearm is known as the wrist joint. The wrist joint is composed of numerous small bones that function as bending, straightening, and rotation of the hand and wrist. Pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands and wrists can be caused by many problems that are treatable.
Sprains or fractures from unexpected traumas are frequent causes of wrist pain. However, chronic issues including carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and repetitive stress injuries can also cause wrist pain.
Determining the exact cause of wrist discomfort might be challenging due to numerous potential cause. However, an accurate diagnosis is necessary for effective therapy and recovery.
Depending on the cause, wrist discomfort can vary. For example, the pain associated with osteoarthritis is frequently compared to a throbbing toothache. A pins-and-needles sensation is frequently brought on by carpal tunnel syndrome. Usually, especially at night, this tingling feeling affects the thumb, index, and middle fingers. The location of the wrist pain can also give clues as to what is causing the symptoms.
Not all wrist discomfort needs to be treated by a doctor. The conventional treatment for minor sprains and strains is ice, rest, and over-the-counter painkillers. However, if discomfort and swelling persist for more than a few days or getting worse, consult a medical professional. Ineffective healing, a reduction in range of motion, and long-term impairment might result from delayed diagnosis and treatment.
Pain and impairments of the ability to use the wrist and hand can result from damage to any of the parts of the wrist. The damage could be caused by:
- Sudden impacts. When you fall forward into your outstretched hand, wrist injuries frequently happen. Sprains, strains, and even fractures can result from this. A bone on the thumb side of the wrist, known as the scaphoid, is fractured. X-rays taken soon after the injury may not immediately reveal this kind of fracture.
- Repetitive stress. Any wrist action that is repeated over time might irritate the tissues surrounding joints or resulting in stress fractures. Examples include driving cross-country, playing the cello, or striking a tennis ball. When you continuously practice the movement for long periods of time without a break, your chance of injury increases. A repetitive stress injury known as De Quervain tenosynovitis causes pain at the base of the thumb.
- Osteoarthritis.This kind of arthritis develops over time when the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones wears off. Osteoarthritis in the wrist is rare and typically only affects persons who have previously hurt that wrist.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, a condition where the immune system of the body attack its own tissues, frequently affects the wrist. Typically, both wrists are impacted if one is.
- Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can occur in people who have psoriasis, a skin condition that creates thick, scaly skin patches. Wrist ache, swelling, and tenderness are symptoms of this arthritis. There may be stiffness and a decreased range of motion as a result.
- Other diseases and conditions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. When the median nerve experiences increased pressure as it travels through the carpal tunnel, a channel on the palm side of the wrist, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs.
- Ganglion cysts. The area of the wrist opposite the palm is where these soft tissue cysts most frequently develop. Ganglion cysts may cause pain, which may get better or get worse with activity.
- Kienbock disease. Young adults are frequently affected by this illness, which causes one of the wrist’s tiny bones to gradually collapse. When this bone does not receive enough blood flow, Kienbock disease develops.
- Lupus. An autoimmune condition called systemic lupus erythematosus makes your body attack its own healthy tissue. Lupus patients frequently experience arthritis in the tiny joints of their wrist and hand.
Everyone can get wrist pain, regardless of how active or inactive they are. The risk, however, could go up because of:
- Sports participation. Numerous sports, including those involving impact and repetitive wrist stress, frequently result in wrist injuries. Football, bowling, golf, gymnastics, snowboarding, and tennis are a few examples.
- Repetitive work. If done forcefully and frequently enough, almost any activity involving your hands and wrists, including crocheting and hair cutting, can cause incapacitating wrist pain.
- Certain diseases or conditions. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more likely to occur in women who are pregnant, have diabetes, are obese, have rheumatoid arthritis, or have gout.