November 29, 2022

Wrist Pain: Causes & How to Treat It

Why does my wrist keep hurting? What’s causing this wrist pain? Have you found yourself trying to figure out the answer to this question lately, but to no avail? There is a potpourri of problems that can trigger wrist pain. For instance, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain, weakness, and numbness. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout and other kinds of arthritis can cause swelling and tenderness in your wrists. 

Wrist Pain

Your wrist is defined as a joint that connects your forearm to your hand and comprises numerous small bones that help you bend, rotate, and straighten out your hand and wrist. Many afflictions that can trigger pain, tingling, and/or numbness in your hands and wrists are treatable.

What Causes Pain In Your Wrist?

If you fall and notice wrist pain, results of an X-ray may indicate a sprain, fracture, or partial ligament disruption. However, there are times when you may experience mysterious wrist aches and pains. Pinpointing the exact cause of your wrist pain may be challenging, as symptoms of wrist pain may fluctuate, be persistent, or worsen throughout the day. Your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough exam and acquire appropriate imaging data. Your wrist pain could be due to:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A common hand problem that triggers pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in your wrist and hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which travels through your wrist and is responsible for the movement and feeling in your hand, is pressed upon due to pressure from extra weight or swelling from repetitive movements.  
  • Tendinitis: Many tendons within your wrist provide movement for your wrist and your fingers. If the tendons get irritated, swelling can happen, which can cause painful movement of your fingers and wrist, or a severe spontaneous rupture can happen. De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a common kind of tendinitis that happens on the side of your wrist where your thumb is. Movement of your wrist and thumb will likely cause severe pain with de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. 
  • Ganglion Cysts: A benign, fluid-filled lump that forms on your tendons and joints in your wrist. A large enough cyst can constrict the nerves in your wrist, which can cause a dull ache, tingling, and numbness –  although no real nerve damage is occurring.
  • Gout: A type of arthritis that inflames your joints, which causes swelling, pain, and tenderness. You may also notice that the joint affected feels warm to the touch. Gout happens when you have too much uric acid build-up in your bloodstream that triggers the formation of tiny, painful crystals in your soft tissue and joints.
  • Osteoarthritis: This type of arthritis arises when the connective tissue, covering the ends of your bones (cartilage), wears down. When you have osteoarthritis, your bone literally rubs against bone, which causes swelling, stiffness, and pain.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriasis is a skin condition that creates thick and scaly patches on your skin and can lead to psoriatic arthritis. This type of arthritis triggers swelling, pain, and tenderness in your wrist and can result in a limited range of motion and stiffness.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that oftentimes begins in the small joints in your wrists and hands, and normally impacts both.
  • Lupus: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: An autoimmune disease that makes your own body attack healthy tissue within your body. Those with lupus are frequently diagnosed with arthritis in their hand and wrist.

Some Rare Sources of Wrist Pain Include:

  • Tumor
  • Infection
  • Cervical (neck) nerve compression
  • Avascular Necrosis (loss of blood supply) of a carpal bone

How is It Treated?

The cause of your wrist pain will dictate treatment, since causation plays a key role in the proper treatment of wrist pain. Treatment could include a cast or a protective splint in the case of a confirmed fracture, or surgery may be required in some cases. The use of a splint, cast, or brace can also help ease the pain associated with arthritis and carpal tunnel. 

For chronic pain that’s severe, your doctor may recommend:

  • Surgery to loosen compressed tendons.
  • Injections or oral medications to alleviate symptoms.
  • Wrist debridement (removing tissue that is inflamed).
  • Carpal tunnel surgery on the median nerve to relinquish pressure.
  • Surgery to ease bone-on-bone contact with arthritis, which can incorporate motion-preserving procedures like:
    • Wrist fusion
    • Bone removal
    • Total/partial wrist replacement

At-Home Treatment

Other therapies you can do at home include:

  • Acute injuries – Cold compress
  • Chronic conditions – Warm compress
  • Corticosteroid medication – injected or oral
  • Guided physical or occupational therapy for hand exercises
  • OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or topical NSAIDs applied directly to the skin (pain-relieving creams)


If you’ve been experiencing wrist pain and you’re ready for some relief, contact us at BrioMD today, or you can fill out the form below to get in touch with us. Our team of professionals look forward to helping you return to a pain-free life. In the meantime, take a look at our blog right here!

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November 29, 2022


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