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What causes wrist pain?

Wrist pain has a wide range of causes, and can result from injury to bone, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, or neural tissue, among other structures. Below are some common causes of wrist pain.

Sprain - A sprain is an injury to a ligament (ligaments connect bone to bone). The bones of the wrist and hand are connected by many ligaments, which can be damaged through trauma to these areas.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) - occurs when the median nerve in the wrist becomes compressed, causing numbness and tingling on the palm and first 3 digits of the hand. Weakness and/or clumsiness of the hand is also common. For more information, and treatment options, see Carpal Tunnel.

Osteoarthritis - Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that destroys the smooth cartilage lining the joint surfaces resulting in pain, stiffness and weakness. For more information, see Arthritis.

Tendonitis - Tendonitis is an overuse condition involving inflammation of tendons (the tendon is the part of the muscle close to its attachment). Tendonitis can affect tendons crossing the wrist and hand, and may result in pain with movement. 

Fracture - Fractures to the radius (bone on the thumb-side of your forearm) and the scaphoid bone in your hand are common with trauma, such as falling on to an outstretched hand.

How can I treat my wrist pain?

Treatment will depend on the cause of the injury. A thorough history of your symptoms and assessment of your wrist and upper limb will be done by your physiotherapist to determine the best treatment approach.

Most wrist pain will be associated with some level of muscular dysfunction around the wrist and forearm, and this pain can often be exacerbated by neck or shoulder problems. A 'hands-on' treatment approach that takes into account the surrounding joints and muscles is therefore very important.

Your physiotherapist may use a range of techniques, including soft tissue release to help restore the muscles and connective tissue to their normal length and allow optimal functioning of the joints which comprise the wrist. Joint mobilisation techniques may also be used to free up stiff joints, decrease pain, and improve the range of motion at the wrist.

It is important that your physiotherapist explains the cause of your wrist pain, so you have a clear understanding. Your physiotherapist should then teach you a number of strategies you can use to manage and prevent pain and re-injury as well as maximising the benefit from your hands-on treatment. These strategies will include self-release techniques, stretches, self-mobilisation, and strengthening exercises for the forearm, hand and wrist musculature.

If you, a friend or family member would like to know more about the treatment options available for wrist pain, please don't hesitate to contact us on 07 3847 8040 or inquire online here.