Arthritis

Wrist Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Wrist Pain

Wrists are complex joints that connect the hand to the ulna. It is composed of several bones and joints. The wrist comprises the distal ends of the radius and ulna, eight carpal bones, and the proximate portions of the five metacarpal bones.

Each hand and wrist are composed of 27 small bones. Eight of these bones are in your wrist, every finger has three, and the thumb has two bones. Moreover, five bones are located on the palm that connects the fingers and the thumb to the wrist.

What is a Wrist Pain?

It is common for a person to experience wrist pain for various reasons. The wrist joint plays a vital role in regular day-to-day activities such as texting and writing and even harms their quality of life.

A wrist injury can lead to wrist pain due to sprains or fractures. However, there are specific other causes of wrist pain, including repetitive stress, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Moreover, Bruises to the wrist, muscle strain, and pinching of the nerves (pass through the wrist) are the usual causes of wrist pain.

The wrist is not a single joint. This joint consists of several small joints where the hand and forearm bones meet. Pain can result from various factors, including fatigue or underlying problems, so it is very important and challenging to determine the exact reason for wrist pain. Proper and timely diagnosis is crucial to initiate the right course of treatment.

Causes of Wrist Pain

X-rays may reveal a fracture, sprain, or partial ligament disruption if you suffer wrist pain after a fall, but sometimes mysterious pains and aches are also present.

Symptoms may appear and disappear throughout the day, worsen over time, or persist for long. It may be challenging to identify the cause of chronic wrist pain. You should seek the advice of your doctor, who will conduct a thorough examination and obtain accurate imaging studies.

Following are the several causes of wrist pain:

  • Carpal tunnel disorder: Carpal tunnel disorder is a most usual medical problem that results in pain, insensibility, tingling, and weakness in the hands and wrists. An interval pressure phenomenon, carpal tunnel syndrome happens when inflammation caused by monotonous movements or excessive weight compresses the median nerve within its canal. This nerve goes through your wrist and supply sensation and movement to your hand.
  • Tendinitis: Several tendons across your wrist may help move to your fingers and wrist. The most common form of tendinitis is De Quatrain’s tenosynovitis, which affects the thumb side of the wrist.
  • Ganglion Cysts: A ganglion cyst is a noncancerous, fluid-filled tumor that builds on the wrist joints or tendons. Huge cysts can compress nerves in the wrist, resulting in insensibility, tingling, and pain. This situation does not pose any risks, but it can be uncomfortable.
  • Gout: Gout is a kind of arthritis in which the joints become inflamed, painful, fragile, and swollen. It may cause a warm sensation in the afflicted joint.
  • Osteoarthritis (OA): OA is the utmost common kind of arthritis characterized by discomfort in the joints due to wear and tear. In the beginning, it is most evident in one joint, like the hip or knee, but as it progresses, it commonly affects numerous joints.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is an immunological illness afflicting tiny joints in the hands and wrists. Rheumatoid arthritis in the wrist can cause ache, inflammation, and stiffness. People with RA often experience painful and stiff joints in the morning that can cause harm to afflicted joints, and the acuteness of the rash may range from mild to severe.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis (PA): PA occurs in people with psoriasis (a skin disease characterized by thick, flaky patches of skin). This condition results in wrist pain, weakness, and inflammation. It can also lead to stiffness and a minimum range of motion.
  • Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune illness in which your body attacks its healthy tissues. Lupus sufferers sometimes develop arthritis in the tiny wrists and hands joints. Among the unusual and rare causes of wrist pain are:
  • Infectious diseases
  • Metastasis (tumor)
  • Necrosis of the carpal bone due to avascular necrosis (lack of blood supply)
  • Compression of cervical nerves

Symptoms of Wrist Pain

The symptoms of wrist pain can vary depending on the reason. Some individuals can experience aching or dull pain, while others may experience sharp pain. Pain locations can also vary. Swelling and bruising are usual signs of an injury, like a wrist sprain.

Moreover, patients may experience the following signs;

  • Stiffness: An individual may experience stiffness in their wrists and fingers.
  • Trouble gripping: Wrist aching may make it hard or uncomfortable to grasp or hold onto things.
  • Cracking sounds: If you move your wrist, you may hear a clicking sound.

Symptoms may begin mildly and become more severe as time passes, depending on the cause. At the start, pain may only occur while performing specific activities.

Eventually, the patient can also experience discomfort even at rest as the condition worsens. Numbness may also develop to the point that an individual cannot sense cold or heat and may drop objects.

Diagnosis of wrist pain

The doctor diagnoses wrist pain and the underlying condition after a physical examination and review of symptoms using:

  • Medical Imaging Scanning: X-ray, CT, and MRI scans are the medical imaging scans that a doctor may order to diagnose the wrist pain.
  • Arthroscopy: An arthroscopy is a procedure in which a tiny cut is made on the wrist. The surgeon will then inject a tiny instrument with a miniature camera to get the images of the affected area. Medical professionals can use these images to assess and determine the cause of wrist pain.
  • Nerve Conduction: A nerve conduction study measures the rate at which nerve impulses go through the ulna, wrist, and hand.

Treatment of wrist pain

Treatment choices for wrist pain depend on its underlying reasons. Depending on its seriousness, a fracture may require protective support or a cast, while it sometimes requires surgery if it is not stable yet.

Extended facilitation, such as a cast, brace, or splint, can reduce the severity of pain caused by a sprain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or arthritis. Your healthcare provider may recommend the following treatment for chronic severe pain;

  • Oral and injectable medicines to relieve your signs.
  • Carpal tunnel surgery to relieve stress on the median nerve.
  • Surgery to free compressed tendons.
  • Treatment of bone-on-bone connection caused by arthritis. A motion-preserving method may also use bone removal, the fusion of the wrist, or a total or partial wrist substitution.
  • Debridement of the swelled tissue (debridement of the wrist).
  • Your doctor may use an open or arthroscopic (minimally invasive) procedure.

Home Remedies

You may require limiting or cease activities that aggravate wrist pain. Following home remedies can be used:

  • Applying cold compresses to the affected area.
  • Hot compresses for severe or long-lasting situations.
  • Hand exercises instructed by hand therapists with certification in occupational therapy or physical therapy.
  • Pain-relieving creams, un-prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Oral or intravenous corticosteroids.

Preventions

It is impossible to stop the unforeseen situations that cause wrist bruises, but these tips may give some protection;

  • Strengthen your bones: Females over 50years should take at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium in their daily routine to prevent fractures. Likewise, adults should consume 1000 milligrams of calcium daily.
  • Prevents falls: Most wrist injuries occur due to falling forward onto an outstretched hand. Wearing sensible shoes can help prevent falls. Remove potential hazards from your home, install the light in your living space and grab bars in your bathroom to avoid falling.
  • Precautionary measurements: Take precautions when participating in athletic activities. Wear wrist guards if you engage in high-risk activities, such as football, snowboarding, and rollerblading.
  • Ensure proper ergonomics: Take regular breaks while working at a computer. Keep your wrist in a relaxed, neutral position while typing. It may be helpful to use a foam or gel wrist support.

References

  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wrist-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20366213_retrieved on May 12, 2022.
  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17667-wrist-pain_retrieved on May 12, 2022.
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312070#diagnosis_retrieved on May 12, 2022.
  • https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/hand-and-wrist-pain/_retrieved on May 12, 2022.
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