Wrist pain can make doing many daily activities difficult. The pain may come and go, too, making it so that you never know what you’ll be able to do each day. Unfortunately, there are a number of different things that can cause wrist pain. This is because the wrist is a fairly complex part of the body. Unlike the hip or the knee, your wrist is made up of small joints that work together to allow you to move your hand in a number of different ways. When one of these joints or the ligaments connecting them is injured or affected by a disease, it can cause the entire area to hurt.
Common Types of Wrist Pain
Wrist pain isn’t always the same. Sometimes, this pain is fairly dull or achy, while other times it’s acute and sharp. The type of pain you feel is often determined by what caused it. Wrist pain can also be accompanied by a number of other issues, including swelling, numbness, bruising, and weakness. Some people have difficulty holding objects or notice that they don’t have as much strength in their hand as they normally do. Others may find that their wrist feels stiff and that they don’t have their full range of motion. Some types of pain may cause you to hear a type of clicking noise when you move your wrist.
These types of wrist pain can all get worse over time or when you overuse your wrist. Some pain may only be noticeable when you move your wrist in a certain way or when you do certain activities. Severe wrist pain may even occur when you’re not doing anything or after you’ve rested your wrist. If you’ve noticed any wrist pain that has lasted for more than a few days, is recurring, or continues to get worse, you need to see a doctor.
What Causes Wrist Pain?
Wrist pain can be caused by a number of different things. Most acute wrist pain is caused by an injury to the hand, wrist, or lower arm. Most people instinctively put out their hands when they fall. While this may help prevent injuries to other parts of the body, it most often leads to a wrist or arm injury. Strains, sprains, and fractures can all occur when you try to stop your fall. Some, such as scaphoid fractures, may not even appear on x-rays right away. They only become apparent after you start to experience wrist pain and return to the doctor.
Another type of injury that often results in wrist pain is one caused by repetitive stress or motion. When you move your wrist in the same way over and over, it stresses the joint and can lead to inflammation or even stress fractures. This can also lead to De Quervain’s disease, a type of condition in which the tendons on the side of the wrist under the thumb become inflamed.
Arthritis Can Also Lead to Wrist Pain
Arthritis, including both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, also lead to wrist pain. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage the helps to cushion the bones breaks down. Fortunately, osteoarthritis doesn’t commonly occur in the wrist. Those who have injured their wrist may be at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
With rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system actually attacks the body’s tissue. This is fairly common in the wrist. Generally, both wrists are affected, but it is possible to have rheumatoid arthritis in only one hand.
Many office workers suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. This issue occurs when excess pressure is placed on the median nerve. This nerve travels through the part of the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. Those who do repetitive work such as typing or lifting are more at-risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Generally, resting the wrist will help alleviate the pain. There are also a number of exercises that help reduce the pressure put on the nerve.
There are a few other types of conditions that can lead to wrist pain. Ganglion cysts can cause a severe amount of pain. Sometimes, this pain gets worse when you use your wrist, but other times, it actually gets better. Kienbock’s disease is another issue. This generally occurs in teens and young adults. This disorder actually causes one of the wrist’s small bones to collapse due to a lack of blood supply.
How Can You Deal with Wrist Pain?
There are a number of different things you can do to help deal with this type of pain. When you first notice wrist pain, you can take steps to prevent it from recurring. You can make certain you’re getting enough calcium in your diet to keep your bones strong and healthy. You can be aware of your surroundings so you don’t trip as often and wear the appropriate safety gear any time you play sports, exercise, or engage in any dangerous activity. If you do a lot of computer work, you can install an ergonomic keyboard that helps support your wrists.
For those suffering from arthritis and inflammation, over-the-counter medications are often enough to deal with short-term pain. Those who have recurring wrist pain may want to look at other conditions, including exercising and chiropractic healthcare. That’s because over-use of these medications can lead to other health conditions.
Wrist pain caused by injuries can often be cured by physical therapy and by visiting a chiropractor to make certain everything is aligned correctly. If you’ve broken your wrist and it doesn’t heal correctly, it can cause recurring or lingering pain for months or even years. It’s important to make certain it heals correctly.
Surgery is an option for some types of wrist damage or conditions. Those who have carpal tunnel, have fractured their wrist, or have damaged the ligaments or tendons may need a procedure to alleviate the pain.