Wrist Pain

Wrist pain is caused by damage to the muscles, tendons, bones, or other tissues that make up the wrist joint. Generally, wrist pain is caused by inflammation or injury, such as a blow to the elbow or repetitive use injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Wrist pain may also be caused by an infection, growth, nervous condition, or even cancer.

Common causes

Wrist pain may be caused by an inflammation of the wrist or injury to the wrist including:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone fracture or dislocation
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Gout (type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints)
  • Improper healing from previous injury
  • Loose bone and cartilage fragments
  • Overuse injury
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon)

Other causes

Wrist pain can also be caused by other conditions including:

  • Cyst (benign sac that contains fluid, air, or other materials)
  • Fibromyalgia (chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness and tenderness)
  • Infection of the wrist
  • Nerve entrapment or compression, such as of the ulnar nerve in the arm
  • Surgery

Musculoskeletal symptoms that may occur

Wrist pain may accompany other symptoms affecting the muscles, bones, tendons and cartilage including:

  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pallor and coolness to touch
  • Redness, warmth or swelling
  • Reduced mobility (range of motion of a joint)
  • Shoulder, arm, hand or finger pain
  • Tenderness
  • Visible deformity of the wrist

Other symptoms that may occur

Wrist pain may accompany other symptoms including:

  • Lumps
  • Numbness or tingling in arms
  • Skin discoloration such as bruising
  • Tingling or other unusual sensations in the hands
  • Swelling of the arm, wrist, or hand

Treatment :

The treatment of wrist pain depends entirely on the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you understand the cause of your symptoms before embarking on a treatment program. If you are unsure of your diagnosis, or the severity of your condition, you should seek medical advice before beginning any treatment.

Not all treatments listed here are appropriate for every condition, but may be helpful in your situation.

  • Rest & Activity Modification:The first treatment for many common conditions that cause wrist pain is to rest the joint, and allow the acute inflammation to subside. It is important, however, to use caution when resting the joint, because prolonged immobilization can cause a stiff joint. Adjusting your activities so as not to irritate the joint can help prevent worsening of wrist pain.


  • Ice and Heat Application: Ice packs and heat pads are among the most commonly used treatments for wrist pain.


  • Wrist Support: Support braces can help patients who have either had a recent wrist sprain injury or those who tend to injure their wrists easily. These braces act as a gentle support to wrist movements. They will not prevent severe injuries, but may help you perform simple activities while rehabilitating from a wrist sprain.


  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications, commonly referred to as NSAIDs, are some of the most commonly prescribed medications, especially for patients with wrist pain caused by problems such as arthritis and tendonitis.


  • Cortisone injections: Cortisone is a powerful medication that treats inflammation, and inflammation is a common problem in patients with wrist pain. Discuss with your doctor the possible benefits of a cortisone injection for your wrist pain condition.