The wrist is a fantastic and intricate work of art. It is what connects the hand to the forearm. It is controlled by muscles and tendons that allow our hand to open, close and move in fine detail. The wrist has eight carpal bones and five metacarpal bones. Because the wrist is in constant motion and under stress, it can become sore and swollen. Making daily activity uncomfortable or in some cases impossible. Wrist pain can come from several factors and should be addressed with a doctor.
Have you ever had a tingling sensation or numbness in your hands? It may be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that appears with repetitive movement of the wrist and hands. Examples of those at risk for developing this condition are office workers, people in construction and assembly plant workers. The condition occurs when the ligament thickens and puts pressure on the median nerve which runs from the arm into the wrist's carpal tunnel and the hand. The nerve gets pinched, and blood is cut off from the hand.
Do you hear snap, crackle, pop when you move your hand around? This cracking is not the cereal talking; it's your carpals screaming for relief. Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes bone changes and degeneration of the cushion or cartilage between the joints. When the cartilage begins to disappear; bone begins to rub against bone causing pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis is common, and left untreated will cause instability in the wrist joint. In severe cases, use of the hand will be affected. If you have morning stiffness in the wrist, swelling, cracking or instability have a doctor examine you.
We rely every day on our hands and wrist, but when they are stiff and sore every task from opening jars to popping bubble wrap can bring pain and discomfort. Rheumatoid Arthritis could be the unwanted guest moving into those wrist and finger joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disease that occurs when our own immune system goes into overdrive and attacks the good tissue in and around the joints. RA usually begins in the wrist and hands causing an on and off again pain. Later as it progresses, the pain becomes much more intense and constant. RA can not only be debilitating, but it can also cause deformity in the hands and wrist.
If you have ever taken a nosedive, your first thought would be to stretch out your hand to catch yourself. Unfortunately, this brave and instinctive move can lead to a fractured wrist. The wrist is made up of small carpal bones which attach to the arm bones or Radius (big bone) and Ulna (the smaller bone). When a fracture occurs, it most often happens to the carpel bone called the scaphoid. The scaphoid is located at the base of the thumb. Or you may fracture the wrist at the distal radius. The top of the radius, the distal part of the bone is what connects to the wrist bones. Whichever fracture you receive it can cause significant pain and will need medical attention.
Game on!!! If you are an avid gamer and suffer from pain in your wrist or thumb, you may have developed a repetitive motion disorder called De Quervain's Disease or De Quervain's Tenosynovitis. This disease affects individuals continuously using the thumb while at work or play. Gamers, gardeners, people regularly engage in racket sports, or someone who has had a direct blow to the thumb is a candidate for this condition. De Quervain's Tenosynovitis occurs when the tendon in the wrist and thumb becomes inflamed. The tendon swells rubs against the narrow tunnel it runs through causing pain in the lower arm and the base of the thumb. It can start suddenly or begin gradually, with swelling and soreness to the lower thumb and pain in the side of the wrist.
The wrist is made up of several tendons, located at the back of the wrist are the extensors and the front of the wrist houses the flexors. The tendons connect muscle to bone and move through a sheath that allows them to glide smoothly as the hand and wrist move. However; if the tendons become inflamed, it can cause the tendon not to move smoothly, which can cause severe pain or Tendonitis. Tendonitis can occur in one tendon or several, most of the time it will happen where two tendons overlap. Tendonitis usually develops in people who are engaged in sports, construction, office work or any other activity that requires repetitive movement of the wrist and hand. Treatment for tendonitis is usually ice, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections and rest.
Have you had an unusual knot come up on your wrist? Is it squishy when touched? It could be a Ganglion Cyst or Bible Cyst. A fluid called synovial fluid lubricates the tendons and joints. Sometimes this jelly-like fluid will escape and form a sac or cyst on top of the tendon. Ganglion Cyst can occur on the fingers, but most of the time they pop up mostly on the back of the wrist. Ganglion Cysts are not harmful, and sometimes they will go away on their own. But if the cyst pops up next to a nerve, it can cause pain, numbness, and tingling. If this occurs, it is best to go and have a doctor either aspirate it (remove the fluid by needle) or remove the cyst all together, which is usually an outpatient procedure.
Athletes are very prone to wrist sprains since they play hard and have a higher chance of falling during competition. One of the first reaction when falling is to put the hand out. However; this can cause the hand to be overextended placing strain and pressure on the ligaments which connect the wrist and hand bones. The stress can generate a stretched or tear in the ligament. Wrist sprains are broken down into three categories, grade one is a minor strain of the ligament with no tears, grade two has small tears, and grade three is a complete tear of the ligament and loss of function. Treatment includes rest, ice, anti-inflammatory painkillers, splint, and therapy.
What is the Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex or TFCC? The TFCC is a piece in the wrist that suspends the bone of the forearm, the Radius and Ulna above the wrist bones. TFCC is triangular and is made up of several ligaments and cartilage its primary function is to stabilize the joint. The TFCC can sustain injury or a tear. The damage sustained can be either from trauma or degeneration. The rupture causes severe pain in the pinky finger side of the wrist, the wrist might swell, and gripping objects might be limited.
Most wrist pain occurs because of different repetitive activities or injury sustained directly to the wrist. Falling victim to some of the wrist injuries or conditions can be avoided. Getting plenty of rest and taking breaks often during repetitive activity will lessen the stress. Exercising and doing wrist and hand stretches during activities and finding more comfortable positions to do repetitive work can all help in preventing unwanted injury to the wrist.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.