What are Common Causes of Wrist and Hand Pain?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 04 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Wrist and hand pain is a common complaint and can cause everyday tasks to become difficult to perform. As the hands and wrists are used in almost every activity people perform, there can be a variety of causes for this type of pain. Some of these causes may include bone fractures, overuse, or repetitive movements. Treatment for wrist and hand pain depends on the reason for the pain and may involve lifestyle changes, the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications, or surgical intervention. While wrist and hand pain can often be treated at home without medical intervention, any questions or concerns should be discussed with a doctor.

A fracture involving one of the small bones of the wrist is one potential cause of wrist and hand pain. Even with medical tests such as x-rays, this type of fracture can be difficult to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed as a sprained wrist. Without proper treatment, a wrist fracture can cause long-term problems, sometimes resulting in a permanent loss of some degree of proper functioning.

Carpal tunnel syndrome has become a common cause of wrist and hand pain. This condition tends to develop in those who perform a lot of repetitive motions and is often seen among people who type for a living. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when repeated pressure is placed on the median nerve found in the arm and hand. If this condition is diagnosed early, surgery can often be avoided.


Ganglions are soft cysts that sometimes form near joints or tendons. This can cause wrist and hand pain if the ganglions develop in this area of the body. These cysts are usually harmless and may go away on their own. If the ganglion does not go away or if it causes a significant amount of pain, the doctor may drain the cyst or perform a simple surgery to remove it.

Tendinitis, a swelling of the tendons that occurs in the wrists, hands, or fingers, may cause wrist and hand pain. This condition often occurs as a result of overuse or repetitive movements. Rest and the use of over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen often lead to a full recovery. The pain may come and go or may be constant and difficult to handle. If over-the-counter pain medications do not provide sufficient relief, doctors will often prescribe stronger medications until the area has healed.



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