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What are the Common Causes of a Sore Wrist?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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A sore wrist is a relatively common complaint and may have a variety of causes. Some of the more frequent causes include traumatic injury, repetitive motion, or arthritis. Additional conditions that may cause a sore wrist include carpal tunnel syndrome or the presence of ganglion cysts. Any questions or concerns about wrist soreness or treatment options should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Traumatic injury is one of the more easily diagnosed causes of a sore wrist. This type of injury may occur due to events such as a fall or an automobile accident. Repetitive movements such as typing, playing the piano, or participating in sports such as baseball or tennis may also lead to this type of soreness.

Arthritis is a common contributing factor in the development of a sore wrist. Osteoarthritis causes wear and tear of the cartilage that is found at the ends of the bones, and this type of arthritis usually affects the wrist only if it has been injured at some point in the past. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the wrist a bit more often and is considered an autoimmune disorder. When rheumatoid arthritis is the contributing factor, in most cases both wrists are affected.

Carpal tunnel syndrome may occur when a nerve becomes compressed or pinched and tends to become more painful over time. Numbness, tingling, and weakness of the affected wrist are common. Most patients benefit from non-surgical methods of treatment, although surgical intervention may become necessary in some cases.

Another potential cause of a sore wrist is the presence of a ganglion cyst. This condition is usually easy to diagnose because of the noticeable swelling of the cyst in the wrist area. In some cases, the cyst may disappear on its own without any specific medical treatment. In most cases, however, the cyst is either drained with the use of a needle or surgically removed.

Each cause requires a specific type of medical treatment. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. The supervising physician may order additional tests, which will help confirm the exact reason for the pain and discomfort. Some possible treatment options include exercise, physical therapy, or surgical intervention.

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