Wrist pain is a common complaint caused by a number of factors that result from injuries or diseases. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial in the management of pain, as treatment depends on the root cause and severity of the condition. Wrist pain may range from a dull ache to a sharp, shooting pain in the wrist spreading across the arm. The location of pain also may differ based on the cause of the pain. If the pain persists for several days accompanied by swelling or if it becomes worse as days pass by, it should be brought to the attention of a physician.
One of the most common causes of wrist pain is an injury, which may be a sudden impact or chronic stress on some parts of the wrist. Injuries can be in the form of sprains, strains, and fractures. A fracture of the scaphoid bone in the thumb may not result in any obvious symptoms immediately, but can result in chronic pain. Fractures like simple, complex, or compound, causes swelling, pain, and the loss of movement of the finger and wrist.
Overuse of the tendons in the palm through repetitive activities, including hitting a ball, driving and many other similar activities may all cause inflammation of the tissues in the wrist. This is a type of repetitive stress injury and may lead to stress fractures. Continuing the activity or posture for a long time may cause pain that develops gradually over a period of time. The pain in this case starts from the thumb region and may spread up along the arm.
The conditions that lead to wrist pain include:
- Arthritis – This is yet another common cause of wrist pain. As the cartilage deteriorates, pain and swelling makes movement difficult. In osteoarthritis, nodules may form in the joints of fingers causing severe pain and makes the hand weak.
- Trigger finger – In this condition, the fingers may get locked in a certain positions and makes it very painful while moving them. This results from the thickening of the flexor tendons of the arms. Diseases like gout, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of trigger finger.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – This is a nerve disorder which causes pain, tingling, weakness and numbness in the fingers and hand. It is caused by increased strain on the nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel that is present in the wrist of the palm.
- Ganglion cysts – Cysts in the tissues of the wrist can also cause pain in the region.
- Kienbock's disease – This disease is caused by progressive deterioration of one of the bones in the wrist.