Hand and wrist pain can be mild and irritating or severe and debilitating. Even a small amount of pain can significantly interfere with normal activities, so it is worth seeing a specialist. Orthopedists specializing in hands, fingers, and wrists can evaluate you, diagnose the underlying condition, and provide treatment options.
EmergeOrtho specialists always strive to manage conditions non-surgically. If your condition requires surgery, our experienced orthopedic surgeons can provide minimally invasive procedures with shorter recovery times.
Symptoms of Hand and Wrist Injuries and Conditions
Injuries and conditions occurring in the hand and wrist often cause pain. The range of symptoms depends on the location and type of problem. For instance, if the issue includes a compressed nerve, you might have numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the wrist, a hand, or even arm.
Damage or injuries in the wrist and hand can also cause swelling and inflammation, leading to reduced mobility in the joints and weakness in the wrist.
What Causes Hand and Wrist Pain?
There are many potential causes of pain and other symptoms in the hand and wrist. Common causes include injuries, arthritis, tendinitis, cysts, and carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms you have will depend on the specific underlying cause.
- Acute Injuries. A sudden impact, such as catching a fall with your hands or a car accident, can cause injuries. This includes sprains or strains, stretching of the ligaments and tendons, and bone fractures. These injuries typically cause acute pain.
- Repetitive Injuries. Any type of repetitive wrist or hand movement can lead to irritation in tissues that causes pain and swelling. Often, rest, icing, and changing the activity are adequate to heal these injuries. More severe cases might require surgery.
- Arthritis. Arthritis, the deterioration of cushioning tissue in joints, is one of the most common reasons for joint pain. Osteoarthritis is the natural wear and tear that occurs with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. Posttraumatic arthritis often occurs in the wrist years after an injury. All types of arthritis cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in the wrist through which the median nerve travels from the neck to the hand. The flexor tendons attached to the thumb and fingers also go through the tunnel. If the carpal tunnel narrows, it puts pressure on the median nerve, causing hand and finger numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness. Carpal tunnel syndrome does not always have an identifiable cause, but repetitive motion, heredity, and conditions that cause swelling often play a role.
- De Quervain’s Tendinitis. Inflammation in the tendons of the hand and wrist is a common source of pain. De Quervain’s is a particular type of tendinitis that affects the connective tissue near the thumb. This condition makes it difficult to move the wrist, use the thumb, or grip an object. Wrist tendinitis can cause finger pain, but the pain is usually more in the wrist.