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What is Wrist Pain?

Used in the majority of our daily activities, our wrists are almost always in motion. Whether you play sports, type frequently, or have taken an accidental fall, wrist pain is always a serious, and potentially debilitating, situation.

Wrist pain can be caused by an injury, such as falling on ice or during contact sports, as well as disease and age-related conditions. Since the wrist is a complex structure, it’s often difficult to pinpoint the cause of your pain without a thorough exam, due to the number of bones, ligaments, and tendons in the area.

At HandSport Surgery Institute, our talented hand surgeons have years of experience diagnosing even the rarest conditions of the wrist. If you’re struggling with wrist pain, consider contacting us today to determine the cause of your wrist pain and the best treatment options available for your specific case.

Wrist Pain Symptoms and Signs

Pain in your wrist can manifest in many different ways, sometimes appearing as a sharp and sudden pain, a burning sensation, a dull ache, numbness, pin-pricks, or discomfort paired with swelling. Depending on what has caused your pain, you may be able to find the direct area causing the pain – or it may be more generalized across your entire wrist.

Signs that your wrist may be damaged include swelling, redness, restricted range of motion, pain when moving, and even limited motion in your fingers. You may also notice that your pain has worsened over time, or only appears during certain activities or motions, a sign that you may have a chronic condition.

Because your wrists are used so extensively, your pain could be linked to a number of different conditions, diseases, and or injuries.

Structural Damage to Your Wrist

Wrist pain can happen as a result of many different types of circumstances, but some of the most common causes come from structural damage to the wrist.

Structural wrist pain is most commonly associated with a traumatic injury, such as falling and landing on an outstretched hand. Pain in your wrist from a traumatic injury is usually directly caused by a sprain, fracture, or tear within your wrist. You may remember the injury or it may have occurred in the distant past.

If you’re experiencing wrist pain from an accident or structural damage to your wrist, trust that Drs. Jason and Mark Pruzansky of HandSport Surgery Institute will be able to offer you a full diagnosis following your exam, as well as a treatment plan to address your concerns.

Chronic Conditions and Overuse

In some cases, wrist pain may occur as a result of overuse or from chronic conditions. This may include arthritis or De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, which develop through normal activities – such as picking up a child.

Repetitive activities may also cause wrist pain to develop. For example, wrist pain can develop in patients whose jobs require them to repeat movements that strain the wrist or to pick up heavy objects. Knitting, cutting hair, factory work, and mechanics can all experience wrist pain as a result of their activities.

If you are constantly suffering from wrist pain, or experience pain while going through your daily activities, please contact us.

Why Does My Wrist Hurt?

Wrist pain can be caused by a number of conditions or injuries. Even picking up weights at the gym, or picking up your children, can cause strain on your wrist and cause pain.

Whether the pain has come on suddenly or has slowly been building in discomfort, it is important to listen to your body and have your wrist checked by a professional. Extended periods of pain, or a sudden burst of extreme pain, point to a larger issue that must be professionally diagnosed and treated to restore your wrist’s functionality and reduce your pain.

If your wrist pain does not subside within one week, or the pain worsens, you develop a fever, or sudden swelling occurs, please contact us immediately.

Common Causes of Wrist Pain

Your wrist pain could be directly related to an injury you acquired while playing a sport, because your job requires a lot of typing, or simply because of aging and arthritis. However, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis so that you can avoid worsening pain or permanent damage to your wrist.

Here are some of the most common causes of wrist pain that we see in our office:

Wrist Fractures

Wrist fractures occur when a person falls, frequently during bad weather or while biking, snowboarding, playing basketball, skateboarding. However, a fracture can occur after a much less dramatic injury depending on your age and the density of your bones.

Fractures in your wrist are treated with splints or lightweight fiberglass casts, while more complicated wrist fractures may require surgery.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Commonly known as “Mommy Thumb,” De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition that involves tendons in your wrist, near the base of your thumb, to become constricted and inflamed.

These tendons help move your thumb in an open and close motion, making activities such as grabbing something more difficult and painful if you’re suffering from this condition. Lifting a child can cause wrist pain in patients with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, which sometimes develops around pregnancy.

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear (TFCC)

Your wrist is made up of complex structures of cartilage ligaments, tendon, and bone. Sometimes, wrist pain can be caused by a triangular fibrocartilage complex tear, which destabilizes the ligament and cartilage that connects the two forearm bones (the radius and ulna) on the little finger side of your wrist.

If you are suffering from a TFCC tear, you may experience swelling and pain in your wrist, restricted and painful movement, and a “clicking” sound when rotating your wrist. The pain may also radiate to your little finger or forearm.

Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Tendinitis (ECU Tendinitis)

Repeated action that requires the wrist to bend backward while flexing, such as throwing a football or basketball, may put strain on your ECU tendon and cause pain to develop. This is a common condition among people who frequently play sports that require wrist movement, such as baseball pitchers and tennis players, especially.

In milder cases, ECU tendinitis can be treated with rest, splinting, and anti-inflammatories. However, severe cases may require a cortisone injection or surgery to repair the tendon in order to restore your range of motion and comfort.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common causes of wrist pain in people of any age group. Contrary to popular belief, the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome is not usually caused by repetitive motions like typing. Developing carpal tunnel syndrome is most commonly connected to genetic predisposition.

Numbness or tingling in your thumb, index, and middle finger are common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. This painful syndrome can occur in men and women, but is most common in perimenopausal or pregnant women.

In the early stages, this syndrome, and its associated pain, are treated with splinting, occupational therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication. However, advanced cases of carpal tunnel syndrome may need to be treated with surgery.

Ganglion Cysts

Frequently developing on damaged ligaments or tendons in the wrist, ganglion cysts are fluid or gelatin-filled bumps that can vary in size.

Most commonly caused by strenuous wrist use during activities, such as gymnastics, tennis, and guitar or bass playing, ganglion cysts are benign growths that may cause pain.

These cysts may go away on their own, but any patient experiencing a new growth should be professionally diagnosed to rule out more concerning conditions. For patients suffering from painful or large ganglion cysts on their wrist, splinting, cortisone injections, or a small surgery may be needed to restore comfort.

Getting a Diagnosis for Your Wrist Pain

Alleviating your wrist pain requires that you see a professional to accurately diagnose the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to correct the condition.

At Handsport Surgery Institute, surgery is the last option and we prefer to work closely with patients through different treatment options, like physical therapy or steroid injections before surgery becomes an option.

The earlier you are seen for your wrist pain, the less likely it is that you’ll need surgery to alleviate your symptoms.

Treatment Options for Wrist Pain

Whether you’re experiencing sudden wrist pain or have been living with slight discomfort, it is important to be seen by a professional to be able to accurately understand and treat the cause of your pain.

With over 40 years of combined experience, Drs. Jason and Mark Pruzansky are able to treat all forms of wrist pain and other orthopedic conditions. Because of their level of expertise and specialization, Drs. Pruzansky have successfully performed surgery on some of the most complex injuries and conditions to help their patients regain function and comfort following instances of wrist pain or injury.

Non-surgical Treatments for Wrist Pain

If your wrist pain is caused by a non-traumatic injury or condition, you are usually eligible for conservative treatment options like anti-inflammatory medication, rest, splinting, occupational therapy, or corticosteroid injections.

Based on your individual circumstance, your HandSport Surgery Institute team will be able to determine the best non-surgical treatment available to you.

Surgery for Wrist Pain

Minimally invasive surgery may be of benefit for refractory cases and trauma. Drs. Jason and Mark Pruzansky specialize in arthroscopic surgery and revision surgery, among other procedures, designed to restore function and lessen discomfort in your wrist.

If You Believe You Have an Underlying Injury or Condition Causing Your Wrist Pain

Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our talented team. Wrist pain can present in many ways and be caused by many things. Call Dr. Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment, obtain an accurate diagnosis, and start to restore comfort to your hand.

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