hand and wrist pain

What is Hand and Wrist Pain?

Hand and wrist pain is very common with numerous causes. Hand and wrist pain may occur from a traumatic injury as a result of a sudden impact, repetitive stress, or disease affecting any aspect of the complex structure of bones, ligaments, and connective tissue that make up the hand and wrist.

The Hand and Wrist Structures

There are 27 small bones in each hand and wrist. There are more than 30 muscles in your hands, wrists and forearms that control the hand and wrist. These muscles and bones are attached together by tendons. Tendons and the median nerve pass through a bony space in the wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. Because of this complex structure, hand and wrist pain may be caused by one or a combination of inflammatory conditions, degenerative disease, heredity, or injury.

Conditions that Cause Hand and Wrist Pain

Fortunately, most episodes of hand and wrist pain are not be a sign of a serious, long-term condition and will typically resolve in a few days or weeks. Howver, there are several conditions that can cause hand and wrist pain:

When to See a Doctor for Hand and Wrist Pain

One important point regarding hand and finger pain due to an injury is not to assume the injury is insignificant. Many significant injuries may initially present with just mild pain hand and wrist pain. Some red flags that your injury may require an evaluation by Dr. Donnelly include:
  • Significant mechanism of injury
  • Deformity or instability
  • Marked swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain that worsens 1-2 days after injury
  • Persistent pain despite ice, rest/immobilization, NSAID meds after a few days
Just because you can move the fingers, hand and/or wrist does not mean there is no bone fracture or tendon injury. This unfortunate assumption can lead to delay in both diagnosis and treatment, which can ultimately impair function.