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Wrist Pain

The wrist is a complex area made up of multiple ligaments, tendons and bones. As a result it can be difficult to find out what’s causing your wrist pain. Symptoms of wrist pain can vary. Below are the most common wrist injuries and how a Hand Therapist can help.

Wrist Pain
Wrist Pain

Wrist Sprain

A wrist sprain is an injury that involves the stretching or tearing of the ligaments in the wrist. Ligaments are tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect bones to each other and provide stability to joints. When the wrist is subjected to a force beyond its normal range of motion, the ligaments can be stretched or torn, leading to a sprain. The most common wrist sprains are scapholunate ligament sprains and TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) injuries.

Common causes of wrist sprains include:

  • Falls: Landing on an outstretched hand during a fall can cause the wrist to bend excessively, resulting in a sprain.
  • Sports Injuries: Activities that involve sudden impact, such as a fall or collision during sports, can lead to wrist sprains.
  • Twisting Movements: Sudden twists or turns of the wrist.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. It involves inflammation of the sheath (tenosynovium) that surrounds two tendons that control movement of the thumb: the abductor pollicis longus and the extensor pollicis brevis.

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Overuse: Repetitive hand and wrist movements, especially those that involve gripping, pinching, or twisting, can contribute to the development of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Injury: A direct blow or trauma to the wrist may increase the risk of developing this condition.
  • Anatomical Factors: Certain anatomical factors, such as having a shorter first dorsal compartment in the wrist, can make an individual more prone to De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Postpartum: This condition is more common in women, especially in new Mums due to hormonal changes and repetitive movements associated with caring for a baby.
Wrist Pain
Wrist Pain

Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI)

Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs), also known as overuse injuries, are a group of conditions that result from repetitive motions, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, or sustained awkward positions.

These injuries can affect nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments, leading to pain, inflammation, and reduced function. Common types of wrist RSIs include carpal tunnel syndrome, ECU (extensor carpi ulnaris) tendinitis and FCR (flexor common radialis) tendinitis.

Wrist Arthritis

Wrist arthritis refers to the inflammation and degeneration of the joints in the wrist, leading to wrist pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. There are several types of arthritis that can affect the wrist, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common.

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. As the cartilage deteriorates, bones may rub against each other, causing wrist pain, swelling, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis in the wrist is often associated with aging, overuse, or prior joint injuries.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. This can lead to inflammation, joint damage, and eventually joint deformities.
Wrist Pain
Wrist Pain

How Hand Physio can help

A Hand Therapist will be able to assess your wrist to determine the cause of your wrist pain and diagnosis. Treatment can include:

  • Making a custom-made thermoplastic splint for protection
  • Taping
  • Exercises to reduce pain, improve movement, return to sport and work
  • Education on activity modification
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