Because the use of our wrists and hands is so important, wrist pain and wrist injury can be a debilitating condition. For others it is simply an irritating interference with the simple tasks of everyday life. Either way, wrist pain is a common complaint with a variety of potential symptoms and causes, ranging from arthritis to carpal tunnel syndrome.
To learn more about wrist pain or to schedule an appointment to get your wrist pain examined by Dr. Ahluwalia, contact us today.
Wrist Pain Causes and Symptoms
The type of wrist pain most people experience is largely dependent on the cause. For some people, wrist pain may be dull and aching, while for others it’s sharp and stabbing. Some of the most common causes of wrist pain include:
- Certain disease and conditions
Arthritis of the wrist is most common in two forms: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that is seen frequently in older patients. It happens as a result of the normal wear and tear of age. Over time the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to wear away, causing bone to rub on bone.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder. This means that the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissue. The result of rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation and joint pain.
Injury is another typical cause of wrist pain. Wrist injuries generally occur in two types: impact injuries and repetitive stress injuries. Impact injuries are most commonly seen when someone uses his or her wrist to brace a fall. Fractures, sprains, and strains are all common types of impact injuries that occur in the wrist.
Repetitive stress injuries happen when the wrist is used for a repetitive motion. This can be the result of a job or sport. When the joint is overused in this kind of repetitive movement, the tissue gets swollen. Repetitive stress can also cause a stress fracture, a tiny crack that occurs in the bone.
Finally, wrist pain can be caused by a number of other diseases and disorders that affect the joints and bones. These include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — pressure on the median nerve in the wrist causes tingling, numbness, and weakness
- Tendon Sheath Inflammation — the tendon sheath becomes irritated due to various conditions that leads to pain and sometimes swelling.
- Ganglion Cysts — fluid filled bumps appear on the wrists
- Kienbock’s Disease — blood supply is compromised to the bone, causing the bone to break down
Patients who are most at risk for developing wrist pain are those who play certain sports, do repetitive work with their hands, or have certain diseases that predispose them to joint problems.
Wrist Pain Treatment
The first step to getting the proper treatment for your wrist pain is getting an accurate diagnosis of the cause. To do this, your doctor will take your history, assess your symptoms, and give you a physical examination. Imaging or nerve tests may also be done to help better understand the cause of your wrist pain.
Common imaging tests include X-rays, CT scan, MRI, and bone scan. Nerve tests are done if your doctors suspects you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor may also choose to look inside your wrist using an arthroscope, a minimally-invasive instrument with a tiny camera.
Conservative treatment for wrist pain typically involves a regimen of physical therapy and medication. Some people, however, may require surgery to eliminate their wrist pain. Wrist surgery is commonly performed to repair broken bones as well as damaged tendons or ligaments. In some cases, surgery is also used to treat severe carpal tunnel syndrome.
When the wrist is broken, treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the fracture and the age of the patient. For older patients and in minimally displaced fractures, casting may be an effective method. For patients with more complicated fractures, surgery may be necessary. During broken wrist surgery, screws, pins, or plates may be used to help hold the bone in place.
The recovery period after broken wrist surgery depends on each individual patient. However, it is common for the wrist to be immobilized for up to six weeks after the procedure. Many patients will need to undergo physical therapy after the bone has healed to regain strength and flexibility in the joint.
Contact a Top Wrist Surgeon in Beverly Hills
Are you suffering from wrist pain? Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia is a leading expert in wrist surgery in Los Angeles. To find out how Dr. Ahluwalia can help you or to schedule a consultation, just give us a call.