What is Wrist Pain?
Wrist pain may be isolated solely to the wrist or also be present in fingers, thumb, and palm. Depending on the person and cause, wrist pain can have a wide variety of symptoms. Pain may range from being described as pins and needles, dull and aching, or sharp and intense. Its root cause may be an acute injury or related to repetitive strain and stress. Due to the wrist’s complex design, wrist pain treatment can be challenging and complicated.
Understanding Wrist Anatomy
The wrist is a gliding joint (which allows the bones to slide over one another) that connects the forearm’s ulna and radius bones to the metacarpal bones in the hand. Wrist movement is what allows the hand to be positioned for gripping, twisting, and lifting. These movements are needed to perform everyday activities at work, home, and play, but can also make the wrist susceptible to chronic overuse and acute traumatic injuries.
Causes of Wrist Pain
Wrist pain and injuries may be the result of sudden traumatic accidents or caused by conditions that develop more slowly over a longer period of time. Common causes of wrist pain include:
- Pinched nerves
- Repetitive use injuries
- Poor ergonomics
- Jobs in construction, manufacturing, cashiering, cooking, or computer work
- Sewing, knitting, crafting, gardening
- Sports such as: baseball, tennis, basketball, weightlifting, gymnastics, etc.
- Trip and fall or car accidents, often when hands are put out suddenly to catch yourself
Wrist Pain Conditions We Treat
Armworks Hand Therapists have extensive knowledge and training providing patients with effective, high quality wrist pain treatment. Our hand therapists regularly see patients for these common wrist conditions:
Wrist Pain Treatment
At Armworks, treatment for wrist pain is tailored to the individual. Armworks Hand Therapists (who specialize exclusively in elbow, wrist, and hand conditions) will assess your wrist concern by performing a professional evaluation at your first appointment. They will then develop a customized program suited for your specific recovery needs. Your wrist pain treatment program may include:
- Treatment/instructions to reduce inflammation
- Manual Therapy
- Splinting of the wrist
- In clinic and at home exercise programs
- Education on correct use of your arm
Frequently Asked Questions
The typical progression of wrist pain symptoms starts with an occasional dull ache or brief sharp pain at your wrist. As time goes on, this pain can become more frequent and/or last for longer periods of time. Without treatment, wrist pain may escalate to a point where you begin to avoid using your arm. This can cause weakness and loss of motion in your wrist.
In short, the earlier you can start therapy the better. The most common thing we hear as hand therapists is, “I just thought this would go away on its own, so I waited to call.” Unfortunately, delaying therapy can make your recovery period last much longer.
Wrist pain recovery time is typically shorter the quicker you can start therapy after your symptoms begin. A normal recovery timeline for wrist pain is about 2-4 weeks if starting therapy early, and 4-8 weeks when starting therapy later.
The type of work you do is the main difference for the expected time off. Heavier labor jobs, jobs with long hours on a computer, and assembly type jobs often take the longest time to return to. Your hand therapist will continually monitor and communicate your treatment plan, as well as the improvements you make in therapy with your attending workers’ compensation doctor. Your doctor will ultimately decide when and at what capacity you are able to return to work.
The timeline to return to sports after a wrist injury will depend on the extent of your injury and which sports you will be returning to. Sports that require that weight or pressure be placed on your wrist (i.e., gymnastics, cycling or basketball) will take the longest to return to. Sports that involve holding a racquet or club, (tennis, pickleball or golf) also require a longer period of rest compared to sports that don’t use the wrist. Expected wrist healing timelines are usually 2-4 weeks if starting therapy early, and 4-8 weeks if starting therapy later.
Here is a list of the insurance plans accepted by SportsCare Physical Therapy and Armworks Hand Therapy. If you are unsure of your coverage or if your plan is accepted, please contact one of our offices. We are happy to assist you in learning about your benefits.
Armworks Hand Therapy has offices in Gresham, NE Portland, Clackamas, Beaverton, and Lake Oswego. For location specific contact information click here.