Wrist pain is extremely common and has many different causes. Because we use our arms for so many daily activities, wrist pain can be quite debilitating.
Common causes of wrist pain include:
Type of work you do
Type of sport you play
Repetitive strain injuries
Types of wrist injuries
Ganglions are a fluid filled sacs that forms on tendons or joints. They can cause intermittent pain and reduced joint mobility and may be visible as a swelling or alternatively not visible under other tissues.
Treatment is only indicated if the ganglion causes pain or symptoms for the patient. Osteopaths may assist in management of ganglions with education, taping and management techniques. Other treatment options include cortisone injections, aspiration (removing the fluid with a needle) and for persistent ganglions surgical removal.
Fractures at the wrist can involve a number of bones, most commonly the distal radius or ulna or the scaphoid – one of the eight small carpal (wrist) bones. Usually fractures at the wrist occur with trauma such as a fall onto the hand or other high velocity impact to the wrist.
Imaging such as x-ray can help determine whether a fracture has occurred.
Treatment of a fracture will often involve immobilisation in a cast or splint for a period of time to allow the bone to heal. In some cases surgery may be required to fix bones in place to assist in healing along with a period of immobilisation.
To ensure full recovery and range of movement at the wrist patients should undergo further rehabilitation treatment after the period of immobilisation. This maybe aided by Hand Therapy, Osteopathy, Myotherapy, exercise prescription and Pilates.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the wrist. The median nerve supplies the palm of your hand and your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Often carpal tunnel causes pain and tingling into the hand and also excessive swelling of the wrist (especially in pregnancy).
Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome may include osteopathy, dry needling, myotherapy, splinting, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (as prescribed by your GP), Pilates to address postural causes of nerve impingement, cortisone injections and in persistent cases surgical treatment.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
RSI occurs as a result of repetitive activity such as writing, typing or texting. Often patients report pain and weakness in their hands and wrists, tingling into the fingers and swelling in the hand and fingers.
It is important to address if there is anything biomechanical that can be altered to reduce the strain being put on the wrist. For example the height of a keyboard on a desk can affect the position of the wrist.
Treatment for RSI may include, ergonomic assessment, osteopathy, dry needling, myotherapy, splinting/taping, rest, ice, stretching and exercise prescription, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (as prescribed by your GP), shockwave therapy and cortisone injections.