Wrist Pain Has Many Sources

Ask UT Medicine: Wrist pain has many sources


Q. My wrist gets a bad pain for no reason. It really hurts for a few days — then it goes away. Do I have arthritis?

A. There are many disorders that can cause pain in the wrist, including carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, ganglions, arthritis at the base of the thumb, arthritis at the wrist and inflammation of the tendon sheaths on either side of the wrist.

To begin the evaluation of wrist pain, one must obtain a history from the patient, including a statement of the chief symptom, when it occurred, a general medical history that would include a history of injuries, previous problems with the wrist or a history of arthritic-type pain in other joints. It is always important to have the specific type and location of symptoms and factors that improve or worsen the symptoms and previous treatment.

The best way to localize the pain is to have the patient use one finger to identify the point where he or she has the most pain. Wrist pain is usually divided into four areas: 1) on the thumb side of the wrist; 2) on the volar or palm side of the wrist; 3) on the dorsal or backside of the wrist; and 4) in the region along the ulnar, or little finger side of the wrist. More…