Wrist pain: how to treat?
Pain can occur in the right or left wrist. It is able to indicate various joint diseases. Every day, colossal loads are placed on the wrist. This negatively affects the condition of the ligaments and muscles.
Sometimes the pain is triggered by mechanical damage. After reducing the load on the wrist, it decreases. However, sometimes the painful sensations persist. If they persist for a long time, then you need to consult a doctor and undergo an examination.
- Causes of wrist pain
- Symptoms and possible illnesses
- When is it necessary to see a doctor?
- Which doctor should I see if my wrist hurts?
- Treating wrist pain
Causes of wrist pain
There are many reasons that can lead to wrist pain. They are divided into two large groups: physiological and pathological.
Often, painful sensations in the wrist occur for reasons that have no pathological basis.
- Wrist uncomfortable for too long.
- Hereditary weakness of the ligaments of the hand.
- Long-term alcohol abuse.
- Taking medications without medical supervision. In this regard, drugs for the treatment of epilepsy are especially dangerous.
- Working on the keyboard.
- Features of professional activity. At risk are crane operators, drivers, carpenters, locksmiths and builders interacting with jackhammers.
- Certain sports: tennis, golf, barbell exercises, rowing.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. It often occurs in pregnant women. This happens in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. The reason for its development is the rapid weight gain. The syndrome manifests itself with symptoms such as: pain, numbness of the hand. The pain is especially intense during the night's rest.
Pathological causes that can lead to wrist pain include:
- Tumors located on the arm.
- Injuries received. Pain occurs due to a dislocation, fracture, bruise, rupture, or sprain. Edema forms in the area of damage, hematoma appears. All this intensifies the painful sensations.
- Arthritis. Joints can be affected for a variety of reasons. This includes infectious factors as well as aseptic inflammation. Arthritis is one of the common causes of wrist pain.
- Arthrosis. This disorder can occur after a joint injury. Pain appears during exercise. At rest, it is absent.
Tendovaginitis or de Quervain's disease. This pathology develops in people who often perform the same type of joint movements. Pain occurs when the hand is abducted. It radiates to the thumb and elbow.
- Tunnel Syndrome. It develops against the background of tendon wear, as well as with inflammation of the nerve fibers. People who work at the computer often suffer from tunnel syndrome.
- Tendinitis. The disease occurs against the background of excessive loads on the wrist. Professional athletes often suffer from tendonitis.
- Gout. With this disease, an excess amount of uric acid or calcium salts accumulates in the joints. Exacerbation of pathology is accompanied by intense pain, burning sensation, pulsation in the affected area.
- Osteoarthritis. People aged 40-60 most often suffer from pathology. The disease is characterized by the destruction of bone tissue. Moreover, it can suffer anywhere, and not only in the area of the metacarpophalangeal joint.
- Erythema nodosum. In this disease, adipose tissue becomes inflamed. Tumor-like neoplasms form in the affected area. The skin over them turns red, when touched, they respond with pain.
- Brucellosis, gonorrhea and other diseases of an infectious nature.
- Tuberculosis of joints and bones. This disease rarely develops. Mostly elderly people suffer from it. Most often, the spine is affected, which is experiencing excessive stress. However, bone tissue can be damaged anywhere on the body.
- Peyronie's disease. The person has pain in the wrist. Only men suffer from this disease.
- Ischemic heart disease and myocardial infarction.
- The trigger finger.
- Ganglion or hygroma. With this disorder, bumps form under the skin. They will contain a liquid that has a jelly-like consistency.
- Kienbeck's disease.
Spine diseases. Many of them lead to compression of the roots and spinal nerves. This causes pain in certain areas of the body.
- Volkmann's contract. With this disorder, the patient has an obstruction of the ulnar artery.
By the place of concentration of pain, you can determine the development of a particular pathology. Often, painful sensations in the wrist can be caused by disorders such as:
- Damage to the central nervous system.
- Spine diseases.
- Rheumatoid arthritis or arthrosis.
- Cracks in the bone, or damage to the ligaments.
Symptoms and possible illnesses
Wrist pain is the main symptom that will always be present. Also, a person may have other signs of a disorder. They depend on the specific disease that triggered the wrist pain.
Common symptoms include:
- Numbness in the palm and hand.
- Goose bumps.
- Burning and itching in the affected area.
- Trembling fingers, tingling in the fingers.
- Increased pain at night, after intense physical exertion.
- Crunch in characteristic area.
- Weakness in fingers when trying to pick up an object.
- Restriction of brush movements.
- Swelling in the area of the fingers and palm. It can occur on one or both limbs.
Specific symptoms of wrist pain include:
- General deterioration in health.
- Hyperemia of the tissues of the hand. Redness often appears after an injury.
- Anatomically incorrect position of the limb (after fracture). Joint instability (after dislocation).
- Hemorrhage under the skin (after an open fracture).
- Pain during flexion of the limb.
- Deformation of the joints.
- The inability to perform any actions with the affected hand.
- Shortness of breath, chest and heart pain.
- Burning, itching, tingling of the limb.
- Hyperemia of the skin over the affected area.
- Increased body temperature.
- Weak muscles.
The listed symptoms are more common than others. They can accompany acute and chronic wrist pain. The exact clinical manifestations depend on the specific pathology that caused the pain syndrome.
When is it necessary to see a doctor?
A doctor should be consulted immediately if a person has symptoms such as:
- Loss of finger sensitivity.
- Painful sensations persist for several days.
- After loading the arm, the pain becomes stronger.
- The wrist is deformed.
- Swelling or induration forms in the affected area.
- A person cannot move a limb.
- The pain gets worse when moving the arm.
- When trying to move the brush, a crunch and squeak is heard.
Which doctor should I see if my wrist hurts?
To find out the cause of wrist pain, you need to contact specialists such as:
Traumatologist. A doctor should be visited after an injury, regardless of its origin. If there is no way to get to a traumatologist, then you need to go to an appointment with a surgeon.
Orthopedist. A doctor is consulted when, in addition to pain in the wrist, a person notices swelling in a characteristic area, and a creak and crunch is heard when moving. Pain during movement of the thumb and forefinger may also join. These symptoms indicate peritendinitis.
Rheumatologist. Symptoms that should make a person turn to this narrow specialist: paroxysmal pain (they can persist from several hours to several days), redness in the joint area, local increase in body temperature. When the joint becomes deformed after the pain attack ends, gout or pseudogout can be suspected. Other signs may indicate a systemic disease: a rash on the skin and mucous membranes, a burning sensation when emptying the bladder, an increase in body temperature to 37.5 ° C, chills, headaches, weakness, sweating during sleep. Also, these symptoms are characteristic of infectious arthritis. It can be caused by gonorrhea, tuberculosis, brucellosis.
Neuropathologist. This doctor will treat a patient with tunnel syndrome. It often develops in pregnant women, in people who work at a computer. The development of this pathology is indicated by symptoms such as: pain, burning and itching in the wrist, trembling in the fingers (all fingers are affected, except for the little finger). It is difficult for a person to hold an object in the palm of his hand. The arm may swell, and numbness in the forearm is common. The brush becomes cold, skin sensitivity worsens.
If it is difficult for a person to understand which doctor he needs to contact, then first you should visit a therapist.
After contacting the doctor, the patient will have to undergo such diagnostic procedures as:
Taking anamnesis. The patient should describe as accurately as possible the symptoms that bother him. It is important to clarify the place of localization of pain, their nature, area of distribution. If you have been injured before, you should inform a specialist about it.
Physical examination. The doctor will examine the affected area, assess the presence of edema, deformities, hematomas, bone displacement, inflammation.
Blood donation for clinical and biochemical analysis. This will assess the severity of the inflammation.
Joint ultrasound. This study allows you to diagnose synovitis, arthritis, tendonitis.
X-ray of the joint. With its help, dislocations, fractures, inflammatory processes, synovitis, carpal syndrome are detected.
Arthroscopy. A microscopic camera is introduced into the joint, as well as instruments to eliminate pathology. Such a procedure is carried out not only for diagnostic, but also for therapeutic purposes.
Assessment of the electrical activity of the nerve trunks (electroneurography) and muscles (electromyography).
CT or MRI. These studies make it possible to accurately determine pathological changes in tissues. With the help of CT and MRI, such disorders as: bone necrosis, fractures, arthritis, damage to nerve fibers and soft tissues of the limb, inflammation of the tendon sheaths are detected. However, not every person can have an MRI. Do not prescribe this examination to patients with a pacemaker, claustrophobia and pregnant women.
Scintigraphy. A special substance is injected into the tissue. When it accumulates, the doctor examines the affected area using a gamma camera. Scintigraphy makes it possible to diagnose avascular bone necrosis, arthritis, fractures and synovitis.
Study of the composition of the synovial fluid. A special device is introduced into the joint, with the help of which the joint fluid is taken. Then it is examined for the detection of pathogenic flora in it.
Treating wrist pain
The complex therapeutic effect on the body will allow you to achieve a speedy recovery.
Treatment is carried out in such areas as:
- Fixation of the damaged area. The patient may be given a plaster cast, splint, or other fixator.
- Physiotherapy treatment.
- Performing exercise therapy, visiting the massage therapist's office.
- Taking medications.
Surgery is used in extreme cases.
There are many drugs that can cope with diseases of the wrist joint. Most of them help with a specific pathology. The doctor should prescribe them after he knows the exact diagnosis of the patient.
The main groups of medicines that can be used to treat wrist pain are:
Analgesics: Ketonal, Ketanov, etc.
NSAIDs: Larfix, Ortofen. They are used in the treatment regimen for arthritis and osteochondrosis.
Chondroprotectors: Artra, Teraflex. They are used to restore the patient's lost range of motion. The drugs can be prescribed both in the form of tablets and in the form of an ointment.
Antirheumatic drugs: Arva, Imuran. They are prescribed in order to prevent dystrophic and degenerative processes in the joint tissues.
Calcium preparations: Calcemin. They are prescribed to patients with impaired bone integrity.
Corticosteroids: Prednisolone, Celeston. These drugs are used to relieve pain caused by arthritis and arthrosis.
Combined drugs. This includes Dolobene gel. Its use can reduce tissue swelling, relieve inflammation and pain. You can also use the drug Diklak, which helps to reduce body temperature, and also has an antirheumatic effect.
Experts prohibit patients from taking any pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs until a diagnosis is made. Otherwise, it will be difficult to make an accurate diagnosis. If it is impossible to endure pain, then it is permissible to take a Ketanov pill and immediately consult a doctor.
If the pain in the wrist was triggered by an injury, the doctor may prescribe physiotherapy to speed up tissue recovery. These procedures help to increase the nutrition of the affected area, and also enhance the therapeutic effect of the drugs used, for example, ointments or creams. Physiotherapy helps to remove salt deposits from the joints.
Most Prescribed Procedures:
Ultrasound treatment. Effects: improvement of blood and lymph flow, elimination of inflammation, improvement of dermis permeability, effective penetration of ointments and gels into affected tissues. Thanks to this treatment, recovery is progressing rapidly.
Magnetotherapy. Effects: reducing the intensity of the inflammatory process, relieving pain, relieving edema.
Electrophoresis. This procedure is prescribed for various diseases that are accompanied by inflammation.
Laser treatment. Effects: stimulation of metabolic processes, improvement of blood circulation, removal of excess salts, relief of pain.
Applications with paraffin. They are prescribed for tendon damage, namely, for chronic tendonitis.
Shock wave therapy. This procedure is often prescribed for patients who need surgery. Sometimes, SWT helps to avoid surgery. This treatment is indicated for patients with trauma.
After completing a full-fledged treatment course, a person gets rid of pain. The average number of procedures is six. The duration of one session is 20 minutes. During treatment, you can not play sports, it is important to exclude the load on the joint.
Complexes of physiotherapy exercises allow you to cope with various pathologies of the joints. Thanks to well-chosen exercises, it is possible to restore the volume of lost movements and strengthen the muscles. Classes should take place under medical supervision.
It is important to ensure that the person does not experience pain during the exercise. When discomfort appears, classes should be stopped. It is allowed to perform simple exercises on your own, but the doctor should recommend them. You can use a special massage ball. Loads on the arm should not be too intense.
If a person suffers from chronic joint disease, then massage is shown to him. It promotes the normal outflow of lymph, eliminates pain, improves tissue nutrition.
The massage can only be performed by a specialist with medical education. If a person has not studied professional massage, then he can harm the patient's health.
The operation is prescribed when there is no result from conservative methods. Sometimes the help of a surgeon is resorted to in order to restore the joint after an injury.
The operation is performed under general anesthesia. The altered articular structures are removed, tendon aponeurosis is performed and sutures are applied. Rehabilitation takes up to 3 months. It all depends on the volume and nature of the intervention.
To keep your joints healthy, you need to include foods rich in vitamin D and calcium in your diet. These include: yogurt, cheese, milk, broccoli, rich green vegetables.
It is good to eat oily sea fish and nuts as they are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. During pregnancy, you need to monitor your weight and prevent the formation of edema. To do this, you need to eat right, drink enough water.
Alcoholic drinks are excluded. They have a negative effect on the condition of joints and bones. Men should not consume more than 2 servings of alcohol per day, and women - more than 1 serving. To reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, you need to quit tobacco. In addition, smoking interferes with normal tissue repair after injury.
Video: Physiotherapy by Jeff Cavalier. About the causes of wrist pain, hand anatomy, and pain management exercises:
Preventive measures to avoid wrist pain:
- You need to exercise regularly, do exercises that help strengthen the muscles of the wrist.
- If discomfort occurs, you need to reduce the load on the joint.
- The speed of the same type of movements should not be too high.
- You cannot be in the same position for a long time. It needs to be changed frequently.
- You need to take objects with your palm completely, and not just with your fingers.
- When working with vibrating objects, use special gloves. They allow you to keep the hand in the correct position. There are also special gaskets that can absorb vibration.
- When doing sports, the wrist must be fixed.
- The workplace must be well organized.
- While working at the computer, you need to take breaks every hour. At this time, you can shake your palms, stretch your fingers.
- Comfortable shoes should be worn to minimize the risk of injury while falling. There should be no unnecessary items on the floor. Do not walk on wet surfaces.
- You should not lift weights. It is better to move the load several times.
Author of the article: Kaplan Alexander Sergeevich | Orthopedist
Education: diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" received in 2009 at the Medical Academy. I. M. Sechenov. In 2012 completed postgraduate studies in Traumatology and Orthopedics at the City Clinical Hospital named after Botkin at the Department of Traumatology, Orthopedics and Disaster Surgery.