Hand & Wrist Pain

What causes Hand & Wrist Pain?

Hand and wrist pain or injury is common and can usually be successfully diagnosed and treated by your physiotherapist. Hand and wrist pain can occur as a result of sports injuries, work injuries or simply everyday arm use.

An accurate diagnosis is vital to the correct management of your hand or wrist pain. The pain can be caused by local muscle, tendon or joint injury. Alternatively, wrist pain can be referred from your neck joints or a trapped nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the best known nerve entrapment of the wrist.

Common sources of hand and wrist Pain are:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • de Quervain Tenosynovitis
  • Hand or Wrist Arthritis
  • Muscle Strain (Muscle Pain)
  • Neck Arm Pain
  • Overuse Injuries
  • Sprains or Fractures
  • Pinched Nerve
  • RSI – Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome


How can physiotherapy help?

Hand and wrist pain or injury respond favourably to physiotherapy intervention when early treatment is sought. This may include strengthening or stretching techniques depending upon the condition. Please do not delay in consulting your physiotherapist if you experience hand or wrist pain. Some conditions do require surgery, so early assessment and intervention is important.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis and your physio may refer you to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment.

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How can I help myself?

If you find daily tasks difficult to do because you suffer from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands or wrists, the right exercises can help get you back in motion.

Your physio can suggest specific exercises depending on the condition. Some help increase a joint’s range of motion or lengthen the muscle and tendons via stretching. These exercises are helpful for osteoarthritis as well as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow — but not when the joints are inflamed or painful. Other exercises strengthen muscles around a joint to generate more power or to build greater endurance. These are helpful for inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis) and non-painful arthritis conditions.

Learning how to ‘pace’ yourself will help you to carry on with your usual activities. Pacing yourself means that you keep active without overusing joints.

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More information on Hand & Wrist Pain

Arthritis Research UK – Hand and Wrist pain education and information
NHS Choices – Comprehensive information and advice


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