Common Causes of Hand and Wrist Pain

Common Causes of Hand and Wrist Pain

Anyone who has jammed a finger or sprained a wrist knows how painful and disruptive these injuries can be. We constantly use our wrists, fingers and thumbs throughout the day. They are essential to the performance of our daily functions. Hand and wrist pain can affect anyone, whether you are an office worker, caregiver, or a high performance athlete.

Overuse and underlying conditions can cause pain and interfere with daily life.

Common Causes of Hand and Wrist Pain:


Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease that slowly degenerates the protective cartilage in your joints. It is one of the most common reason for pain in the  hands and wrists. Although it tends to affect older adults, it can also occur in younger people as a result of cumulative injury from overuse of the hands and wrists. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes swelling, pain and deformity in the joints. It tends to affect the small joints of the hands and feet first. As the symptoms progress, it can spread to the other joints in the body like the knee and shoulder joints. It can also affect structures in the body that are outside of the joint like the skin, eye and heart.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition of the hands and wrist that affects up to 10 million Americans. It is a collection of signs and symptoms that occurs when the median nerve is compressed within the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The increase in pressure in the carpal tunnel causes changes that eventually leads to symptoms of numbness, pain, or weakness in the hands and wrist. The exact cause is unclear, but is believed to be a combination of different factors including genetic, medical, vocational, social and demographic.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis:

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition where there is irritation and swelling of the tendons on the outside of the thumb. It is caused by  acute or repetitive trauma of the tendons causing inflammation, swelling and thickening. Repetitive motions like playing an instrument, lifting or use of a handheld device can cause this problem. Symptoms include pain, swelling and limited motion of the thumb and wrist.

Ganglion Cyst:

Ganglion cyst is a small sac of fluid that forms over a joint or tendon. In the hands and wrists, they usually appear on the backs of the wrists or hands. It can be caused by repetitive motion or trauma that causes the tissue of the joint or tendon to break down forming cysts. Most of the time they present as a small, soft, painless lump. Sometimes they can be painful and limit movement in the wrist or hand.

Peripheral neuropathy:

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the peripheral nerves are damaged, often as the result of injury, infection or some chronic conditions, such as diabetes. They can present as numbness, pain, sensitivity and/or weakness in your hands and feet.

Trigger Finger (Stenosing tenosynovitis):

Trigger finger occurs when the tendons that control the movements of the fingers and thumb become irritated and swollen. This can create a painful sensation of fingers locking and catching. In severe cases, the fingers can get stuck in a bent position.

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult with your doctor. There are many effective treatments for addressing pain in the hands and wrists. Most of these conditions can be treated though non surgical means like rehabilitation, anti inflammatories or injections. More severe conditions may require more advanced interventions. Early detection will result in a more effective treatment.

You don’t have to live in pain. We welcome the opportunity to help reduce your pain and get you back to living your life without limitations.

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