Painful wrists are pretty common, but they aren’t always serious. Most wrist joint pains are mild and get better on their own; sometimes, however, the pain can be more severe. Proper diagnosis and checkup followed by an appropriate treatment will help to regain the normal function of this important joint.
What Can Cause Wrist Pain?
Trauma, inflammation and degeneration of the joint can cause the wrist to become painful.
Traumatic injury to the wrist can either be sudden or after repetitive use of the joint. The ligaments and bones of the wrist joint can get injured after a fall on the hand. The bone most frequently involved in trauma to the wrist is the scaphoid. If fractured and untreated, permanent deformity and chronic wrist pain could follow. Similarly, falls can also cause ligaments of the wrist joint to get torn making the joint lose its stability. Torn ligaments and cartilages can cause severe pain.
Overuse and straining the wrist joint can also be a source of pain. Over time these repetitive injuries can cause the tendons to become inflamed. Repetitive twisting and flexing of the wrist can cause a form of wrist pain.
Another likely cause of wrist pain is osteoarthritis. This condition causes the joints and its synovium to degenerate. This causes the joint to not only become painful but also swell and become stiff. An old injury to the joint can also cause similar symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Other inflammatory conditions such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis can also cause pain and swelling in the wrist.
How is Pain in the Wrist Joint Diagnosed?
Apart from the history and complete physical examination, imaging studies like MRI scans and X-rays can help us find the exact cause of the pain in your wrist joint.
How is the Pain Treated?
Once the cause of the pain is established, we will construct a treatment plan according. Generally, mild cases only require some rest, icing and splinting to help the wrist joint heal. If the injury is severe, then surgery will be advised. Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with the appropriate medications.
Arthroscopy for Wrist Joint Injuries
If the ligaments and cartilage in the wrist joint are torn, they can be reconstructed through a surgical procedure called arthroscopy. Through this method, a small camera called the arthroscope is inserted into the joint. This helps the surgeon to visualise all of the structures in the joint; torn or damaged structures are repaired with micro-sutures.