Wrist Pain By Location

Volar Dorsal wrist pain

Here we explain the common and less common causes of wrist pain by specific location or area.


Is your pain at the front or back of the wrist?

Front of the wrist (volar)

Back of the wrist (dorsal)

Symptom Checker


Dorsal wrist pain

This is pain located at the back of the wrist and is subdivided into radial (thumb side), central and Ulnar (little finger side) zones.

Click on the location of pain:


Radial wrist pain

The dorsal radial zone is the area of the wrist near the thumb over the palm side.

Most common:

Less common:

Important not to miss:

  • Carpal dislocation – dislocation of any of the small bones which make up the wrist.
  • Radial epiphyseal stress reaction – an overuse injury affecting the growth plate of the radius bone. This is more likely to affect young athletes.

Central zone wrist pain

The dorsal central zone is the middle area of the wrist on the inside or palm side.

Most common:

Less common:

  • Impingement syndromes

Important not to miss:

  • Scapholunate dislocation – this is dislocation of the scaphoid bone where it connects to the lunate bone.
  • Perilunar dislocation
  • Kienbocks disease

Ulnar zone wrist pain

The dorsal ulnar zone is the area of the wrist on the inside near the little finger.

Most common:

Less common:

  • Distal radioulnar joint instability
  • Ulnar fracture
  • Luno-triquetral ligament sprain
  • Extensor carpi ulnaris subluxation

Volar wrist pain

This is pain on the inside, or underside, of the wrist. Wrist pain in these locations can also be divided into radial (thumb side), central and Ulnar (little finger side) zones.

Click on the area to view injuries:


Radial zone

The volar-radial zone is the front/inside of the wrist on the thumb side.

Most common

  • Carpo-metacarpal osteoarthritis

Less common

  • Flexor carpi radialis tendinopathy

Important not to miss:

  • Carpal instability

Central zone

The volar central zone is the inside middle of the wrist.

Most common

Less common

  • Pisotriquetral degenerative joint disease

Ulnar zone

The volar ulnar zone is the front/inside of the wrist on the little finger side.

Most common

Less common

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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