Gradual Onset Wrist Pain
Gradual onset injuries or chronic injuries occur over a period of time and often cannot be traced back to a single incident or cause. The most common structure injured are the tendons of the wrist through overuse or repetitive strain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of wrist pain. A dull ache is felt in the wrist and forearm with pain which may radiate into the hand and fingers. It is often worse at night and a tingling sensation can be felt. We explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment including exercises and surgery.
Wrist tendonitis or wrist tendinopathy is inflammation, or more likely degeneration, of any of the flexor or extensor tendons which cross the wrist joint. Repetitive movement and overuse can cause stiffness and pain in the wrist, and there can also be swelling. Sports and repetitive work are common causes of tendonitis.
RSI or repetitive strain injury is a general term rather than a specific diagnosis used to describe gradual onset pain usually in the forearm, wrist and hand. RSI is a term that covers several different causes of wrist pain, but all are exacerbated by certain repetitive movements, whether they're from sport or from work. We look in more detail at the causes and treatments of this wrist injury.
A ganglion cyst or wrist ganglion is a small lump which appears in the wrist, often attached to a ligament. The size of the cyst and the severity of the wrist pain varies from person to person. Some ganglions are not painful so can be left, but others can hinder movement and cause pain, so may require treatment. Read more about the causes, symptoms and possible treatments for ganglions.
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is inflammation of the synovium or sheath that surrounds two tendons in the wrist which attach to the base of the thumb. It is a form of repetitive strain injury which can be exacerbated by sporting and work activities. The inflammation can cause pain and restrict movement in the wrist, but in most cases it can be treated without surgery.
A bursa is a small sack of fluid that lubricates where tendons move in joints, of which there are two in the wrist. If a bursa is subjected to repeated trauma or friction then it can become inflamed and swollen, causing wrist pain. Although the pain can be severe, wrist bursitis can often go away with rest, ice and compression, without the need for any major treatment.
Once the pain and other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome have decreased considerably, stretching and strengthening exercises can be incorporated to help prevent the condition recurring.