Wrist Bursitis

Wrist Bursitis

Wrist bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, which is a small sack of fluid that helps lubricate the movement of tendons over bone. There are two bursas in the wrist, and repetitive trauma or friction can cause them to become inflamed. Treatment involves rest and reducing inflammation.

Wrist bursitis symptoms

Symptoms include pain in the wrist, especially when the wrist is bent back (extended) or when performing weight-bearing activities or sports. A small lump or swelling may be seen in the top of the wrist which may be tender and warm to touch.


Wrist bursitis causes & anatomy

Bursas are found all over the body, in places where soft tissues may rub against each other or the underlying bone. They affect people who tend to put a lot of weight on their hands, for example, cyclists.

There are two bursas in the wrist;  the radial bursa and the ulnar bursa. The radial bursa surrounds the flexor pollicis longus tendon on the thumb and palm sides of the wrist. The ulna bursa surrounds the tendons of the flexor digitorum superficialis and profundus muscles, more centrally in the palm side of the wrist.

Bursitis can be caused by a sudden impact, or more regularly by repeated movements and is a form of repetitive strain injury (RSI). The bursa becomes inflamed and swollen due to repetitive friction.


Treatment

Rest and apply cold therapy if it is acute or painful. Use a compression bandage to help reduce swelling.

A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. Ultrasound therapy may be used to help reduce pain and inflammation. In more severe cases the bursa can be aspirated, where a needle is inserted to suck out the fluid, although it is possible the bursa will return. Bursitis usually dies down after a week or so if it is left to recover.

Related articles

  • Wrist tendonitis

    Wrist tendonitis is inflammation of tendons in the wrist. It is an overuse injury resulting in gradual onset pain and stiffness. In most cases it…

  • Rsi - wrist

    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,…

  • Wrist sprain

    A sprained wrist is an injury to any of the ligaments which connect bone to bone in the wrist. Wrist sprains are common in sport…

  • Students Elbow bursitis

    Elbow bursitis, also known as Students elbow or Olecranon bursitis, is swelling and inflammation of the bursa at the back of the elbow. Here we…

  • Cauliflower Ear

    Cauliflower ear is also known as hematoma auris. It is a deformity of the outer ear caused by repetitive friction or impact. It is common…

Scroll to Top