Wrist and hand injuries are usually either sudden onset caused by a traumatic fall or twisting, or they are gradual onset overuse injuries or repetitive strain injuries. Wrist pain that comes on gradually is often referred to as repetitive strain injury or RSI. It usually involves inflammation or degeneration of the tendons in the wrist.
The most common cause of thumb and finger pain is damaged or inflamed ligaments and tendons due to accidents, sports injury, or overuse.
- Swelling and or bruising
- Symptoms worse at night
- Pain radiates into the thumb and forefingers
- Tingling/ numbness/ burning sensations
- Pain bending the finger
- Difficulty gripping
- Reduced movement in the wrist
- Numbness in the little finger/ ring finger
- Pain in the finger
- Pain in the hand
A broken wrist is a general term that can describe several specific wrist fractures. A scaphoid fracture, a Colles’ fracture, and a fracture to the hook of the hamate bone are the most common wrist fractures. Symptoms will include sudden pain and swelling. Immediate first aid should be undertaken and, if a fracture is suspected, seek medical attention immediately.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common causes of wrist pain. Symptoms include a dull ache in the wrist and forearm with pain that may radiate into the hand and fingers. The pain is often worse at night.
Trigger finger occurs when the tendons in the finger become inflamed and thickened. This prevents them from moving properly, so they contract, sometimes suddenly causing the finger to snap in a bent position. Mallet finger occurs when the patient is unable to straighten the tip of the finger without assistance. Pain is felt on the back of the finger where injury to a finger tendon has occurred. A sprained finger is one of the more common hand injuries in contact sports and results in damage to any of the ligaments in the finger, which attach bone to bone. Sprained fingers are often not serious and respond well to a finger taping technique that protects and aids healing.
A sprained wrist is a tear of any of the ligaments in the wrist which attach bone to bone. The usual cause is a fall onto an outstretched arm. Symptoms will include pain in the wrist at the time of injury and swelling, which is likely to come on very quickly.
Many people use the term wrist strain to describe any pain in the wrist area that is not a fracture. A sprained wrist is an injury to a tendon in the wrist that can be sudden onset or gradual.
Wrist tendonitis is inflammation or sometimes degeneration of the tendons in the wrist, which attach muscle to bone. They become inflamed and painful through overuse.
The most common cause of thumb pain in sports is a thumb sprain. Often the thumb is bent backward in rugby or similar contact sports, causing damage to the ligaments at the base of the thumb and resulting in thumb joint pain. Another common cause of thumb pain is trigger thumb. A trigger thumb is a hand injury that occurs when the thumb gets stuck in a bent position due to an inflamed tendon thickening.
Getting a Diagnosis for your Hand & Wrist Pain
If you have tingling, numbness, or pain in your hand or wrist, see a doctor. He or she will take your medical history, examine you, and possibly perform tests. These may include X-rays, imaging scans, or blood tests. After the examination, the pain management doctors and pain management professionals at Colorado Injury and Pain Specialists will clearly explain to you the condition, possible sources of your pain, and which pain treatment will help alleviate your pain, along with possible courses of action and next steps.
Our Medical Providers will help determine the best course of action to help you with your hand or wrist pain.