Wrist pain can be caused by disease or injury affecting any aspect of the wrist joint, including the bones, ligaments, and connective tissue surrounding the area. Joint pain is medically known as arthralgia. Pain is a feature of joint inflammation (arthritis) that may occur in the wrist. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types of arthritis to occur in the wrist. Repetitive-motion injuries can cause pain in the wrist and hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an impingement on the median nerve in the area of the wrist that can cause numbness, tingling, and eventually pain or cramping in the hand. Trauma or injuries such as strains and sprains can also cause wrist pain. De Quervain's disease is an inflammation of the tendons that begins in the thumb and extends to the wrist; this condition is another potential cause of wrist pain. Tumors of the bones or other structures in the hand are a very rare cause of wrist pain.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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Causes of Wrist Pain
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...
Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures)
A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as: compressed, open, stress, greenstick,...
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are...
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which irritation of the wrist's median nerve causes tingling and numbness of the thumb,...
Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth,...
DeQuervain's tenosynovitis is inflammation of the tendon on the side of the wrist at the base of the thumb. DeQuervain's...
A ganglion is a fluid-filled cyst that forms from the joint or tendon lining. Ganglia are most frequently found in the ankles and...
Gout (Gouty Arthritis)
Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and...
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also...
Pseudogout, a form of arthritis, results when deposits of crystals collect in and around the joints. Symptoms of pseudogout...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints,...
Septic arthritis, or infectious arthritis, is infection of one or more joints by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms and signs...
Sprains and Strains
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Other Causes of Wrist Pain
Examples of Medications for Wrist Pain
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Over-the-Counter Products
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