Wrist and Hand Pain

Stevens Point Orthopedics' specialists and surgeons are experts at treating wrist and hand pain.
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You demand a lot of your wrist, hand, and fingers, from getting ready in the morning to feeding yourself, typing and writing.

The wrist and hand are complex structures, consisting of:
• Bones;
• The joints between them;
• The ligaments that keep them stable; and
• The muscles that generate strength and motion.

Overuse, traumatic injury, or natural changes can cause wrist and hand problems.

Suffering from wrist and hand pain? Contact us to learn about treatment options.

How Your Hand and Wrist Works

Shoulder pain anatomy

This structure has three parts: the fingers, the hand, and the wrist. Each finger is made up of three bones, except the thumb, which has two.

Five metacarpal bones make up the hand. The wrist consists of eight small bones, collectively called the carpal bones. The forearm bones, radius and ulna connect to the carpals, creating the wrist joint.

The wrist has multiple ligaments, connecting each of the carpal bones to each other and to the forearm and fingers. Bones are connected to other bones by ligaments, which help provide stability. Ligaments injuries can cause pain and instability in the hand or wrist.

Within the hand, many muscles help move each finger. Some muscles have tendons that travel across the wrist and run through a bony tunnel called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is covered by soft tissue which can trap inflammation over the tendons and cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the hand and fingers.

Evaluating Hand and Wrist Pain

Evaluating wrist, hand, and finger pain starts with you giving us a history of your problem: when and how it started, how it feels, and treatments you have tried.

We also ask about other medical conditions that may contribute to your pain, and do a physical exam to test your wrist and hand structures. We check your range of motion and strength, and do tests that can uncover specific problems.

Based on the findings, we may recommend a cortisone injection as a clinical test and pain treatment. The injection’s numbing medicine helps us determine your pain source, while the cortisone can provide pain relief.

Sometimes we order X-rays or MRIs to visualize your bones and soft tissues. X-rays can show fractures, spurs, and changes from arthritis. MRIs can show more bone detail, as well as soft-tissue damage like ligament or muscle tears.

Whatever the cause of your hand and wrist pain, we are dedicated to helping you find the best treatment. Request an appointment today.

Causes of Hand and Wrist Pain

  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Instability
  • Weakness
  • Inflammation
  • Nerve problems
  • Less common causes – infection or tumors

Treating Hand and Wrist Pain

Treating wrist, hand, and finger pain depends on the diagnosis and severity of your symptoms.

Lifestyle modifications include resting your wrist, hand, or fingers, changing daily activities to avoid painful situations, gentle motion exercises, and exercises to strengthen weak muscles.
Medications can help with some conditions. Non-steroidal medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can relieve inflammation. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also help control pain. For severe inflammation, a short burst of steroid medication may be an option.
Cortisone injections target a specific location using a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. The injection’s numbing medications help us know if the spot injected is your pain source.
Physical or occupational therapy focuses on getting your wrist, hand, or finger muscles and joints to work together as you grip and use your hands. Physical therapists can identify and address muscle imbalances through corrective exercises. They may give you take-home exercises to help return you to regular activities pain-free.
Braces can help with a variety of conditions by stabilizing the wrist or thumb.
Surgery may be an option for certain wrist, hand, or finger conditions if all other treatment options have been exhausted. Although many surgeries require traditional open surgery, some conditions may be treated with small incisions using a special camera to see inside the body (arthroscopy).

More About Hand and Wrist Surgery

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