Wrist and Hand Pain

Stevens Point Orthopedics' specialists and surgeons are experts at treating wrist and hand pain.
Request An Appointment

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

TThis 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. Injuries to these ligaments 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 even 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 currently feels, and the 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 special tests that can uncover specific problems.

Based on the findings, we may recommend a cortisone injection as a clinical test and pain treatment. The numbing medicine in the injection helps us determine the source of your pain, 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 tears of the ligaments or muscles.

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

Treatment of wrist, hand, and finger pain is very specific to the diagnosis and severity of your symptoms.

Lifestyle modifications include resting your wrist, hand, or fingers, changing your daily activities to avoid painful situations, gentle motion exercises, and doing exercises to strengthen weak muscles.
Medications can help with some conditions. Non-steroidal medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can relieve inflammation. If the inflammation is severe, a short burst of a steroid medication may be an option. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also help control pain.
Cortisone injections target a specific location using a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Numbing medications in the injection help us know if the spot injected is the source of your pain.
Physical or occupational therapy focuses on getting your wrist, hand, or finger muscles and joints to properly work together as you grip and use your hands. Physical therapists can identify and address muscle imbalances through corrective exercises. They may give you a series of 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

Our Experts Are Ready To Help.