Wrists and hands are important parts of the body. They allow us to interact and manipulate our environment. Unfortunately, wrist and hand pain are common complaints, and can seriously affect our way of life.
Because of the complexity of the tasks that can be performed by our wrists and hands, the internal structure is very complex, with multiple tendons, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, bones and joints. This means that wrist and hand pain can sometimes be very difficult to diagnose and treat.
Broadly, hand and wrist pain can stem from injury or non-injury causes. Our hands are frequently first to encounter the environment, putting them at a higher risk for injury.
Injuries to the hand and wrist include:
Non-injury causes of hand and wrist pain generally stem from overuse, affecting mainly tendons and joints. Overuse results in wearing out of the joints and tendons and can precipitate swelling. This causes pain, and sometimes the swelling can result in compression of other structures nearby.
Some examples of overuse include:
In addition to pain, patients with problems of the hand and wrist often complain of other symptoms.
Your doctor will conduct a medical interview, where he/she will pick up clues to the underlying condition. He will then perform a focused examination of the affected part and associated areas. This may often include an examination of the neck as well.
Based on the information gained during this process, the doctor may offer you radiological investigations such as plain X-rays. These are used mainly to diagnose problems with bones and joints. An MRI scan may also be necessary if the underlying problem is one of soft tissues such as tendons, ligaments or nerves.
In general, there are non-surgical and surgical treatment options available for hand and wrist conditions. These will be carefully curated to treat your underlying problem.
Such treatments may include: