A number of people, at some points of their lives, experience wrist pain; it may be for a short time, while others, longer-lasting. Wrist pain, undoubtedly, is accompanied by much discomfort, affecting one`s daily activities such as eating, texting, writing, and doing chores.
What Causes Wrist Pain?
The wrists could develop osteoarthritis, and it comes with pain and inflammation of the joints, as a result of worn down synovial tissue after years of wear and tear, or rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy organs or tissues, within the wrist in this case.
Osteoarthritis usually affects older persons, whereas rheumatoid arthritis could affect persons of any age. Arthritis-caused wrist pain is experienced throughout one`s life, and may only be managed, not actually treated.
Tendonitis occurs when tendons within the wrist become inflamed, or develop microscopic tears that leads to the accumulation of inflammatory mediators. Tendonitis even occurs at any joint location, not only the wrist.
You must have heard of sprains a number of times. They are a result of over-stretching of supporting ligaments of a joint, as it occurs during a fall when one instinctively reach out to cushion the impact. The wrist or other joints may be placed in an uncomfortable position in the process, leading to ligament damage.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when nerves within the wrist are compressed as a result of a thickened ligament. This larger ligament is usually not well placed, so it causes compression of the nerve, leading to pain, weakness or even loss of sensation. This can be a problem because the loss of sensation means that pressure reflex is gone, hence there`s an inability to judge weight when holding an object.
Obese people and people who have arthritis or perform repetitive work using the hands are at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ganglion cysts appear as soft lumps, usually on the outer side of the inner wrist. These may not cause any symptoms, however, if they compress nerves, pain ensues. Funnily, smaller cysts are more likely to cause pain than larger ones.
Repetitive Motion Syndrome
At the initial stage, this looks like mirror tendonitis, except that it is not restricted to inflammation of the tendons alone. The entire wrist and all associated structures may become inflamed, tender and painful, increasing the sensitivity of the surrounding nerves. Typing at the keyboard for hours each day is an activity that may cause repetitive motion syndrome, hence wrist pain.
This condition is one that is characterized by a build-up of uric acid in the body. Uric acid, under normal circumstances, is excreted in urine, however, when its production is too high, retention may occur.
The joints are one of the first locations where its retention is experienced. Hard lumps, known as uric acid crystals form there. This accumulation puts some amount of pressure on the nerves surrounding the joint and appears as hard calciferous-looking deposits.
Uric acid can accumulate in any joint, however, it frequently occurs in the wrists, ankles, and knees.
Symptoms of Wrist Pain
Wrist pain has various symptoms, depending on individuals. Some people experience symptoms before the actual pain, others don`t. Let us take a look at general symptoms.
Stiff and Swollen Fingers
This may happen due to active inflammatory processes, or blood circulation issues in the hand.
This is an inability to clench the fist or hold objects firmly. This is as a result of pain experienced, or inflammation which prevents a fluid range of motion.
This occurs as a result of nerve compression because circulation to the affected nerve is affected. Temporary loss of sensation and pain is usually experienced alongside.
Persistent pain may be experienced; it may sometimes occur as stabbing sensations, especially when there`s an attempt to flex the wrists.
Treating Wrist Pain
Treatment of wrist pain varies, depending on its cause. We will consider some common approaches to treating wrist pain in relation to its cause.
Wearing a wrist brace that keeps the wrist stationery helps to avoid overuse of the ligaments.
Hot Water Massage
Using a cloth and some hot water helps to avoid swelling and reduce pains too, to some extent.
Over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatory products go a long way in treating wrist pain. Anti-inflammatory corticosteroids and painkillers are commonly used to help treat the pain. Note that a long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications is not much of a good idea, because of their adverse effects.
Surgery is usually the last resort, one done if nothing else works. It may either help to repair the compressed nerve, or the enlarged ligament itself.
General Hand Facts
- 12.6% of men are left-handed, while only 9.9% of women are.
- One-third of all acute injuries seen in emergency rooms involve the upper extremities.
- One-fourth of athletic injuries involve the hand and wrist.
- Each hand has got at least 123 named ligaments, 29 major and minor bones, 29 major joints, 48 nerves and 30 named arteries, 34 muscles which move the fingers and thumb.
- About a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain is devoted to the muscles of the hands.
- The hand has been used as a symbol of protection since ancient times.
- Your fingernails grow about the same amount as the continents move every year.
- There are no muscles in the fingers. The muscles that move the fingers are located in the palm and up in the mid-forearm. These muscles are connected to the finger bones by tendons which pull and move the fingers like the strings of a marionette.
- It takes 6 months for fingernails to grow all the way from the root to the tip. Toenails take 2-3 times as long.
- The longest fingernails ever belonged to Shidhar Chillal. They were 20 feet, 2.25 inches! It took 48 years to grow them.
- Why is it that when the hand is kept wet, the skin of the palm wrinkles? It is because it is controlled by nerves. When the nerve which supplies feeling to an area of skin on the palm is cut, that area of skin does not only becomes numb, it loses its ability to wrinkle when wet. It the ability to sweat too.
- White children are four times more likely to be born with webbed fingers than black children are.
- Black children are ten times more likely to be born with extra fingers than white children are.
- The thumb is controlled by 9 individual muscles which are controlled by all 3 major hand nerves
- Fingers are never perfectly straight: usually, the index, ring and small finger each curve sideways, slightly toward the middle finger, and the middle finger may curve toward either side.
- The finger bones are straight on the back side but curved on the palm side. When the fingers are bent into a fist, the finger bones produce a shape similar to a circle in a square, round on the inside, square on the outside.
- Julius Caesar, during the Gallic wars, ordered that the thumbs of captured warriors amputated so that when they returned to their countries, they would serve as examples and be unable to bear arms again. This practice continued in a number of wars and in the slave trade.