In most cases, hand and wrist pain occurs due to injury occurring from misuse or overuse.
These injuries can be as minor as strains (tearing a muscle) and sprains (tearing a ligament) or as major as fractured hand and wrists.
Whatever the case may be, these one-time injuries will often occur with some lingering pain. If one gets proper treatment and enough rest, the pain should gradually disappear.
A strain is what happens when someone tears a muscle. When someone instead tears their ligament, it’s called a sprain.
One can usually tell sprains/strains by their common symptoms — pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty using the hand and wrist.
The patient may also experience muscle spasms and cramping.
When these things happen, the pain often goes away after a period of 2 days to 2 weeks. However, if the pain lasts beyond 2 weeks or becomes unmanageably painful, it’s very important to see a doctor immediately.
When one of the bones which form the hand and wrist gets knocked out of place, that’s called a dislocated hand or wrist.
Patients can dislocate their wrists when subjected to sudden impacts like fall accidents or motor vehicle accidents.
If someone experiences extreme pain or if there is obvious distortion of the hand and wrist joint, seek immediate medical attention.
When one of the bones which form the hand or wrist break, that’s called a fracture.
Patients can fracture their hand or wrist due to sudden blows, like in contact sports, car accidents, or fall accidents.
Fractures are very dangerous if left untreated and could permanently disable a patient’s hand mobility. To prevent infection, seek immediate medical attention to treat the fracture.
Over time, as one uses (or misuses) their hand and wrist, damage forms gradually on a microscopic scale.
Examples of hand and wrist misuse are:
- Too many repetitive movements
- Awkwardly orienting the hand/wrist while doing everyday work
- Prolonged lifting, gripping, or pinching
If one isn’t careful, any of these actions could lead to a number of wear-and-tear injuries.
People who use their hands to do heavy striking movements, such as blacksmiths, fighters, and athletes are especially prone to wrist/hand wear-and-tear.
The movements don’t even need to be heavy – sometimes, repetitive movement is all it takes to put one at risk of wear-and-tear injury.
Chefs can get it from knife work and whisking, and drummers can get it from intense drumming.
As long as there’s prolonged, repetitive, or improper use, and not enough maintenance, the person can put themselves at risk of wear-and-tear injury.
Without consistent maintenance treatments (such as shockwave therapy), this wear and tear can take a toll on the hand and wrist.
It can cause not only short-term hand and wrist pain but also other long-term effects which may lead to even more pain.
A number of diseases (with varying degrees of pain) are known to cause hand and wrist pain, such as:
For most of these diseases, hand and wrist pain is an early symptom which can help the patient detect their presence before their symptoms worsen.
They usually manifest other symptoms as well, which allows a more accurate diagnosis of the problem.
There are also diseases that directly affect the hands and wrists, capable of virtually disabling function if left untreated, such as:
- Flexor/Extensor Tendonitis
- Flexor/Extensor Tendonosis
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Ganglion Cysts
These diseases can be extremely painful and should be treated as soon as possible. If symptoms point to a severe disease like the ones listed above, seek immediate medical attention.