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Five Common Causes of Wrist Pain and Hand Pain

Dr Rachel Teoh, MBBS, Dip Fam Med, Dip Derm


The multiple functions of the hands are extremely important in our daily tasks and any deviation from normal function can be frustrating. There are many causes for wrist pain and hand pain. This article will focus on 5 common diagnoses.




Osteoarthritis Arthritis is a general term for inflammation of the joints. There are various types of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis. This often comes with ageing. It often causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the finger joints.




Inflammatory arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis are the two most common forms of inflammatory arthritis affecting the hands. It often cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the finger joints. The stiffness is usually worst in the morning. Bilateral symmetric involvement is a characteristic feature of RA, although this may be less apparent early in the disease.




Trigger finger (stenosing flexor tenosynovitis) Trigger finger is one of the most common causes of hand pain in adults. It is caused by inflamed tendon. The finger "locks" or "catches" in a bent position during an attempt in straightening a trigger finger. This condition keeps a finger from straightening normally. Trigger finger can also cause pain in the finger or palm.




Carpal tunnel syndrome Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common nerve entrapment disorder, caused by increased pressure and consequent compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. It usually causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and side of the ring finger. Patients often complain of pain that wakes them up at night. Numbness may involve the entire palm area in some cases due to variable nerve innervation or patient perception.




Ganglion cyst A ganglion cyst is a benign, fluid-filled swelling overlying a joint or tendon sheath. Although they are commonly found on the wrist, they can also arise from the fingers.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice and readers are advised to seek advice from me personally. This article was originally published in Dr Rachel's Blog.



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©2019 by MaNaDr. Last updated Jan 2019