Wrist Pain

Overview of Wrist Pain

Two common causes of wrist pain are carpel tunnel syndrome and wrist tendonitis. Both problems are considered to be overuse injuries. They are most common in people who spend a lot of time doing activities that require pinching or gripping with the wrist bent. A lot of time at a computer keyboard or hobbies like needlework, tennis or music can bring on the symptoms.


Signs & Symptoms

Wrist Tendonitis

Symptoms usually start with discomfort in the wrist or forearm with activity. The pain is usually described as aching but can sometimes be sharp. Pain can increase to the point where it is constant and present at nighttime.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel problems are classically described as a numbness or tingling in the thumb, pointer finger and middle finger sometimes accompanied by pain in the wrist. These symptoms are typically worsened by activity.


Prevention & Treatment

Decreasing the activity that caused the problem will help to relieve the symptoms. Either a period of strict rest or taking more frequent breaks may help. Changing how the wrist and hand are used may also help. For instance, using an ergonomic keyboard and using a track ball instead of a mouse.

A wrist splint that holds the wrist in a neutral position may help to decrease the symptoms. Ice and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help with pain.

In some cases, physical therapy or cortisone injections may be warranted. If symptoms are not relieved by conservative measures, sometimes referral to a hand surgeon may be needed.


How We Can Help

  • If you would like to be seen by our medical staff, please contact our Appointment Desk to schedule an appointment.
  • Also, our Advice Nurse service is available at no charge for all UC Davis students to discuss health concerns and the need for medical care.