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Wrist Pain in New Jersey

You may not pay much attention to your wrists until you notice pain and other symptoms. Wrist pain can be associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and stress injuries. If you live in New Jersey, the physical therapists of Performance Rehabilitation can help with your wrist pain at our facilities in Totowa and Lafayette Township.

What is Wrist Pain?

Many individuals often visit a physician with a complaint about wrist pain caused by a trauma injury such as a muscle strain, ligament sprain or bone fracture. However, wrist pain is frequently a result of chronic conditions, including:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis (either osteo or rheumatoid)
  • Repetitive stress
  • Radiating from cervical spine

Determining the cause of a patient’s wrist pain is often difficult, but essential in order to recommend the correct treatment to reduce discomfort and prevent additional damage to the joint.

What Causes Wrist Pain?

The wrist is a complex joint located just above each hand and has eight uniquely-shaped bones. These small bones form two rows and are supported with ligaments and tendons that are susceptible to damage from repetitive stresses or trauma. Injury to any part of the wrist’s tendons, muscles or bones leads to discomfort and makes it difficult to use the hand or wrist on a daily basis.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Repetitive stress injuries are caused by performing the same wrist movement frequently, such as turning a steering wheel constantly, playing a musical instrument or using a tennis racket to hit a ball. These repetitive actions can lead to inflammation of the sensitive tissues in the wrist joint, or cause a stress fracture, especially when someone performs these actions for long periods of time without resting. A common repetitive stress injury of the wrist joint is deQuervain’s disease, which has a symptom of constant pain at the base of the thumb.

Sudden Impacts

One of the most common wrist injuries occurs due to people falling on an outstretched hand (FOOSH), leading to fractures, strains and sprains. A frequent impact injury involves a fracture of the scaphoid bone that is located on the thumb side of the wrist, and is often difficult to diagnose despite x-ray images and may require a bone scan for accurate diagnosis.


Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can affect your wrists.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues, including both wrists.
  • Osteoarthritis is more likely to affect the wrist when it has had a previous injury that resulted in the degradation of cushioning material on the ends of the bones.

Other Diseases and Conditions

Other diseases and conditions that affect the wrist are:

  • Kienbock’s Disease usually affects young adults when the blood supply to a bone decreases, leading to a gradual collapse of a small bone in the wrist joint.
  • Ganglion Cysts – occasionally, someone may develop small or large soft tissue cysts in the area of the wrist that is opposite from the palm. Patients report that small ganglion cysts are more painful than larger ones.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – occurs due to increased pressure on the median nerve that is located inside the carpal tunnel of the wrist. Each wrist has a carpal tunnel passageway in the palm side.

What are the Symptoms of Wrist Pain?

Symptoms of inflammatory arthritis that can affect the wrist joint include:

  • Tenderness and warmth in the wrist joint.
  • Redness or swelling of the skin on the wrist.
  • Sharp and sudden pain.
  • Symptoms that go away and return at a later time.

Alternatively, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Tingling, pain or numbness that is frequently worse at night.
  • Swollen fingers.
  • Feeling as though the hands have fallen asleep.
  • Difficulty gripping objects or making a fist.

There are similarities between carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis of the wrists, including pain, swelling and difficulties gripping items. Anyone experiencing symptoms of red and swollen tissue while having a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit should seek medical attention immediately in case they have a serious condition such as infectious arthritis.

How is Wrist Pain Diagnosed?

  • X-rays
  • EMG or nerve conduction velocity examination
  • Conducting laboratory tests of blood and urine to check for gouty arthritis
  • Extracting fluid from the wrist joint to find calcium or crystals
  • Physical examination by your physical therapist

Your wrist pain may be caused by an injury, stress, overuse and/or other medical conditions, so you should be evaluated by one of our physical therapists. Contact Performance Rehabilitation to schedule a personal consultation at our Totowa and Lafayette Township office in New Jersey.