We use our wrists for a lot of activities, from typing, to moving hangers, to playing sports. And because we use them so much, it can be easy to injure the muscles, ligaments, or nerves in these vital regions, which can lead to wrist pain.
If you’re suffering from wrist pain, there’s some good news. You may be able to treat your injury without resorting to surgery. At Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, Robert Douglas Bostick III, MD, is an expert in treating wrist pain. In this blog, he explains what can cause wrist pain and discusses some nonsurgical ways it can be treated.
What causes wrist pain?
The wrist joints connect the hands and forearms, and they contain many small bones, tendons, nerves, and ligaments. These structures allow you to move, bend, and rotate your wrist joints.
Unfortunately, because of their complexity and how much they’re used, they can be very susceptible to injury. Wrist pain may occur suddenly after an injury, or it may come on gradually and worsen over time. Furthermore, other symptoms may occur alongside the pain depending on the cause, such as:
- Trouble with movement
There can be a variety of causes of wrist pain, such as the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ganglion cysts
- Fractures or sprains
The key to treating wrist pain is diagnosing the cause. If the cause is minor, the wrist pain may go away with home treatment and rest. However, if the wrist pain persists and interferes with normal activities, you should seek expert treatment.
When to see a doctor for wrist pain
There are many potential causes for wrist pain, so it may be hard to determine when to get medical treatment. If the wrist pain is minor, you can try relieving it with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. And, if it goes away in a few days, you should be fine.
However, if you've tried home treatments without significant relief, you should contact our team for an appointment. Furthermore, if you’ve suffered a serious injury, you should seek immediate treatment. If you’re not sure what to do, call our office or go to your nearest urgent care center or emergency room.
When you come to our office, we can evaluate your wrist joint and provide X-rays and other diagnostic tests to determine the extent of the damage and design a treatment plan.
Three options for nonsurgical relief
In many cases, we can treat wrist pain without surgery. Three nonsurgical options Dr. Bostick often recommends are the following:
1. R.I.C.E. method
R.I.C.E. stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and this treatment is often crucial in treating wrist pain. Resting the joint for a day or two can help prevent the wrist from suffering further damage. Applying ice can help reduce discomfort, swelling, and inflammation in the joint. Using a compression bandage, such as an elastic wrap or splint, can help stabilize the wrist and control swelling. And keeping the wrist elevated can help keep down swelling.
2. Physical therapy
Most causes of wrist pain are responsive to physical therapy and wrist stretches or exercises. With physical therapy, a physical therapist evaluates your wrist and designs a plan to treat your injury and pain.
Stretching the wrist joint can help reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. This, in turn, can help reduce pain and spur healing. A physical therapy plan may last weeks or months depending on the cause.
3. Steroid injections
If more conservative treatments haven't relieved your wrist pain, Dr. Bostick may recommend getting steroid injections. A steroid injection is minimally invasive and can last for months. These injections can be especially helpful if the pain is keeping you from undergoing physical therapy.
Other nonsurgical options
Other options for relieving pain may include taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or using wrist splints. Furthermore, Dr. Bostick may recommend getting platelet-rich plasma injections.
Platelets, which are in your blood, contain powerful healing substances. For treatment, Dr. Bostick draws some of your blood, places it in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the rest of the components in your blood, and injects the resulting solution into your wrist to spur healing and tissue regeneration.
If you have wrist pain, Dr. Bostick can help. To learn more, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today.