Wrist pain can be caused by injuries, sudden impact, overuse, repetitive stress, and disease. Some of the most common causes of wrist pain include fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, ganglion cysts. Musicians, hairstylists, tennis players, and gymnasts are at an especially high risk of wrist pain due to the repetitive wrist movements required in these jobs. Some patients might experience wrist pain as a dull ache, and others could have sharper pain or a pins-and-needles sensation. Pregnant women, diabetes patients, those with gout, and obese individuals are especially likely to have pain in their wrists. Wrist pain can be evaluated by a primary care doctor, and patients may be referred to an orthopedist for specialist advice. To evaluate wrist pain, the doctor will begin by palpating the patient’s wrist to check for tenderness and swelling, and they will also look for signs of any deformities in the wrist. The patient may be asked to move their wrist in various directions, and grip strength and sensation will be assessed. Depending on the results of the physical exam, the patient may need to have x-rays, an ultrasound, or a CT or MRI scan.
The methods described below are frequently recommended in the treatment and prevention of wrist pain.
Wear Wrist Guards During Risky Physical Activities
Many wrist fractures and sprains happen during sports, including contact sports and activities that stress the wrist. For this reason, orthopedists routinely advise patients to wear wrist guards during risky physical activities. Wrist guards are highly recommended for football, rollerblading, and snowboarding. Gymnasts may also need to wear them for certain exercises or movements. The devices have a plastic piece with an inward curve. The plastic is placed on the inside of the wrist in the center, and it is covered by padding. If the wearer falls, the wrist guard prevents their hand from hitting the ground, and the plastic split reduces the amount of friction associated with the fall. It effectively prevents any weight from being placed on the hand or wrist. Wrist guards can be purchased over-the-counter, and they are sold in many sporting goods stores. When shopping for a wrist guard, patients will need to consider the size of their wrist and the sport they are playing. It may be helpful to consult with a physical therapist or an orthopedist to decide which wrist guard would be most appropriate for the patient’s needs. Although wrist guards are highly effective in preventing wrist injuries, they could increase an individual’s risk of forearm or shoulder injuries in some cases. Thus, patients should ensure they consult with a doctor about how to wear them properly and when they are truly necessary.
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