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Wrist pain

What should you do if your wrist hurts?

All things considered, the wrist is the most complex joints in the human body. It plays the key role in facilitating the hand’s enormous range of movements.

In so doing, it is sometimes subjected to immense forces. In addition to precise movements, it also gives the hand stability and serves to transmit force.

When wrist pain cannot be directly attributed to a fall or a sprain, it is often the result of consequence of unidirectional and monotonous patterns of movement that result in overuse or undue strain.

Structure and function of the wrist 

The wrist joint is made up of several partial joints with over 20 different individual joint sections, 8 carpal bones and numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons and cartilage structures. It connects the radius in the forearm to the metacarpals through the 8 carpal bones. 

The wrist allows the hand to move on two axes. In addition to bending and stretching (e.g. when opening and closing the hand), it is also capable of rotational movement (e.g. when waving or turning up the heating). 

The carpal tunnel is the primary passageway for the nerves and tendons from the forearm into the hand. This bony groove is bounded by tight connective tissue on the (palmar) side of the palm. The nerves, tendon sheathes and tendons are packed very tightly together. This turns the already narrow passage into the eye of a needle when symptoms such as inflammation or swelling are present.

Possible causes of wrist pain 

The most common causes of wrist pain are, of course, acute injuries such as bone fractures and ligament injuries as a result of falls, sprains, twists, dislocations or strains. 

When there is wrist pain, the cause could be the consequences of overuse or undue strain. This includes arthrosis, tenosynovitis, narrowing of the carpal tunnel (carpal tunnel syndrome) or the ulnar canal, or irritation at the tendon insertion point, narrowing of an annular ligament or cysts (ganglion).

If the pain occurs in multiple joints in the body at the same time, this is called a systemic disease, e.g. a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Types and symptoms of wrist pain

The type of pain and accompanying symptoms can provide a first clue in terms of what the underlying cause might be. Pain is categorised as either temporal pain, acute pain or chronic pain. The pain can be stabbing, pulling, throbbing or dull. 

  • Wrist pain often occurs in connection with motion, after an instance of overuseor only where certain movements are involved.
  • In cases involving inflammation, the pain is often accompanied by swelling, redness or heat.
  • If the nerves are affected, tingling or numbness may occur alongside the pain.

The easiest way to narrow down the possible causes of wrist pain is to localise it.

The following overview shows different types of pain classified by their location. It is designed purely to provide guidance and an initial overview of possible causes. 

To make a reliable diagnosis and to avoid subsequent damage, you should consult a medical professional quickly once you notice pain and discomfort in your wrist.

Localisation: Where in the wrist does pain develop?

Treating wrist pain

The potential triggers of wrist pain can often be narrowed down, but it is essential to seek medical advice for an accurate sound diagnosis and recommendation regarding treatment options in any eventuality. This is especially true if there is no long-term improvement in your condition, or if the pain worsens. 

Every puncture wound or cut, no matter how small, should be examined by a qualified hand surgeon. This is because a tendon can still fully rupture (for example) after it has torn – even if there is no immediate loss of functionality. 

First steps in the event of wrist pain

Wrist pain often results from injuries, anatomical constriction of the wrist, signs of overuse and overstrain as well as rheumatic diseases. 

As a general rule, cold can have a positive effect on acute pain brought on by with swelling, inflammation and bruises; conversely, heat treatment can be more beneficial where chronic complaints, stiffness and tension are involved by leading to better blood circulation and loosening joints, thereby relieving pain.

For carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis , both applying cold treatment and anti-inflammatory compresses, and switching to an ergonomic mouse or keyboard, can also lead to pain relief. 

It is recommended to immobilise the wrist first in instances of entrapment syndrome or wrist overuse, Wrist orthoses are used for this purpose. In the case of an acute injury (stitches/penetration of the skin), contact a hand surgeon as soon as possible!

Treatment with medical products 

Orthoses are mainly used to stabilise and immobilise the wrist. Bandages are used when the wrist only needs to be supported and relieved from stress, but mobility must also be maintained as far as possible. The knitted fabric of the support compresses the tissue, which counteracts swelling and promotes pain-free recovery of mobility.

Relief and stabilisation: JuzoPro wrist orthoses 

Juzo Pro wrist orthoses guide, relieve and stabilise within the framework of the desired treatment. They guarantee the highest level of wearing comfort and functionality thanks to their high-quality, perfectly adapted materials. 

The JuzoPro Manu Xtec Palmar is used to immobilise the wrist while allowing the thumb and fingers to remain mobile. The wrist orthosis can be tailored to the patient’s individual physiology. Its open and lightweight design provides both exceptional wearing comfort and temperature regulation. 

The JuzoPro Palmar Xtec Digitus immobilises the wrist and fingers, but allows the thumb’s metacarpophalangeal joint to move freely. With its partly removable reinforcing elements, this wrist orthosis can be optimally adjusted to suit specific anatomical and therapeutic requirements.

The JuzoPro Palmar Xtec Rhizo immobilises both the wrist and the metacarpophalangeal and carpometacarpal joint of the thumb. but allows the fingers to remain mobile. With its individual adjustability and open design, the wrist orthosis offers equally high wearing comfort and temperature regulation. 

Compressive and mobilising: JuzoFlex wrist supports

Irritated, heavily strained or overloaded wrists are relieved and optimally protected by wrist supports. The compression counteracts swelling and muscular imbalances and stabilises tendons and ligaments, while maintaining the wrist’s and fingers’ freedom of movement to the greatest possible extent. Integrated silicone pads ensure even pressure distribution, relieve pressure-sensitive areas and provide a soothing massage-like effect that can reduce the likelihood of postoperative oedema, and thus improve joint mobility. 

The JuzoFlex Manu Xtra offers optimum support for stressed wrists through its combination of compression, effect of the pad and anatomically shaped stabilisation stay. A specially developed comfort knit ensures an excellent wearing comfort.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and lymphatic drainage

Therapeutic measures such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy are primarily used after operations and injuries and are used to restore and safeguard the full mobility of the wrist and hand. In addition to passive exercises, where the therapist performs the movements, in most cases you will also be shown suitable exercises you can do at home. Lymphatic drainage can help reduce swelling and stimulate the healing process.

Exercises for wrist pain

Many different exercises can help to combat wrist pain. However, these exercises should be chosen individually based on the specific trigger of the pain. 

For example, daily exercises with therapy clay can help individuals with arthrosis of the wrist (joint wear and tear) to relieve pain and maintain mobility.

Muscle contractions and trapped fasciae can also increase tension on the wrist. Regular stretching of the wrist and fingers can gradually relieve the tension in the forearm. 

Medication-based treatment

Anti-inflammatory tablets or ointments are used as painkillers to provide immediate relief from wrist pain. However, pain therapy should only be a temporary measure. To prevent chronic forms, it is important to not only treat the symptoms, but also determine and effectively treat the causes of pain. Medication can be used to suppress the immune system if the pain is being triggered by an immune response.

Surgical procedures

Surgery is often required immediately after an acute injury, such as fractured carpal bones, cuts that result in nerve or tendon damage or a ligament injury. However, it may also be necessary in cases involving constricted and compressed nerves and tendons in the wrist. A comprehensive treatment process that includes optimally coordinated orthopaedics, hand and trauma surgery and scar management products promotes the best possible treatment outcome. 

To ensure that no functional or movement restrictions linger following an operation, it is essential that the wound heals as well as possible. Treatment using compression garments helps to improve the structure and flexibility of the resulting scar. The seamless ScarPrime Seamless glove is available for post-operative care once the wound has healed, and the bespoke ScarComfort glove is the ideal choice for long-term care thereafter.

Another significant component of scar therapy is medical silicone in conjunction with compression garments. Silicone products provide a moist environment for the scar, which prevents it from drying out. The silicone keeps the scar soft and has a beneficial effect on scar tissue. There are two different Juzo silicone products to choose from for scar therapy: The Juzo ScarPad, a self-adhesive silicone sheet that can be individually cut to size and placed between the scar and the compression garment, and Juzo Silon®-TEX, a medical silicone layer on a textile base material, which is sewn directly into the compression garment.

In the healing phase, orthoses such as the JuzoPro Manu Xtec Palmar, the JuzoPro Palmar Xtec Digitus or the JuzoPro Palmar Xtec Rhizo can be used for immobilisation and relief of the surgical field.

A woman sits on the kitchen counter. She is wearing a scar thoracic care


With the right scar therapy, the appearance and function of many scars can be positively influenced.

A woman sits in a café. She is drinking a coffee and wearing an orthosis on her wrist.

Find out all there is to know about the causes, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as the process and options for treating it.