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Left Wrist Pain

Bidisha Mukherjee Apr 16, 2019
Sometimes, pain on left wrist can be so severe that it badly affects the functioning of the hand. Read on to gather more information about the causes and treatment.
The structure of our wrist joints is strong and balanced which enables us to carry out innumerable tasks using the hands in our day-to-day life. Moreover, the joints are quite flexible and can be stretched in the upward direction, bent downwards and moved from one side to another with ease.
In most cases, the wrist pain is accompanied by swelling, numbness and tingling which get extended to the palm, thumb and fingers. As a result, the joint tends to become stiff and its normal movements get disrupted.

Causes

Wrist pain can be acute or chronic. An acute pain is triggered by wrist injuries while a chronic pain is a sign of underlying disorder. Here are the main causes -

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The wrist joint consists of 8 wrist bones also known as carpal bones, a complex web of nerves and ligaments. The wrist bones create the carpal tunnel through which the median nerve pass. If this nerve gets compressed, then it gives rise to wrist and thumb pain. The nerve compression happens due to repetitive movements of the wrist.
It is commonly found in people who use their left hand repeatedly for writing, painting or sewing. Those who are left-handed and play sports like tennis, handball are prone to this problem. Underlying health conditions like obesity, pregnancy, menopause, diabetes and underactive thyroid can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

DeQuervain's Tendonitis

This condition is characterized by inflammation of the tendons that are present near the thumb. It occurs due to repetition of one single wrist movement several times over a period of time. As the tissues get strained, any movement of the wrist joint irritates the tendons and puts pressure on the wrist.
Many golfers and guitarists develop tendonitis. This is because golfers have to turn their wrist repeatedly to swing a golf club whereas, guitarists move their left hand fingers to press the guitar strings.

Trauma

Wrist joint suffers injury frequently. For instance, when you try to cushion a bad fall, you stretch hands in order to prevent injury to the body. As a result, a wrist bone may get fractured. This can be identified with misshapen joint and inability to move the joint and fingers. Abnormal twisting of the joint can cause ligament sprain, nerve strain, etc.

Other Causes

Wrist joint pain and swelling are symptoms of arthritis. The lining of the joint is made of cartilage which is damaged or worn out because of the disease and gives joint pain.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the common forms of arthritis that affect the wrist. Gout is a health condition where a large amount of uric acid get deposited at the wrist joints and makes them painful.

Treatment

The diagnosis involves studying the medical history of the patient and physical examination of the affected part. Depending on the condition of the joint, doctors recommend for laboratory tests like X-rays and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Initially, wrist joint should be given proper rest. Application of ice can help to bring down swelling and pain.
Medicines like painkillers and corticosteroid injections are prescribed to manage severe form of pain. Bone fracture is treated by using a cast for 6-8 weeks so that the bones can be aligned properly. For carpal tunnel syndrome, doctors advise the patients to wear splints in order to immobilize the joint.
Physical therapy is recommended for arthritic patients. If all these non surgical options fail to show any improvement in the condition, then surgery is the only option to repair any major damage in the structural components of the wrist.
Prevention of this condition is possible with the help of regular wrist exercises. These exercises add strength and flexibility to the muscles and tendons present in this area and protect them from injury. Those who are into repetitive activity should take frequent breaks so that excessive stress and strain on the wrist can be avoided.