Tap to Read ➤

Wrist and Thumb Pain

Bhakti Satalkar Apr 23, 2019
Pain in the wrist and thumb can be caused due to a number of reasons. Given their location, they can affect most activities that we undertake, and that is why it is required that we look into the reasons of the same and understand the treatment forms. Read on to know more..
Our wrists and hands are made up of a complex structure of tendons, nerves and ligaments. When there is pain in these areas owing to a strain or something similar, it is seen to affect all the activities that we undertake.
A diagnosis needs to be carried out to find the exact cause of the problem--one of the main causes of this pain is overworking the wrists and thumbs. There are several conditions which can lead to this pain. Let us look through these in these sections.

Causes and Symptoms

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This is one of the most common causes of this form of pain. The person will suffer from burning, numbness or a tingling sensation in the palm, thumb, fingers, and wrist. Due to this condition, the muscles located in the fingers may become weak and make it difficult to grasp onto even light things.
If the condition is neglected, the pain may travel from the wrist to the elbow. A compression of the median nerve leads to pain in the thumb joint and swelling in the wrist and thumb--this is one of the most common causes of why this condition comes about.
People who do repetitive actions like typing on the keyboard for extended periods of time, playing racquetball, handball, or painting, knitting, and sewing are prone to developing this condition.

Ganglion Cysts

A ganglion cyst is formed from a joint capsule or tendon located under the skin. The cyst is normally visible as a swelling or soft tissue bump at the back of the hand around the wrist joint.
The causes of this condition are not known, but it is said to be caused in people who are very active. The cyst is easy to spot, and it becomes a matter of concern when there is pain radiating due to the presence of this cyst.


An injury in the wrist and thumb may also lead to pain. If bruising and swelling accompanies the joint pain--it is a sure sign of an injury. If a bone is broken, the most common sign to look for is the inability to move the wrist, thumb or hand, and a sharp radiating pain in and around the area. A sprain or strain can also lead to pain in this area.


In this condition, a person will suffer from stiffness and swelling along with thumb joint pain. There are different types of arthritis which may lead to different kinds of symptoms. Osteoarthritis is age related, though it may even be caused due to overuse of these muscles. In case both hands are affected, then it may be caused due to rheumatoid arthritis.

Dupuytren's Contracture

In this disorder, there is thickening of the skin in the fingers and palm. Due to this, nodules may be noticed in the palm and fingers. This disorder can also affect the small and ring fingers. Normally men (moreover, older men) are more prone to developing this disorder in comparison to women.

De Quervain's Tendinitis

This condition is brought on when the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated and/or constricted due to thickening. The pain worsens when the person does simple things like forming a fist, or gripping and grasping onto things.
This irritation causes the tendons to swell and makes it difficult for the hand to move thus giving rise to tendinitis. It can be caused due to the overuse of muscles or inflammatory arthritis. Middle aged women are more prone to developing this condition.


Different tests are undertaken to determine the cause of the pain. Depending on the diagnosis, the treatment is decided. Certain exercises are recommended for treating the specific condition that is causing the pain in the thumb and wrist, and certain measures are thereby recommended such that the onset of this condition can be prevented in the future.
It is important to attend to this pain immediately and have it looked at by a health care professional. Till you visit a professional, make sure you rest the affected area well enough so that the pain does not aggravate. Make sure that you do not undertake any exercise without the consent of a health care professional.