6 Possible Causes of Your Wrist Pain

Wrist pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including sprains, tendonitis, arthritis, and fractures. Others may require treatment, while others may heal with rest. It could also be a chronic problem that causes long-term pain in the wrist.

Wrist pain can be sharp, dull, achy, or even feel like pins and needles. When you bend your wrist forward, flex it backward, apply pressure to it, or rotate it to turn a doorknob, the pain on the top of your wrist may worsen.

Here are six possible causes of your wrist pain:

1. Wrist Sprain

Sprains are ligament injuries. Ligaments are tough connective tissues that regulate joint motion.

The ligaments that surround the wrist joint aid in hand stability. They also allow for controlled movements.

A sprain occurs when the wrist ligaments are stretched beyond their limits. Falling onto your hand is a common cause.

Wrist sprain symptoms include:

  • Burning or tingling sensations (called paresthesia)

  • Swelling around the joint

  • Bruising or discoloration

  • Pain with movement

2. Wrist Tendonitis

Tendons are thick bands of tissue that run across the wrist. They connect the forearm muscles to the hand and finger bones.

The flexor tendons on your palm side allow your fingers to grasp and grip objects. Extensor tendons on the top side of your hand aid in the straightening and releasing of your fingers.

When one or more of these tendons become inflamed, it is called wrist tendonitis. It causes:

  • Dull, aching pain

  • Sometimes, mild swelling or warmth

  • Morning stiffness

When moving their wrist, some people experience crepitus (popping).

The following are the most common causes of tendonitis-related wrist pain:

  • Sports that place repetitive stress on the wrist (golf, tennis)

  • Repetitive wrist motions (typing, working with machinery)

3. Wrist Tenosynovitis

Tenosynovitis is similar to tendonitis in that it causes damage and inflammation, but it affects the tendon sheath (a fluid-filled covering through which your tendons glide).

Tenosynovitis is characterized by the same symptoms as tendonitis.

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a type of injury that causes wrist pain on the thumb side that can spread up into the arm.

De Quervain's disease is most common in women aged 30 to 50. A repetitive motion, such as lifting a child, is frequently to blame.

4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by overuse of the wrist, particularly repetitive motions. This causes inflammation and scarring.

They have the potential to compress (pinch) a nerve that runs through the wrist joint. It's known as the median nerve. This condition causes pain that worsens at night, as well as numbness and tingling in the:

  • Index finger

  • Palms

  • Middle finger

  • Thumb

A common workplace injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.

5. Wrist Fracture

Wrist fractures are a common type of injury. It is more likely in people who have weak bones, such as those who have osteoporosis.

A scaphoid fracture is a common type of wrist fracture. The scaphoid bone is located on the thumb side of the wrist. When you fall and catch yourself on an outstretched hand, it is frequently broken.

Swelling, pain, and tenderness below the base of the thumb are symptoms of a scaphoid fracture. When you try to pinch or grasp something, the pain may worsen.

  1. Arthritis

Several types of arthritis can affect the wrist. They are as follows:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Inflammatory arthritis is characterized by joint damage and deterioration.

  • Osteoarthritis: It is less common. "Wear and tear" arthritis is caused by aging or injury.

  • Gout: Sharp crystals form in the joint fluid.


Although septic bacterial arthritis of the wrist is possible, it is uncommon. It happens when the wrist joint becomes infected.


When to See a Healthcare Provider

Certain symptoms and signs may point to a more serious cause of your wrist pain. Seek medical attention if you have:

  • Pain that persists for more than a few days

  • Impossibility of straightening or flexing the joint

  • a lack of ability to carry objects or use one's arm

  • Sleeping or sleeping pain

  • A twisted joint

  • Significant bruising or swelling around the joint or forearm

  • Infection symptoms (fever, redness, warmth)

  • Hand and/or wrist numbness or tingling