Wrist pain - causes and therapy

Wrist pain - causes and therapy

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What helps with wrist pain?

Wrist pain is a symptom picture that brings significant impairments in everyday life, since the hands perform an essential function in most everyday activities. The causes of pain in the wrist area are varied and often difficult to determine. Possible causes and approaches for the treatment of wrist pain are listed below.

Wrist pain - a brief overview

Wrist pain can be of various types. This overview provides a first impression of the symptoms:

  • Symptoms: Pain in the wrist area that can radiate into the hand or arm as well as pulling from the hand or arm into the wrist.
  • Possible causes: Carpal tunnel syndrome, compression of the Ulnaris nerve (Loge de Guyon syndrome), osteoarthritis of the thumb saddle joint (rhizarthrosis), tendonitis, mouse arm, necrosis of individual carpal bones, systemic diseases.
  • Therapeutic approaches: Operations, physiotherapy, acupuncture, manual procedures, osteopathy.
  • Naturopathy: Homeopathy, Schüßler Salts.


Wrist pain describes discomfort in the wrist area. The pain can radiate from the wrist into the hand or arm or vice versa from hand or arm to the wrist.


In summary, it can be said that the functionality of the wrist must be taken into account during diagnosis and treatment. For example, in the context of the patient's medical history, questions should be asked about both previous illnesses and the activities of everyday life. You will then find an overview of the possible causes of wrist pain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The most well-known disease on the wrist is the carpal tunnel syndrome. The complaints that appear on the inside of the thumb are due to compression in the carpal tunnel in the course of the median nerve, an anatomical structure that is formed from the bones and ligaments of the wrist. Since it is a nerve irritation, pain and discomfort (for example, falling asleep in the hands) typically occur in its area of ​​coverage and course. Later, atrophy of the ball of the thumb may occur and the grip on the affected hand may be lost.

Loge de Guyon syndrome

Similar to the carpal tunnel syndrome on the inside of the thumb, compression of the ulnar nerve in the area of ​​the wrist (in the "Loge de Guyon") leads to pain and sensation disorders on the little finger side. In the further course of this clinical picture, also known as Loge de Guyon syndrome, there is atrophy of the hand and finger muscles. Possible causes of the Loge-de-Guyon syndrome are long-term, everyday-related compressions (e.g. being supported on a walker), a ganglion (a benign tumor in the joint capsule) in the area of ​​the wrists as well as breaks in the spokes or carpal bones.


Since a large number of tendons run between the arm and the fingers over the wrist, a particularly high number of tendon sheaths can be found in the area of ​​the wrist. They reduce the friction caused by the sliding of the tendon and protect it. Tendon vaginitis (tendovaginitis de Quervain) manifests itself in very pronounced, stinging or pulling pain, which can manifest itself in both the wrist and the forearm. Tendonitis is often the result of an overload.


It should also be mentioned that necrosis (death) of individual carpal bones can lead to wrist pain. Examples of this include Preiser disease and lunate malacia. If the moon leg (Os Lunatum) dies, there is a disturbance in the transmission of power, especially in the proximal wrist, since the moon leg is connected to both the spoke and the ulna. The disintegration of the moon leg is accompanied by pain, loss of strength and restricted movement.

Systemic diseases

Systemic diseases can also be considered as the cause. These are symptoms that affect the entire organ system, such as the blood, the central nervous system or the entire musculature. If changes in the bones, muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments occur as a result of such diseases, this can also be the cause of pain in the wrist area.

Osteoarthritis of the thumb saddle joint (rhizarthrosis)

Another cause of pain in the wrist area can also be arthrosis of the thumb saddle joint, the so-called rhizarthrosis. The pain in the area of ​​the thumb is dependent on the load. As a result of the reduced stress to avoid pain, the thumb muscles as well as the ligaments and bones are weakened. A typical complication in the course of the joint of the thumb saddle joint is the sliding of the first metacarpal in the direction of the spoke.

Anatomy of the wrist

A complex anatomical structure, both of the bones and the surrounding soft tissues, is necessary to ensure the large range of movement of the wrist and thus the entire hand. The bones can be divided into two joints: distal wrist and proximal wrist. The proximal wrist is formed by the bones of the forearm (ulna and spoke) and three bones of the first row of the carpal bones. The distal wrist divides the eight carpal bones into an upper and lower row. The very unstable bony structure of the wrist places high demands on the surrounding ligaments, bursa, tendons, nerves and on the hand muscles.

Therapeutic approaches

Often, for example, if the carpal tunnel syndrome or ulnar groove syndrome is severe, there is no way around an operation. Once the cause of the pain in the area of ​​the wrist has been found and treated, physiotherapy can counteract the recurrence of the symptoms. Acupuncture can also be used to support wrist pain treatment. In addition, the manual procedures (e.g. osteopathy) offer promising approaches for the treatment of the causes of pain.

Naturopathic approaches

In addition, homeopathic medicinal products and Schüßler salts are also used more frequently in naturopathy as part of the therapy. (ps, vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Assmus H. et al .: Diagnostics and therapy of carpal tunnel syndrome, S3 guideline, German Society for Hand Surgery, (accessed August 22, 2019), AWMF
  • David R. Steinberg: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, MSD Manual, (accessed August 22, 2019), MSD
  • Assmus H. et al .: Diagnostics and therapy of cubital tunnel syndrome (KUTS), S3 guideline, German Society for Hand Surgery, (accessed 22.08.2019), AWMF
  • Apostolos Kontzias: Osteoarthritis, MSD Manual, (accessed 08/22/2019), MSD

Video: Wrist Pain Relief - Ask Doctor Jo (October 2022).