Wrist pain is more complex. It is usually divided into conditions that cause pain on the radial side of the wrist, i.e. nearer the thumb, and those that cause pain on the ulnar side of the wrist, i.e nearer the little finger.
Radial-sided wrist pain
Radial-sided wrist pain can be caused by an injury to an important ligament called the scapholunate ligament. This ligament helps two important bones of the wrist joint, namely the scaphoid and the lunate, move in unison. When this ligament is injured, these bones no longer move in tandem, thus leading to pain. This would be aggravated by motion and lead to accelerated arthritis in the wrist, which in turn, manifests as stiffness and poor grip strength.
In addition, women who are in the perinatal period also belong to a unique population who can suffer from a tendon condition called De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. It is a condition in which one feels pain over the wrist joint near the base of the thumb. It begins as an aching sensation initially and progresses to a point when any movement of the wrist or thumb produces sharp pain in the affected area. That area of the wrist may become swollen at times. Often, nursing mothers affected for the period that they are caring for their newborns. This is due to poor ergonomics, or by the hormonal changes that affect their tissues.
Ulnar sided wrist pain
Ulnar sided wrist pain is common in a patient who has sustained a twisting injury or a fall on an outstretched hand. This is usually due to a tear of a ligamentous structure called the “triangular fibrocartilaginous complex”, which stabilizes the wrist joint. Patients with this problem can experience pain in their wrists associated with instability and diminished grip strength. Like the radial side of the wrist, tendons on the side of the wrist can also suffer from inflammation which causes pain and is usually caused by overuse.