Wrist Pain Conditions and Treatments


Reaching, grabbing and even waving are simple activities that many take for granted. These everyday tasks can feel monumental for individuals suffering from pain, injury or other conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. The hand, wrist and shoulder doctors at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester can help if you're suffering from joint pain.

If you’re struggling with joint pain, visit our orthopedic resources page to try one of our free joint pain quizzes. There you will also find helpful articles on joint care and pain relief. Our physician finder can connect with our experienced health professionals if you need more personalized care.

Specialized Orthopedic Care for Arm, Shoulder, Hand and Wrist Pain

Evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of the arm, hand and wrist require a particular skill set.

At Saint Vincent Hospital, our arm, hand and wrist specialists are fully prepared to make a thorough and accurate diagnosis. The entire staff at the Center for Musculoskeletal Services works together to ensure that the recovery process is as efficient as possible.

    therapist helping elderly woman lift weights

Saint Vincent Hospital offers various treatments for the following conditions:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fractures, dislocations and subluxations
  • Impingement syndromes of the shoulder, elbow and wrist
  • Shoulder instability
  • Overuse and traumatic injuries to the upper extremity and hand
  • Rotator cuff tears

We start each treatment with advanced imaging to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Then, our team of experienced orthopedic doctors and staff will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan. Our goal is to treat your symptoms as conservatively as possible. We offer nonsurgical options as our first line of treatment, including pain management and physical therapy.

When medications and nonsurgical approaches do not provide the relief needed, rest assured that our orthopedic surgeons have the experience to perform minimally invasive procedures.

Saint Vincent Hospital offers a full continuum of orthopedic care from diagnosis to rehabilitation. If you have recently received treatment for an orthopedic condition, our comprehensive rehabilitation program can focus on your specific recovery needs. Learn more about how our advanced rehabilitation care can help restore your mobility here.

What Are the Five Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

therapist massaging hand

The carpal tunnel is a narrow and rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and the tendons that bend the fingers. A compressed median nerve causes numbness, weakness, or pain in the hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel symptoms usually start gradually and often first appear in one or both hands at night.

The following are symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome that may come and go depending on the severity of the condition:

  • Burning, numbness, pain and tingling in one or both hands, primarily in the thumb and index, middle and ring fingers
  • Pain and tingling sensation that travels up the forearm toward the shoulder
  • Occasional shock-like sensations that radiate throughout the hand and fingers
  • Difficulty in performing specific movements, such as buttoning clothes and making a fist
  • Problems with gripping objects with one or both hands

What Will Happen If Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is Not Treated?

People with carpal tunnel syndrome need to be evaluated and diagnosed early on to slow down or stop the progression of the disease. Without some form of treatment, the condition will worsen over time.

Nonsurgical carpal tunnel treatment options include:

  • Bracing or splinting
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Making changes to your worksite or workstation
  • Nerve gliding exercises to help the median nerve move more freely within the confines of the carpal tunnel
  • Steroid injections, such as corticosteroid or cortisone

Hand and wrist doctors perform carpal tunnel release if conservative approaches and medications fail to treat the symptoms.

Surgical carpal tunnel treatment options include:

  • Open carpal tunnel release – surgeons make a small incision in the palm of your hand to look inside your hand and wrist. The procedure increases the tunnel's size and decreases pressure on the median nerve.
  • Endoscopic carpal tunnel release - small incisions are made, called portals, so surgeons can insert a miniature camera attached to an endoscope inside your hand and wrist to divide the roof of the carpal tunnel, similar to the open carpal tunnel release procedure.

How Do I Know If My Wrist Pain Is Serious?

There are many causes of wrist pain or discomfort, including carpal tunnel syndrome, injury and rheumatoid arthritis. The following self-care tips can help soothe your wrist pain:

  • Rest the affected wrist and keep it elevated above your heart level.
  • Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas on your wrist for up to 20 minutes every two to three hours. Avoid using heat packs or having hot baths for the first few hours following an injury.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Do not take ibuprofen in the first 48 hours after an injury.
  • Cut down on activities causing the pain, such as typing or playing an instrument. If you must type, use a soft pad to support your wrist.
  • Wear braces or splints to support your wrist, especially at night.

Consult a healthcare provider if you have the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain
  • Snap, grinding or popping noise when the injury occurred
  • Inability to move your wrist and carry objects
  • A deformed joint or bluish hand or fingers
  • Significant bleeding in the affected area
  • Fever over 100°F (37.7°C)
  • Rash
  • Swelling and redness accompanied by infection
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in the wrist, hand or fingers
  • Muscle loss in the wrist, hand or fingers
  • Pain that won't subside even with self-care treatments for two weeks

Insurances Accepted at Saint Vincent Hospital

We offer various insurance plans and flexible payment plans at Saint Vincent Hospital, so you can get the quality care you need without delay. Let our dedicated staff help put your mind at ease.

Call 866-494-3627 or visit our financial resources page. If you have specific questions about your coverage, you may contact your insurance provider directly.

Find a Doctor in Worcester

Are you experiencing pain or discomfort from an undiagnosed condition or injury? Saint Vincent Hospital is an acute care hospital that provides general and tertiary medical services to the Central Massachusetts community.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a joint condition, complete this form or call 844-367-0414 to request a referral to our orthopedic doctors today. Saint Vincent Hospital is here for you.

If it's an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Please do not delay care.

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