Riverside Therapeutics

Physiotherapy for Wrist Pain or Dysfunction

Wrist pain can be caused by a sprain, traumatic or overuse injury or due to a medical condition (for instance arthritis).

Some injuries are minor and heal quickly on their own, but other injuries can cause chronic pain or other symptoms (numbness or weakness) and require ongoing medical care.


Common causes of wrist pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome –Tendons (Flexors) and Nerves (Median Nerve) travel through a small bony tunnel in the wrist called “The Carpal Tunnel”. 

When muscles in the hand/forearm become irritated (for instance from repetitive strain), these tendons can become inflamed and swollen.  This leads to decreased space in the “carpal tunnel”, compressing the median nerve, causing numbness (usually in the thumb, middle and index fingers) and sometimes weakness in the hand.

People suffering from hormonal changes (for instance pregnancy), diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid gland imbalance, are at a higher risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis – This condition is an inflammation of the tendons on the side of the wrist at the base of the thumb.

Symptoms include pain and swelling or a sticking sensation at the base of the thumb when you move it.  Pain occurs mostly with activity requiring repetitive thumb or wrist movement (like gardening, playing golf or tennis).

Arthritis of the wrist or base of thumb (CMC joint) – General wear and tear over time (repetitive strain) can contribute to the development of degenerative arthritic changes and symptoms such as swelling, redness, loss of function and pain on the thumb-side of your hand or wrist.

Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex Tear (TFCC-tear) – The TFCC is a cartilage structure located on the little finger side of your wrist that cushions and stabilizes the small wrist bones in the wrist.

The TFCC keeps the forearm bones (radius and ulna) stable when grasping with the hand or when the forearm rotates. An injury or tear to the TFCC can be traumatic when falling on an outstretched hand or degenerative (gradual wear and tear over time).

Symptoms of TFCC-injury

  • Pain at the base of the small finger side of the wrist
  • Pain worsens when pushing off with the wrist or side-to-side movement
  • Painful clicking of the wrist
  • Swelling
  • Weakened grip


Physiotherapy treatment

Physiotherapy management of the above conditions has scientifically been proven to be helpful in relieving pain, speeding up recovery, and rehabilitating acute or chronic wrist pain issues.

Treatment involves manual or manipulative therapy, education, self-care management or exercise therapy.  Other treatments such as acupuncture, soft tissue release and laser therapy can also help.  Splinting of the wrist can be helpful for carpal tunnel syndrome and other acute injuries, as well as a TFCC strain.

A registered physiotherapist can conduct a skilled assessment and examination of your condition and recommend the appropriate treatment.


To book an appointment, call Suzanne at 709-757-3310

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