ZocdocAnswersAching in my thumb and wrist. What to do?

Question

Aching in my thumb and wrist. What to do?

For a while now my wrists have been aching. Some days they barely ache, and then others I have to wrap them in ace bandages to keep the pain down. When I brush my hair I can't properly grip the brush because my wrist hurts. It mainly hurts on the left side of my right hand, and the right side of my left hand--where my thumbs are. More recently the thumb bones that connect to the inside of my wrists have been aching as well. When i press on them they hurt pretty badly. But the thing is-it doesn't hurt really bad to the point of crying, but it is painful to write with and grip things with. I don't really even type that much. Also, my hands ache as well. Please help!

Answer

I would definitely set up a visit with your primary care doctor to talk about this issue, especially since it seems to have been going on for a while and is not getting better. Your doctor can perform a physical exam and narrow down the possible causes of your pain and also suggest treatments. One potential cause here is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a condition caused by inflammation in the nerves in the wrist due to repetitive motion and strain. With carpal tunnel syndrome, the pain, weakness, and (sometimes) numbness and tingling tend to be worse on the thumb side of the hand, just as you are describing. Usually, the condition can be treated with regular doses of anti inflammatory medications, as prescribed by your doctor, together with splinting of the wrists (especially at night) and avoidance of the the activities that bring out the pain (for example, typing at a computer keyboard). Another condition which can also cause pain in this area of the wrist is tendonitis at the base of the thumb, which is caused by the same sorts of things that cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Typically tendonitis is also treated with splinting, physical therapy, and anti inflammatory medications. Please talk to your doctor!

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