Pain Management

January 3, 2017

Muscles and Bones: The Makeup of Your Hand and Wrist Pain


Your hands and wrists are made up of several bones, ligaments and tendons that work together to perform smooth movements. Trauma or illnesses that affect these joints can cause severe pain and restrict your abilities.

Strains, tears and other injuries to bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments can lead to hand and wrist pain that becomes severe or persistent. Chronic conditions that affect these structures can also cause pain, swelling and stiffness. Becoming familiar with these parts of your hand and wrist joint can help you determine why you are in severe wrist pain so you can seek the right kind of wrist pain treatment.

Bones and Joints in the Hand and Wrist
Your hands and wrists are together made up of eight bones known as the carpus or carpal bones, five bones known as the metacarpals, and 14 bones known as the phalanges. Carpal bones include four bones in your upper wrist and four bones in your lower hand. The metacarpals are the bones in the central part of your hand, while the phalanges are the bones found in your fingers. Each finger has a joint at the bottom, a joint in the middle, and a joint near the top, but your thumbs only have two joints.

Tendons, Ligaments and Muscles in the Hand and Wrist
The tendons in your wrist and hand include the superficialis tendons, profundus tendons, extensor tendons, flexor tendons, abductor pollicis longus, and extensor pollicis brevis. These tendons join your hand and wrist muscles to your bones, which makes it possible for you to move your hand and wrist. The ligaments found in this part of your body include the volar plate, dorsal radiocarpal ligaments, collateral ligaments, volar radiocarpal ligaments, ulnocarpal ligaments, radioulnar ligaments, radial collateral ligaments and ulnar collateral ligaments. These ligaments join the bones in your hand and wrist together, which provides them with support and stability.

Conditions and Injuries of the Hand and Wrist
Several types of injuries and medical conditions can affect the bones, muscles, tendons, or ligaments in your hands and wrists. Some of the problems we often see include the following:

  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are chronic conditions that cause hand and wrist pain. These conditions cause joint inflammation that can result in swelling, stiffness, and severe wrist pain. Osteoarthritis occurs as cartilage on your bones wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks your joints. If nonsurgical methods of wrist pain treatment are not effective for arthritis, finger or wrist fusions can provide relief. A fusion procedure involves fusing two bones in the affected joint together after removing arthritis-damaged cartilage.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: This condition causes pain and tingling in your wrist and hand when the median nerve found in this part of your body has too much pressure on it. Surgical hand and wrist pain treatment for carpal tunnel involves carpal tunnel release surgery, which eases the painful pressure on the median nerve in your joint to relieve your severe wrist pain.
  • Trigger finger: This inflammatory condition known as trigger finger restricts movement in the affected finger or thumb as connective tissue becomes thick and prevents your tendons from moving. Trigger finger can cause pain or a feeling that the affected finger or thumb is stuck and cannot bend. Surgical procedures to treat this condition include trigger finger release, which involves making the tendon sheath wider in order to give the tendon more space within your joint.
  • Wrist fractures: Osteoporosis, a condition that causes brittle bones, can result in painful wrist fractures. A diagnostic wrist arthroscopy is a way for orthopedic surgeons to evaluate the fracture and recommend surgical treatment if needed.

If you’re dealing with severe wrist pain, please contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at (877) 918-7020 We offer surgical procedures and other treatments to treat chronic hand and wrist conditions.

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