Causes of Hand & Wrist Pain

Hand and wrist pain can be caused by a variety of ailments and conditions 1. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common causes of pain in the wrist and hand area include injury, rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome 1. Repetitive motion is another common cause of wrist and hand pain 1. If you experience unexplained pain or discomfort, you should contact your physician.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Injuries that are caused by sudden impacts, falls or hyper-extensions can all cause significant pain and discomfort in the wrist and hand area, according to the American College of Sports Medicine 124. Athletes such as football and basketball players are prone to injuries in the hand and wrist due to physical demand on these extremities. Occupations such as construction, running machinery or warehouse work can all increase the risk of injury to the wrist and hand. Some injuries require little more than rest and ice. Others, such as breaks, fractures or deep tissue sprains and strains, may require immediate medical attention. According to Medline Plus, common signs of a broken or fractured bone include misshapen joints and the inability to move the fingers, wrist or hand.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a condition can affect the hands and wrists. It isn’t completely understood what causes the condition, but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the ailment occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue. This condition is typically found in both hands. Stiff joints may be experienced in the morning, and numbness and tingling in the affected area is not uncommon. Extreme cases of RA may cause joint deformity, which makes the fingers and hand appear misshapen. There is no cure for RA; treatment is focused on lessening flare-ups and keeping symptoms to a minimum.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is known to cause pain in the wrist and hands 1. According to the American Council on Exercise, carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the median nerve is compressed or disturbed, resulting in pain or numbness in the fingers and wrist 1. Sometimes the disturbance of the nerves can even impede grasping or clutching items with the affected hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome may also make it increasingly difficult to move or bend the wrist. Typically, repetitive motions such as typing or using a cash register can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. During flare-ups, it is advised to avoid any activity known to have caused the condition as well as any kind of resistance training.