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Wrist pain

Diagnosis of wrist pain

Wrist pain is typically diagnosed with an in-depth patient history followed by a physical examination of your joints, during which your doctor will evaluate your range of motion and check for signs of injury.

If your wrist pain is the result of an injury, your doctor may also use imaging scans such as x-rays, MRIs, or PET scans to help diagnose your condition.

Less commonly, for conditions such as arthritis, your doctor may also use a blood draw to look for signs of autoimmune and other conditions.


Depending on the severity of your wrist pain, you may be treated in a Dignity Health hospital or surgical center. Your doctor will examine your wrist, review your medical history, and discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing. The goal of treatment for wrist pain will be to reduce discomfort, heal the injury, and prevent your joint discomfort from getting worse.

In some cases, mild wrist pain caused by a sprain or a strain may be treated with ice and rest. Wrapping the wrist with a bandage can help support and protect it from further strain.

If your wrist pain is limiting everyday tasks, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to improve strength and range of motion. You’ll be given specific wrist exercises and stretches that you can do at home. If the way you sit while working on a computer is causing wrist pain, consider optimizing your workspace to improve posture and create proper alignment.

Medication, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, can reduce pain and swelling. Your doctor may suggest prescription medication for certain conditions, including RA.

In cases where your hand or wrist has been injured or deformed, we offer wrist surgery to reduce pain and help you regain proper function.


Most people recover from wrist pain within a few weeks. If your wrist pain was caused by an injury, you might need physical therapy or to rest the joints for a few weeks to ensure healing.

Chronic conditions such as carpal tunnel and arthritis may require more extensive adjustment to your activities and can take longer to heal.

Our specialists focus on diagnosing and treating wrist pain as part of our orthopedic services.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.