Pain - wrist
For carpal tunnel syndrome, you may need to make adjustments to your work habits and environment:
- Make sure that your keyboard is low enough that your wrists aren't bending upwards while you type.
- Take plenty of breaks from activities that aggravate the pain. When typing, stop often to rest the hands, if only for a moment. Rest your hands on their sides, not the wrists.
- An occupational therapist can show you ways to ease pain and swelling and stop the syndrome from coming back.
- Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can relieve pain and swelling.
- Various mousepads, typing pads, split keyboards, and wrist splints (braces) are designed to relieve wrist pain. Some people find these devices help their symptoms. You may wish to try a few different kinds to see if any help.
- You may only need to wear a wrist splint at night while you sleep. This helps reduce the swelling. If that alone is not working, wear the splints during the day and apply hot or cold compresses periodically.
For a recent injury:
- Rest your wrist. Keep it elevated.
- Apply ice to the tender and swollen area.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Wear a splint for several days. Wrist splints can be purchased at many drugstores and medical supply stores.
For non-infectious arthritis:
- Do flexibility and strengthening exercises every day. Work with a physical therapist to learn the best and safest exercises for your wrist.
- Try the exercises after a hot bath or shower so that your wrist is warmed up and less stiff.
- DO NOT perform exercises when your wrist is actively inflamed.
- Make sure that you also rest the joint adequately. Both rest and exercise are important when you have arthritis.
Call your health care provider if
Review Date: 07/10/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.