Little Known Causes of Chronic Wrist Pain

Feb 07, 2023

Little Known Causes of Chronic Wrist Pain

Little Known Causes of Chronic Wrist Pain

Acute wrist pain is often the result of a fracture, but that’s not necessarily the case for every type of wrist pain. Chronic pain 一 pain that lingers for at least three months一 can have any number of causes, which means the treatments for chronic wrist pain can vary quite a bit. 

Our orthopedic specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating chronic wrist pain, and the first step to finding relief is pinpointing the cause. Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known causes of chronic wrist pain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful wrist condition that develops when your median nerve 一 a nerve that links your forearm to the palm of your hand 一 becomes compressed in your wrist. When this nerve is pinched, it causes pain and reduced grip strength – making it hard to complete daily tasks. 

Working in certain industries, such as meatpacking, sewing, and manufacturing, can increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive wrist motions.


When you think of diabetes, “wrist pain” probably isn’t the first phrase that comes to your mind, but diabetes can surprisingly contribute to wrist pain. High blood sugar levels can affect your median nerve, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome if irritated. Researchers estimate that 20% of people with diabetes struggle with carpal tunnel syndrome.


Arthritis can affect any joint, and that includes your wrist. Osteoarthritis is the wear-and-tear type of arthritis, but it’s not the only type of arthritis to affect your wrist. Post-traumatic arthritis can develop in a joint that was previously injured. For example, if you fractured a bone or tore a ligament in your wrist, it’s possible that the acute injury can contribute to chronic pain in the form of post-traumatic arthritis. 

You might suspect you have arthritis if your wrist is swollen, stiff, and achy. 

Ganglion cysts

Ganglion cysts are jelly-filled bumps that form along tendons or in your joints. They don’t always cause pain, but if they grow near a nerve or press against one, they can cause chronic wrist pain. Aspirating the cyst tends to resolve the issue and eliminate the pain. 


Osteoporosis is a condition that causes weak, frail bones. Osteoporosis itself isn’t painful, but it can lead to fractures quite easily (even without much impact), and if your bone breaks, it can cause pain. 

What to do for chronic wrist pain

Because each condition requires a different treatment plan, the best course of action is to receive an accurate diagnosis before embarking on any treatment plan. Your Sequoia Institute Orthopaedic Specialists provider orders the scans and tests you need 一 whether that’s an x-ray, an ultrasound, a blood test, etc. 一 to confirm the source of your pain.

Once our team identifies the cause of your chronic wrist pain, we formulate a treatment plan. Our expert team guides you through every step of the process and may recommend the following:

  • Lifestyle changes to support healthy wrist function
  • Physical therapy to strengthen your wrist
  • Braces 
  • Injections
  • Surgery (including everything from wrist repair surgery to wrist replacement surgery to hand surgery)
  • Pain management services

Don’t suffer from wrist pain in silence. Call the Sequoia Institute Orthopaedic Specialists and explore your potential treatment options today. You can also book your appointment online.