Besides Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) which is described in another section, there are some other well known common causes of wrist pain.
Carpometacarpal (CMC) joint arthritis, or basilar thumb arthritis, is a condition in which the joint at the base of the thumb and wrist becomes degenerated. As a result, there can be pain and swelling at the base of the thumb at the wrist. X-ray helps to diagnose this painful condition. It can be treated with bracing/splinting, pain medication, injections, or surgery. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy can be performed to try to avoid surgery in certain cases.
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
This is a condition in which some of the thumb tendons become inflamed due to repetitive stress and overuse. The tendons are surrounded by a synovium, or sheath, that becomes swollen and painful. As a result, there can be pain and swelling at the wrist on the thumb side. It can be treated with rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, bracing/splinting, or steroid injections. In some cases, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy can be performed in refractory cases that don't heal well to try to avoid surgery.
There are multiple ligaments and soft tissues around the wrist that can be injured traumatically from a fall or during sporting activities. In these cases, x-ray will often be ordered to make sure there are no broken bones involved. This is especially true of an injured wrist sustained from a fall onto an outstretched hand (FOOSH injury). If the x-ray is negative, then treatment usually includes rest, ice, NSAIDs, and bracing/splinting to help control any swelling. A wrist sprain should heal completely within a few weeks and should improve significantly in about one week. If there is significant pain that does not improve after one week, then further imaging such as CT scan or MRI may be required to make sure nothing was fractured.