Treatments for wrist problems vary greatly based on the type, location, and severity of the injury, as well as on your age and overall health.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), may help reduce wrist pain. Stronger pain relievers are available by prescription.
A hand therapist can implement specific treatments and exercises for wrist injuries and tendon problems. If you need surgery, your hand therapist can also help with rehabilitation after the operation. You may also benefit from having an ergonomic evaluation that addresses workplace factors that may be contributing to wrist pain.
If you have a broken bone in your wrist, the pieces will need to be aligned so that the bone can heal properly. A cast or splint can help hold the bone fragments together while they heal.
If you have sprained or strained your wrist, you may need to wear a splint to protect the injured tendon or ligament while it heals. Splints are particularly helpful with overuse injuries caused by repetitive motions.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Examples include:
- Bone fractures. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to stabilize bone fractures to permit healing. A surgeon may need to connect the fragments of bone together with metal hardware.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. If your symptoms are severe, you may need to have the ligament that forms the roof of the tunnel cut open to relieve the pressure on the nerve.
- Tendon or ligament repair. Surgery is sometimes necessary to repair tendons or ligaments that have ruptured.