Elbow, Wrist and Hand Pain

Women holding her wrist in pain.

Wrist or hand pain and stiffness can be debilitating, especially since we use our hands and wrist frequently throughout our normal day-to-day activities. In most cases pain in the elbow, wrist and hand can be categorized as a repetitive strain injury (RSI), an injury of the musculoskeletal system caused by repetitive use over long periods of time.

Common Causes of Wrist and Hand Pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • De Quervain syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis - degeneration of the wrist and hand joints
  • Sprained wrist or fingers

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve that runs through the wrist and usually creates pain in the hand. The nerve is gets compressed when it passes through the carpal tunnel. It can be triggered by inflammation, arthritis, pregnancy fluid retention, wrist trauma or an overuse injury where the tendons are inflamed from repetitive hand movements. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, pins and needles, and pain which can intensify at night. 

DeQuervain syndrome

DeQuervain syndrome is an inflammation of the tendons surrounding the thumb due to repetitive movements of the thumb. Symptoms include pain, swelling or difficulty moving the thumb.


Osteoarthritis is a condition in the joints, which causes the cartilage lining the joint to wear away and the area to become stiff and inflamed. The result of damage to this cartilage is increased friction which in turn makes movements more difficult to perform pain free. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can involve the wrist and hand joints causing limited range of motion of the joints and swelling around the knuckles. 

Elbow pain

Elbow pain is most commonly caused by overuse or repetitive activities, such as gripping a tennis racquet, golf club, gardening tools etc... Trauma, such as a fall or knock to the elbow, or arthritis can also cause pain.

The pain is often aggravated when one tries to grasp an object and use the wrist to perform repetitive actions. Symptoms include pain, a weaker grip, constant ache, especially at night or sharp pain on moving the forearm and elbow. Arthritis can also cause swelling and friction in the elbow joint. 

How can Osteopathy Help with Wrist and Hand Pain?

Osteopathic treatment is aimed at stretching the soft tissues, freeing restricted wrist bones, draining excess fluid and improving circulation. Treatment for wrist, hand and elbow pain may include massage, joint mobilization, stretching and advice on exercises to do at home. In addition to treating the wrist and hand directly, we may also work on your arm, shoulder and upper back, if assessment reveals contributing factors in those areas. At Move Easy Clinic we also use the Shockwave therapy which is proven to speed up the recovery time significantly when it comes to lateral and medial epicondylitis also known as tennis and golfer's elbow.