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Common Wrist InjuriesTypes of Wrist Injuries

The wrist is a complex network of small joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles which work together to provide fluid motion to the hand. These movements begin at the forearm where two of the longest bones in our bodies connect to a series of much smaller “carpal” bones near the base of the palm.

Where the two groups meet, they are woven together by a set of intricately connected ligaments. Between these bones and their connective ligaments lies a set of muscle tissues and tendons which provide the contractions necessary to move the wrist.

With so many moving parts, it’s easy to see why the wrist has an especially long list of possible complications.

There are many types of disorders and injuries related to the wrist and its many parts. Some of the most common types of wrist injuries are:

  • Carpal tunnel
  • Tendonitis
  • Sprains and strains
  • Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tear
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Ganglion cysts
  • CarpoMetaCarpal (CMC) Arthritis

Carpal Tunnel of the Wrist

Typically associated with a “tingling” sensation or sweltering pain, carpal tunnel of the wrist occurs when the nerve responsible for sensation and movement is pinched by surrounding tissues.

This pinching results in a lack of blood flow to the outer edges of the nerve, leaving behind pain, numbness and a weakened hand.

There is not a single probable cause for carpal tunnel of the wrist, but it is likely that many smaller issues culminate to create the pinched nerve. Swelling, inflammation, previous injuries, and repetitive motion have been shown to exacerbate the issue.

Tendinitis of the Wrist / Tenosynovitis

Tendinitis of the wrist, commonly referred to as tenosynovitis, occurs when the tendons surrounding the wrist become inflamed or irritated.

As these tendons continue to be irritated through daily use, the discomfort only grows larger and larger. The wrist is especially susceptible to tendinitis as it houses many small tendons which are used in repetitive motion throughout the day.

Many of these tendons pass over each other or rest on a bony patch, both of which are known sources of irritation and causes of tenosynovitis. Unfortunately, once these early symptoms set in, seldom, if ever, do they go away.

Wrist Sprains and Strains

The muscles and tendons in the wrist are much more fragile than many of those found around the body. When sprains and strains occur around the wrist, much more care is needed in order to fully recover.

If the injury isn’t managed properly it can lead to much more discomfort further down the road.

The mechanics associated with tendons and muscles in the wrist are delicate, slight interruptions such as those experienced in a sprain or strain can cause an unmanageable amount of damage which may limit the range of motion of the wrist permanently.

Common Wrist Injuries

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Tears

The wrist is a general term for a set of complex networks of small tissues which work together to provide movement to the hand.

One of the most intricate of these networks is called the “triangular fibrocartilage complex” and sustaining an injury or tear to this area can wreak havoc on the natural dynamics of the wrist. The TFCC is a set of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage that sits at the bottom of the palm between the forearm. These tissues provide cushioning and stability to rotational movements of the wrist and help the hand maintain a strong grip.

With so many small moving parts, TFCC injuries are common and can be quite painful if improperly treated. There are a number of stem cell and prp regimens which may help decrease the inflammation and pain caused by a TFCC tear.

Osteoarthritis of the Wrist

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a degenerative disease which eats away at the soft cartilage which lines the edges of the bones.

As the cushioning tissue which covers the bones in the wrist gradually wears away, pain and discomfort begin to emerge. The problems caused by osteoarthritis only get worse with extended use of the wrist. Slowly, bone begins to rub against bone, causing not only pain, but also restricting the movements and fluidity of the wrist.

Overtime, most sufferers are limited to wearing braces or taking life-altering pain killers to deal with the issues osteoarthritis of the wrist causes.

Ganglion Cysts in the Wrist

Ganglion cysts are benign pouches of flesh made up of a fluid similar to the one which lubricates the joints. These noncancerous growths can spring out of any joint but are most commonly found near the wrist.

While they may not seem problematic at first, overtime ganglion cysts on the wrist may cause discomfort or irritate the surrounding area. In rare cases, if the cyst grows large enough, it may cause complete immobility of the wrist or afflicted joint.

Most ganglion cysts are treated via surgical intervention.

Carpometacarpal (CMC) Arthritis

More commonly known as arthritis of the thumb, Carpometacarpal (CMC) arthritis can occur naturally as we age or may be incited by a past trauma.

Just as with osteoarthritis of the wrist, CMC pain emerges as the cushioning tissues around the base of the thumb wear away. As the cartilages degenerates, the bones at the base of the thumb grind against the bones at the edge of the wrist and create painful swelling and inflammation.

To make matters worse, CMC arthritis has been known to cause bones spurs (fractals of bone growth) which can cause pain as they stab the surrounding muscle tissues.

Stem cell therapies can help alleviate some of the pain caused by the lack of cartilage while also providing a suitable environment for our bodies to regenerate any damaged tissue.


Though many of these wrist complications are as of yet untreatable, most of them are medically manageable. With recent advancements in stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies, many of the symptoms and pains which once paralyzed the wrists of those suffering from the above ailments can now be treated.

Cellaxys offers comprehensive treatment methods for all of the above listed illnesses and many others associated with wrist pain. Contact one of our specialists today for more information.

Dr. Matthew HC Otten

Director of Regenerative Orthopedic and Sports Medicine
Fellowship-trained & Board Certified in Sports medicine
Director Angiography at Harvard Clinical Research Institute
Michigan State University Alumni


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