wrist and hand pain

Last reviewed 01/2018

Patients with pain in their wrists or hands are often anxious that they might later lose function, and they often need reassurance, if appropriate, when this is not the case.

Moreover, the hands are not only used for performing tasks but also have a role in communication, meeting people, shaking hands, gesticulating etc, and therefore the appearance of the hands is also important.

In assessing hand pain, a full history and examination should be performed. Particular points to consider are the patient's occupation, any possibility of recent, even minor trauma, and any features suggestive of referred pain. The unaffected wrist and hand should be fully examined as should all the other joints. Attempts should be made to identify the anatomical origin of any pain, and if the pain is due to a local or systemic disorder.