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Causes of Hand, Wrist, or Elbow Pain: When to Seek Treatment?

January 27, 2022

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At Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, we understand that pain and limited mobility in frequently used joints, like those in the hand/wrist/elbow, can disrupt your daily life. That's why our team specializes in innovative treatments using cutting-edge technology and contemporary techniques to treat painful conditions that affect your hand, wrist, or elbow.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, pain in the hand, wrist, and elbow affects an estimated 13 million Americans. If you're one of the millions living with such pain, then you might be wondering what caused the pain and when to seek medical treatment.

Here, our Austin, TX, specialists address common causes of hand, wrist, and elbow pain, and what you and our dedicated team can do about it.

Common Causes of Hand, Wrist, or Elbow Pain

There are many reasons why you might be experiencing pain or limited mobility in your hand, wrist, or elbow, including:

  • Breaks or fractures as a result of trauma
  • Overuse injuries, like tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, or trigger finger
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Nerve entrapment or damage
  • Ganglion cysts

Assessing the location, type, and extent of dysfunction may help you determine when it's time to see an orthopaedic specialist.

Assessing Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Pain

Diagnosing the cause of your hand, wrist, or elbow pain is the first step toward improvement. Here are four questions to assist you in the assessment of the pain and dysfunction in your hand, wrist, or elbow:

  1. Is it tender to the touch?
  2. Does it appear red, bruised, or swollen?
  3. Is it stiff or resistant to a full range of motion?
  4. On an increasing pain scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain?

Answering yes to any of the first three questions on a pain rating of six or greater indicates that you should see an orthopaedic specialist as soon as possible. You may require surgical intervention to treat your painful condition.

If you answered no to the first three questions and your assessed pain is valued at three or lower, then you might be able to care for your hand, wrist, or elbow at home.

Caring for Minor Hand, Wrist, or Elbow Injuries at Home

If your symptoms are minor, then you may find relief from hand, wrist, or elbow pain and dysfunction by following these simple steps:

  • As soon as the pain starts, apply ice to the area for ten minutes at a time.
  • If the pain lasts longer than a day, apply warm compresses to the area.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen.
  • Use compression bandages to wrap the area.
  • If you notice the symptoms getting worse after repetitive motions, take a break from those activities. The pain may dissipate after sufficient rest and recovery.

If the pain and dysfunction do not go away after two weeks of home remediation, then you should seek the expertise of an orthopaedic specialist.

Contact Our Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Specialist

Living with pain can be debilitating. Fortunately, our team at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin can use minimally-invasive solutions to expertly assess and treat hand, wrist, and elbow pain and dysfunction.

If you're ready to soothe the pain and reclaim your life, then schedule your consultation online here or call our offices at (512) 476-2830.