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Why does my hand or wrist hurt?

Your wrist and hand are very strong and robust. They are very good at their jobs of pushing, pulling, lifting and gripping. They are very difficult to damage. Sometimes an injury, a change in your normal day to day activities or normal age-related changes can cause the wrist/ hand to hurt.


Will I get better?

Most wrist/ hand complaints will improve with time and some simple steps to help yourself. At times it might not feel that your wrist/ hand can get better but very few people need any extra care than the steps below.


What can I do to help myself?

It is important to keep your hand moving as normally as possible. It may be a good idea to adjust some of the things that might be uncomfortable. Taking more breaks or finding a different way of doing things can be useful.
Stiffness can cause discomfort too, so make sure you keep the hand and fingers moving regularly.


What else can I do?

Exercise, particularly movement and strengthening exercises, are the best medicine for most aches and pains including wrists and hands, even very sore joints. Exercise can be anything that challenges your muscles and joints and does not need to mean going to the gym or the swimming pool, as not everyone enjoys these things.
You may find that soaking your wrist/ hand in a bowl of warm water helps.


What about pins and needles?

Pins and needles are not uncommon in the hand. Often, pins and needles are caused by an irritated nerve. Your GP or physiotherapist would be happy to assess your pins and needles if you are concerned, but you should continue to move the wrist and will not cause any damage by exercising it.


What about an x-ray or scan?

In most cases, having an x-ray is not useful in helping your wrist/ hand  get better. Of course, in certain situations they are important and necessary, but often the results will show you things that are meant to be there or normal for the age of your wrist/ hand. That might mean that in a number of cases, what the x-ray shows is not really necessarily related to why your wrist/ hand is sore. This is likely to be why your GP or physio may have said that it is not be needed to help with diagnosis and treatment.


I still feel that I need some help.

If your wrist pain is causing you issues that you feel you would like to discuss with someone, you can be referred to the physiotherapy service by your GP. Your local pharmacist will also be able to provide you with information regarding any appropriate use of over the counter medication.

Top exercise ideas

Here is a selection of exercises that are most useful for helping hand and wrist complaints. Click on the arrows to show the start and finish of each excercise. 

Exercise 1

Sitting or standing: Bend you wrist towards you using the other hand to help if needed.

Exercise 2

Sitting next to a table with your forearm supported so your wrist and hand are over the edge (with or without a weight).

With your palm facing downwards slowly raise your wrist up and then slowly lower to the starting position​

Exercise 3

Sitting or standing. Take your thumb to the tips or the bottom of each finger.