The wrist & hand form a precision instrument allowing performance of highly skilled tasks with great power or pinpoint accuracy. Injury to the hand or wrist can deprive us of completing even the simplest of tasks. In a world of computers, wrists are subjected to the ongoing strain of constant typing and moving computer mouses. Wrists also carry a lot of weight when performing upper body exercises, which is a lot of strain on an otherwise very fine structure.

 Some of the common causes of wrist pain/injuries;

  • Wrist tendonitis – is a relatively common overuse condition which may affect one or more wrist tendons and is characterised by tissue damage, pain and often swelling of the affected tendons.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – presents with wrist and/or hand pain and pins and needle sensations. The Carpal Tunnel is a very small space between wrist bones, and the condition occurs when there is swelling in this area. A major change that happens during Carpal Tunnel is pressure change that is exacerbated by wrist movement, causing pain.
  • Bone Fractures or dislocations and instability
    • Capitate Fracture (Broken Wrist) – typically a consequence of a fall, the wrist is actually composed of eight small bones that can be broken. Typical symptoms include pain and tenderness towards the back of your wrist, movement in this direction will cause pain.
    • Scaphoid Fracture (Broken Wrist) – A Scaphoid fracture is not unlike a Capitate break, and the two often occur together, the symptoms are similar, however in this instance pain is towards the direction of the thumb.
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle Strain
  • Overuse Injuries



An accurate diagnosis is vital to the correct management of your wrist pain/injury.

A physiotherapist has a number of techniques designed to facilitate the recovery of hand strength and dexterity. Therapeutic putty is a malleable substance which can be used in specific exercises to improve dexterity and fine muscle control. Therapy balls can be used to relieve stiffness in the wrist – these are compactable balls that you squeeze. Similarly hand and grip strength are worked through resistance training, gradually increasing said resistance as the hand recovers. These techniques are all used in treatment for Carpal Tunnel as well, and form the basis for physiotherapy of the wrist.

Wrist fractures are extremely painful, and it is vital that full functionality is restored. After the initial treatment of placing the wrist in a cast, regular appointments with a physiotherapist are necessary to progress a regime of exercises. Cold therapy (applied to reduce residual swelling), and a wrist support (worn, at least initially, to reduce the risk of further injury) are both often employed.

Physiotherapists use hands-on techniques including:           

  • Joint mobilisation
  • Joint manipulation
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Minimal Energy Techniques (METs)
  • Muscle stretching
  • Massage and soft tissue techniques
  • Tapping
  • Dry needling

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most wrist pain responds extremely quickly to physiotherapy ,allowing you to quickly resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living.