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What Nonsurgical Treatments Can an Orthopedic Surgeon Use for Wrist Pain?

The wrists, while not too exposed to a lot of pressure like the knees and hips, still bear the brunt of our day-to-day movements involving our hands. Any problems in them can render us incapable of performing many important hand functions.

Wrist pain has many potential causes, the most common of which are nerve compression (carpal tunnel syndrome), arthritis, wrist sprain, and fractures. As long as your wrist pain is not severe, persistent, or chronic and is not accompanied by deformity, swelling, or signs of infection among other distressing symptoms, your orthopedic surgeon will likely first explore conservative interventions to address the problem. Hand surgery is only recommended for severe wrist injuries or as a last-resort intervention, when no form of conservative treatment is able to provide effective relief.

Read on to learn about the different nonsurgical treatment modalities your orthopedic surgeon may use for wrist pain, apart from the standard oral pain medications.

Ice or Heat Application

Applying ice or heat is one of the basic treatment approaches for mild to moderate wrist pain. Heat helps boost blood flow to your wrist, while ice can help alleviate any swelling. You doctor may recommend either of these therapies or that you alternate them for effective relief.


Cortisone shots contain a combination of cortisone and a local anesthetic. Depending on the underlying cause of your wrist pain, cortisone shots can provide relief up to several weeks. Nonetheless, given the potential side effects of steroid medications, the number of shots your orthopedic surgeon is allowed to administer within a year is generally limited.

Your orthopedic surgeon may also recommend PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections, which are derived from your own blood. The platelet-rich plasma in your blood has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for arthritis and many other causes of wrist pain. Since PRP injections are autologous, meaning they are derived from your own body, they are safe, having little to no risk of rejection and complications.

Wrist Splints

If you’ve suffered a wrist injury or are dealing with nerve pain, such as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor may recommend that you wear a wrist splint. This looks like a brace with fingerless glove that your doctor may have you wear to support and properly stabilize your wrist.

Physical Therapy

Your orthopedic surgeon may also recommend physical therapy, which employs exercise and therapeutic modalities aimed at helping you regain the normal function of your wrist. Your physical therapist will incorporate specific exercises into your care plan to help provide pain relief, improve the range of motion in your wrist, and strengthen the supportive structures around the joints in your wrist. Your physical therapist may also give you exercises and stretches to do at home in between appointments.

Hand and Wrist Care in Delray Beach, FL

At South Palm Orthopedics, Dr. Steve Meadows, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, has made a name for himself for his expertise and commitment to providing the highest quality of care and ensuring the best possible outcomes for all types of upper-extremity problems—including those that cause wrist pain.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Meadows, call our office today at 561-496-6622 or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to helping you feel your best!

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South Palm Orthopedics
4800 Linton Blvd., Building A
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Delray Beach, FL 33445
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