Can’t Put Pressure On Your Wrist? It Could Be One of These Painful Conditions

Patient suffering from injured wrist.

If you can’t put pressure on your wrist without pain or discomfort, it may be a sign that something is wrong and should be looked at by a specialist.

When everything is working as it should, you probably don’t give your wrists much thought other than as a place to strap on a watch or display a pretty bracelet. But your wrist is a critical joint, and when it hurts, it can really disrupt your daily life.

Keep reading to learn about some of the conditions that could be at play if you can’t put pressure on your wrist and what a wrist specialist can do to help. 

What Can Cause Pain When You Put Pressure on Your Wrist?

Here are some of the reasons why you might feel discomfort when putting pressure on your wrist:

Wrist Fractures

It might be a sign that you have a broken wrist (or distal radius fracture) if you can’t put pressure on your wrist joint after an accident or fall on an outstretched hand (FOOSH). Force puts your injured bone under additional strain, which triggers your pain.

The radius—one of two forearm bones—is the arm’s most commonly broken bone. And most fractures of this bone occur around one inch from where it connects to the distal radius (or wrist joint), according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Some of the different types of fractures that can cause pain when you put pressure on your wrist include:

  • Barton Fractures
  • Colles Fractures (or Goyrand Fractures)
  • Die-Punch Fractures
  • Galeazzi Fractures
  • Greenstick Fractures
  • Hutchinson Fractures (or Chauffeur’s Fractures/Radial Styloid Fractures)
  • Monteggia Fractures
  • Smith’s Fractures (or Reverse Colles’ Fractures)
  • Ulnar Styloid Process Fractures

Wrist Joint Irritation

Examples of some conditions that cause irritation and inflammation which might be making it so you can’t put pressure on your wrist include:

  • Gout Attacks (Uric Acid Buildup)
  • Infection
  • Severe Burns
  • Wrist Arthritis (e.g., Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis 
  • Wrist Sprains (Wrist Ligament Tears)
  • Wrist Strains (Overstretched Tendons)
  • Wrist Tendonitis (Wrist Inflammation)

Additional Wrist Disorders

Other reasons why you might feel debilitating pain when putting pressure on your wrist include the following:

See a wrist doctor for help pinpointing the precise reasons you have tenderness and reduced range of motion because you can’t put pressure on your wrist.

When Should You See a Doctor for Wrist Pain?

If you have discomfort and swelling in your wrist that lasts (or worsens) over a few days and you’re struggling to put pressure on your wrist joint without feeling pain, it’s critical to see a wrist specialist for an accurate diagnosis so you can start healing. 

Note: If you’ve been seriously hurt (after a sports-related injury, fall, car accident, etc.), seek emergency care immediately for your wrist if you notice a deformity, feel severe pain, swelling, or lose sensation in your hand. These symptoms are all signs that you could have a broken wrist or another serious issue that requires prompt medical treatment.

How Is Pain Caused When Putting Pressure on Your Wrist Diagnosed and Treated?

Depending on specifics related to your condition or injury, a physician who treats wrist pain will create a comprehensive treatment plan that best matches your goals. They will also help manage your pain and recommend options for healing your wrist. 

Conservative treatments will always be recommended first when appropriate for your injury or condition.

Non-Surgical Wrist Pain Treatment Examples

  • Activity Modification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet
  • Braces and Splints
  • Corticosteroids Injections
  • Heat and Cold Therapy
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Occupational Therapy and At-Home Stretching Exercises

Types of Wrist Surgery

For some severe injuries or chronic wrist pain that hasn’t improved with non-surgical treatments, arthroscopic wrist surgery may be recommended. Some of the procedures used to treat various wrist conditions include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Release
  • Fracture Fixation
  • Joint Fusion
  • Joint Replacement
  • Ligament Reconstruction
  • Mass Excision
  • Nerve Repair
  • Nerve Transfer
  • Tendon Release
  • Tendon Repair
  • Tendon Transfer
  • Tendonitis Release
  • Ulnar Shortening Osteotomy
  • Wrist Replacement

After wrist surgery, you may have to wear a brace or cast and be prescribed pain medications if needed. Your specialist may also recommend therapy to help you safely regain movement in your wrist.

Trust the Wrist Experts at IHTSC

Many factors can contribute to wrist pain, so make sure to get an accurate diagnosis. Waiting too long to seek treatment can lead to long-term problems.

For over 50 years, Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center has provided complete care for hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder injuries, disorders, and conditions. 

Schedule an appointment if you can’t put pressure on your wrist. We’ll diagnose your problem, and our experienced team of surgeons, advanced practice providers, and therapists will work with you to develop the best treatment plan to help you heal.

Call us at (317) 751-5904 to set up an appointment today. 

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Disclaimer: The materials on this website have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. You should not act or rely upon any medical information on this website without a physician’s advice. The information contained within this website is not intended to serve as a substitution for a thorough examination from a qualified healthcare provider. The display of this information is not intended to create a health care provider-patient relationship between the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center and you.