The wrist connects the hand to the forearm. It consists of the distal ends of the radius and ulna bones, eight carpal bones, and the proximal ends of five metacarpal bones. This arrangement of bones allows for a wide range of movement. The wrist can bend, straighten, move laterally, and rotate. It is relatively prone to injury. Force or stress can injure any of the bones. Fracture is one common injury. It involves swelling and pain. In severe fractures, crookedness or deformation is also possible. Fractures are evaluated using x-rays or CT scans. Treatment involves immobilizing the bones while they set. This may require stabilization with pins or screws. Repetitive stress is another condition that affects the wrist. It can be caused by typing, sports, or other activities that involve repetitive motions. Repetitive stress can cause the carpal tunnel to become thickened and inflamed. The carpal tunnel is a tube of nerves and tendons that passes through the wrist. Tendinitis, sprains, and strain are other common injuries, which affect the connective tissues of the wrist. Wrist pain may also result from medical conditions, such as osteoporosis. This condition decreases bone density and increases the risk of fracture. The wrist can also be affected by arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. These conditions involve swelling of the joints from various causes. Arthritis can worsen with age.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Wrist

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