Numbness in your wrist can be brought on by a number of conditions, or it may be a symptom of an underlying condition. The sensation can extend to your hands and fingers and give the feeling your hand has fallen asleep. It’s not usually cause for immediate concern.
When nerves are compressed or irritated, it can create the feeling of pins and needles. The numbness could arrive suddenly and then fade or become a constant discomfort.
Depending on the associated condition, symptoms may feel more severe at night, in the morning, or after a period of inactivity.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by swelling in the wrist that compresses the median nerve, which is the nerve that provides feeling to your thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the outside of your ring finger and your palm.
The swelling is often the result of an underlying condition; carpal tunnel syndrome is frequently linked to:
As long as there is not severe damage to the median nerve, carpal tunnel is often treated with anti-inflammatory medication — such as NSAIDS or corticosteroids — or wrist splints, which keep your wrists in a proper position. When diagnosed early, surgery can often be avoided.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that results in stiffness, swelling, and numbness, often in the area of your hands and wrists. It’s most common in women and those over 65, but people who are overweight are also at a higher risk of developing arthritis.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is the wearing down of the protective cartilage located toward the end of your bones. Over time, it causes the bones within a joint to rub against one another, causing discomfort.
This progressive condition is often treated by managing symptoms, which include over-the-counter (OTC) medications — such as NSAIDS and acetaminophen — and at-home remedies such as exercises to strengthen your muscles and hot and cold therapy to relieve stiffness and pain.
RA is an autoimmune disorder where the lining of the membranes around your joints — known as the synovium — is attacked by your immune system.
The inflammation wears away at the cartilage and bone, and the joint can become misaligned. Symptoms such as stiffness and tenderness are often more severe after inactivity.
Your doctor may recommend a blood test or an X-ray and provide treatment options to manage symptoms, as RA cannot be cured. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medications, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), steroids, or surgery to repair the damaged joints.
When there is too much uric acid buildup in a region of your body, crystals can form and cause swelling, redness, and discomfort in the affected area. Though gout is a condition that usually affects the feet, it can also affect your wrist and hands.
Treatment options include medication to reduce uric acid and inflammation, and lifestyle changes such as adjusting to a healthier diet and lowering alcohol consumption.
When the tendons around your wrist become irritated or inflamed, it can result in warm sensation or swelling along the wrist joint. Wrist tendonitis is also called tenosynovitis.
If you are diagnosed with this condition, your doctor may recommend a number of treatments that include:
- placing your wrist in a cast or splint
- massaging the affected area
- icing your wrist
- taking anti-inflammatory medication
Numbness in your wrist can be the symptom of a number of conditions that are generally treated nonsurgically.
If the numbness creates intense discomfort and is accompanied by swelling, stiffness, or redness, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan to manage symptoms.