There are a variety of conditions that can affect the hand or wrist. These may involve the joints and/ or the surrounding soft tissues. Pain may be caused by a specific injury or may gradually build up over time. The wrist and hand can sometimes become painful during activities such as gripping, pinching and lifting. 

How can I help myself to get better?

Minor injuries, such as mild sprains and strains, can be treated at home and should start to improve after a few days. Using a protection, rest and ice regime initially can help.

There is self-management advice provided below to help minimise symptoms and facilitate the healing process:

Pain relief

Getting the right pain relief to allow you to return to your usual activities is the key to success in the early stages. Pain releif medication such as ibuprofen, paracetamol and gels can help. Make sure you discuss this with your GP or pharmacist.


Keeping your wrist, hand and fingers moving can be important to stop structures stiffening up and muscles becoming weak.

Sedentary and inactive lifestyles increase the risk of developing pain and can also delay your recovery. Being active for 30 minutes in your day can make a big difference in your overall health and improve your pain.

When should I see my GP or physiotherapist?

Many episodes of wrist/hand pain get better or improve on their own, however you should seek medical advice for the following:   

  • After a sudden traumatic or high impact injury
  • If the pain is severe or the wrist, hand or finger is hot, red or very swollen
  • If you have tingling or numbness down the hand/arm
  • If you develop acute wrist/hand pain at the same time as feeling unwell or having a fever you should see your GP immediately