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Is Wrist Injection Effective and Safe for Pain Relief?

Wrist pain can significantly disrupt your daily activities, limiting your ability to perform certain tasks. The pain may stem from various sources such as injury, arthritis, or repetitive strain. To effectively manage wrist pain, it is crucial to determine its underlying cause so that the doctor can devise an appropriate treatment plan. One possible management approach is receiving an injection to alleviate wrist pain.

Causes of Wrist Pain

Wrist pain often results from one of the following causes:

  • Repetitive stress injuries: pain and discomfort that arises from performing the same wrist and hand movements over an extended period. This type of injury is commonly seen in activities or occupations that require repetitive motion, such as typing, assembly line work, playing musical instruments, or certain sports.

  • Arthritis: Erosion with wear of the joint cartilage (Osteoarthritis) or Inflammation (as in Rheumatoid Arthritis) in the wrist joints can lead to chronic pain, stiffness, and swelling.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: When the median nerve gets squeezed, the effect may be pain and numbness in the wrist, hand and fingers.

  • Tendinitis: Eventually, inflammation of the wrist tendons becomes a significant source of steady pain.

A doctor should make the appropriate diagnosis to establish an accurate treatment plan for a patient, which requires a physical examination with, on some occasions, additional imaging studies.

Wrist Pain Injections

Cortisone Injections

Generally, these injections consist of a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid. The local anesthetic works rapidly and blocks the feeling of pain. In contrast, the corticosteroid reduces inflammation and pain over time. This strategy can be significantly helpful in relieving your pain and making your journey with the treatment much better.

Intra-Articular Hyaluronic Acid Injection for Wrist Osteoarthritis

Hyaluronic acid injections play a crucial role in managing wrist osteoarthritis pain and stiffness. This natural element, present in the joint's fluid, acts as a lubricant and cushion, supporting joint health. By injecting hyaluronic acid into the wrist joint, the joint is lubricated, reducing friction and pain while enhancing mobility. This treatment not only alleviates symptoms but also improves wrist function by facilitating smoother joint movements. Particularly beneficial for patients who have not responded to conventional therapies, hyaluronic acid injections offer a minimally invasive alternative that provides significant pain relief and enhances the quality of life for individuals with wrist osteoarthritis.

Benefits of Wrist Pain Injection

Rapid Pain Relief

One of the main advantages of a wrist pain injection is the relief provided by the local anaesthetic. This rapid pain decrease allows the patient to restore some use of the wrist and proceed to regular activities.

Reduced Inflammation

Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory agents. By reducing the inflammation, corticosteroids can help in cases such as arthritis and tendinitis.

Inhibition of pain and inflammation will help enhance mobility of the wrist in general. This may make the daily tasks more accessible and less painful.

Delay or Avoid Surgery

Many patients will find using wrist pain injections a good and safe option instead of having surgery. Some conditions allow patients to control their pain without potential risks associated with surgical procedures. However, depending on the diagnosis and stage of the condition, injections may not provide a satisfactory outcome compared to surgery.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Although wrist injections are generally safe, they carry some possible risks, including:

  • Infection at the injection site: Though rare, this can occur if proper sterile techniques are not followed and usually treated successfully with antibiotics.

  • Allergic reactions: Some people can have an allergic response to the injected solution.

  • Bleeding or bruising: These are usually minor and resolve independently.

  • More pain for a little while after injection: Some people experience temporary aggravation of their symptoms from the corticosteroid immediately after receiving the injection.

Wrist Injection Guided by Ultrasound

This is a specialised procedure where your doctor would utilise an ultrasound scanner to guide the needle for a precise placement.

The Procedure

This will involve using an ultrasound transducer (probe) to get an image of the internal structures of the wrist and find the target structure. The needle is then advanced through by the doctor under ultrasound imaging and is brought to the exact location. The flow of the injection can be viewed in real time. Occasionally, your doctor would inject local anaesthetic before injecting the target structure depending on the indication.

Advantages Over Traditional Techniques

Ultrasound guided injections are more accurate in delivering the medication to the target structure. They are also associated with a lower complication rates because of increased accuracy and the overall outcome is better. The above results in an enhanced patient experience and satisfaction as patients feel better and more confident that they could achieve the desired outcome of the procedure.

Wrist Pain Injections from ACTIVATE

At ACTIVATE MSK clinic, we specialise in providing advanced pain management solutions in a one-stop-clinic approach, including wrist pain injections. We offer cortisone injections and intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections, tailored to reduce inflammation and enhance joint lubrication for improved mobility and pain relief. Utilising ultrasound-guided techniques ensures precision and effectiveness in treatment, helping you regain function and improve your quality of life. Bookings can be made online without a GP referral


Injections are beneficial to people with wrist pain. Traditional or ultrasound-guided, all have numerous benefits to the patients. They are fast in pain relief, reduce inflammation, and improve the function of the wrist, thus making activities of daily living manageable. However, a person should have consultations with an experienced doctor before deciding to go for a wrist pain injection. They assess the degree of your wrist pain, the cause that underlies the problem, and whether this is the right treatment option for you.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. What are the commonest causes of wrist pain?

Repetitive stress injuries, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis.

2. How is wrist pain diagnosed?

Through a physical exam and imaging studies.

3. What types of wrist pain injections are available?

Cortisone and hyaluronic acid injections.

4. What are the benefits of wrist pain injections?

Rapid pain relief, reduced inflammation, improved mobility, and possible surgery avoidance.

5. Are there risks or side effects?

Possible risks include infection, allergic reactions, minor bleeding, and temporary pain increase.

6. What is ultrasound-guided wrist injection?

A procedure using ultrasound to guide precise medication delivery.

7. How is the procedure performed?

Using ultrasound to locate the target area and guide the needle.

8. What are the advantages of ultrasound-guided injections?

Increased accuracy, lower complication rates, and better outcomes.

9. Are wrist pain injections suitable for everyone?

Consult a doctor to determine suitability.

10. How can I get wrist pain injections?

Consult with your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms.

About the Author: Dr. Mustafa Alnaib MBChB, MRCS, MSc, FEBOT is an orthopaedic surgeon, musculoskeletal doctor and Clinic Director at ACTIVATE Musculoskeletal Clinic in Kent


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