Wrist Bursitis

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A bursa is a fluid-filled bag in the vicinity of a joint. The responsibility of a bursa is to provide the joint lubrication and a friction free environment to work in.

There are two wrist bursas:

Radial: for lubrication of tendons running from forearm to thumb.

Ulnar: for lubrication of tendons running from forearm to the index middle and ring fingers.

These bursas lie on the side (extending to the palmer crease) and central position of the palm, respectively.

With repetitive injury, inflammation and swelling of the bursa occur, causing pain and discomfort. This is known as wrist bursitis.

Some causes of the wrist bursitis include:

  • Over usage of the joint
  • Direct blow to the joint
  • Repeated stress injury, as occurs in athletes while playing throw ball etc.
  • A complication of rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, gout, thyroid disease or systemic lupus.
  • Infection of the bursas producing abscess (aka Horseshoe abscess)

Symptoms of wrist bursitis:

Symptoms include:

  • Pain, that increases with movement
  • Redness around the wrist
  • Swelling around the wrist
  • Bruised wrist
  • Lump; that may be noticeable over the side of affected bursa
  • Joint stiffness
  • Limited range of movement


Wrist bursitisWrist bursitis is the least common of all other cases of bursitis. It can however, be agonizing enough to keep one from performing daily life activities.

A doctor would usually prescribe anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids or morphine derivatives to alleviate the pain.

Sometimes when the abscess is present, drainage might be required.

Advance age is also a contributing factor towards the wrist bursitis.

A better idea is to pursue the natural or home remedies since they give you zero side effects cum total relief.

The prognosis of wrist bursitis is good. Patients with the condition show full recovery with returning back to their normal activities. It is nevertheless, advised to the patient to avoid any activities that may cause injury or stress upon the wrist joint.

Following treatment should be considered when dealing with wrist bursitis:

The RICE treatment is primarily considered: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

  • Rest is the first thing to go with. It will let the condition subside and kill the pain to some extent. Also, rest won’t worsen the condition.
  • Icing is helpful. Most of the people refer to it as cold therapy. This is used to prevent bleeding, subside the swelling and reduce muscle spasm. Pain too, is reduced.
  • Compression is to reduce the swelling. Bandages or wraps are available to serve the purpose. This should only be followed for about 10 minutes to prevent further injury from the lack of blood supply.
  • Elevation to reduce swelling. Keep the affected wrist elevated above heart level to encourage the flow of fluid.

Other treatment methods include:

  • Wrist massage is a good way to assuage pain. It increases the blood flow to the affected site, draining the inflammatory cells.
  • Squeezing a rubber ball and holding it for five seconds is one exercise healthy for your wrist. This strengthens grip.

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