Difficulty Identifying Re-Occurring Wrist Pain (Both Hands, 9 years)

by Simone
(South Africa)

Hi Joshua.

I've experienced re-occurring wrist pain in both hands for the last 9 years (I'm 22 years old, female) but having difficulty identifying the possible cause.

The wrist pain first started in my right hand when I was about 13 years old. I felt a sharp pain in the middle of my wrist when I flexed by hand down, up, or to either side (although more severely when flexing up or down). The pain became more intense if I tried to place pressure on my hand when flexed (e.g. in a push up position.)

There is no pain when pressure is placed on my hand when the wrist is straight.

The pain is accompanied by loss of flexibility. Above and beyond the pain preventing me from flexing my wrist, my wrist feels tight and I can manage at best a 45-70 degree bend when I'm not experiencing pain. When I am experiencing pain this can decrease to about a 5 degree bend forward, maybe.

More specifically the pain is normally located in the centre of my wrist (almost in line with my middle finger, but slightly of centre, it feels like a little hollow), where I would say the radius and ulnar meet the carpal bones.

The pain developed suddenly, without an injury to the wrist. The only activity I was doing at the time was horse riding. The pain lasted about two weeks before disappearing (although, it has remained uncomfortable - mildly painful to place pressure on my hands when bent as 90 degrees for push-ups etc.)

There is no swelling, numbness or tingling in my wrist/hand/fingers/arm.

This pattern continued for about five years, with flare ups occurring every couple of months, sometimes over a year passes with no flare up.

After about five years I had the exact same experience in my left hand. Exact same spot / pain pattern in my left wrist. However, both wrists do not necessarily flare up at the same time.

Since then I've experienced these on and off flare ups with range in intensity from moderate to severe.

When the pain is severe, I also experience a slight ache in the same spot as where the sharp pain occurs, when my hand is in a neutral position (not flexed.)

Also, it is also more painful to flex my wrist when my fingers are straight and tensed. If it is more severe flare up (like currently) I feel pain in the same spot when I splay my fingers wide and tensed. Also at the moment if I let my hand drop into a forward bend, the pain travel to the underside of my wrist, in line with my pinky finger.

During the last flare up (just over two years ago) it was suggested that I may have rheumatoid arthritis. However, I don't have problems with any other joints, including finger joints. There's no warmth or redness associated with the pain. Nor is the wrist stiffness affected by the time of day (early morning etc.)

So...I'm at a loss.

I would appreciate any thoughts on the matter.

Kind Regards,


Joshua Answers:

Hello Simone.

Muscles and connective tissue get tight. And stay tight.

It's all downhill from there, quickly or slowly. Sometimes 'pain' comes and goes, but it's pattern, a Downward Spiral, and a constant and progressive Pain Causing Dynamic

Tendonitis, no matter where it shows up, is that dynamic. Very predictable.

Sounds like you're experiencing Wrist Tendonitis.

Unfortunately, it's very common for doctors to throw out unfounded guesses like 'Well maybe it's rheumatoid arthritis'...because they're not trained to undestand tendonitis, nor inclined to educate themselves.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

It doesn't sound like you have any Carpal Tunnel symptoms, that's good, as carpal tunnel syndrome is just a more complicated version of wrist tendonitis.

From what you've described, it doesn't sound particularly complex. You're just stuck in the downward spiral of ever increasing muscle and connective tissue tightness, Process of Inflammation, and nutritional lack.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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