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Hand and Wrist Pain

Hand, wrist and finger problems are common and often improve well within a short period of time with simple treatments.

There are 27 small bones that make up each hand and wrist. Eight of those bones are in your wrist.

There are more than 30 muscles that control the hand and wrist. These are in your hands, wrists and forearms.

Muscles are attached to bones by tendons. These are small but very tough pieces of connective tissue. Tendons pass through a bony passage in your wrist, known as the carpal tunnel.










Wrist, hand and finger problems can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • pins and needles
  • numbness

You don’t normally need to see a healthcare professional. New onset or flare-up of a longstanding wrist, hand and finger problem should begin to settle within 6 weeks.

How to ease hand and wrist pain yourself

You usually need to do these things for 2 weeks before your pain starts to ease.

It can take 4 to 6 weeks to recover fully from mild hand and wrist pain.


  • Move your hand and wrist gentle for 10-20 seconds when you’re awake
  • Use pain relief so you can keep moving
  • Avoid movements or activities that aggravate your symptoms
  • Try exercises

*Add exercises*


  • do not completely stop using your hand and wrist - this can stop it getting better
  • do not do things that seem to make it worse
  • do not make up your own strenuous exercise


Referral to Occupational Health

If you have not seen improvement in your symptoms after following the advice above, you may require further assessment. You should refer to Occupational Health if:

  • the pain doesn't improve after 3-4 weeks
  • it's very difficult to move your arm or elbow
  • the pain started after an injury or accident, like a fall
  • you are finding it difficult to manage work

We provide a confidential service to all staff and deliver specialist occupational health advice to management.


Opening Times: Monday - Friday 09.00 - 17.00

Occupational Health Service
1st Floor Denbigh House
University Hospital of Wales
Heath Park
CF14 4XW
Tel: 029 2074 3264 (43264 from an internal phone)