Wrist Pain and Elbow Pain
You might wonder if your joint is sprained or broken after a fall. Or maybe you think carpal tunnel syndrome might be the reason for your wrist or elbow pain. You could also be worried that the pain is the first sign of a chronic (lifelong) condition, like arthritis. The truth is that many conditions can cause your wrist or elbow to hurt.
Whether you know the reason for your wrist or elbow pain or it came on unexpectedly, the experts at Cleveland Clinic can help you find relief. Our specialists will give you a quick diagnosis and personalized treatment so pain isn’t a constant in your daily life.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Wrist Pain and Elbow Pain Care?
Our board-certified orthopaedic physicians and surgeons have advanced training and experience treating wrist and elbow pain and doing wrist and elbow surgeries. Meet our team.
Our orthopaedic providers and surgeons work closely with our expert occupational therapists and physician assistants. They play a very important part in the treatment of wrist and elbow issues and are often the first providers you see. If an autoimmune condition, like rheumatoid arthritis, is causing your pain, your care team will include our rheumatology experts, to make sure you get thorough care.
Our providers work to help you heal and recover with the least amount of impact on your life and activities.
We care about you and want to be sure your treatment relieves your pain and gets you back to your daily activities. We’ll follow up with you to make sure you get the care you need.
Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.
We want your care to be as convenient as possible. That’s why we offer virtual visits in addition to in-person appointments. Meet with your provider online, from the comfort of home. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Wrist Pain and Elbow Pain Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
There are many causes of wrist and elbow pain, including:
- Overuse syndrome.
- Bone fractures or dislocation.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve conditions.
- Sprains and strains.
- Tennis elbow.
Because there are many conditions that can cause your wrist or elbow to hurt, we’ll start by talking with you about the pain you’re having and how this pain affects your daily life. Next, we may order X-rays to check for injuries or damage to your elbow joint or wrist bones. Then, we’ll do a physical exam to see how well your nerves how working, your range of motion (how well you can move your wrist or elbow) and check for pain and swelling.
Next, we may order X-rays to check for injuries or damage to your elbow joint or wrist bones. If we need more detailed pictures, we may use other tests, like:
Our experts may also recommend electromyography to diagnose nerve issues. For this test, specialists insert a thin needle with an electrode through your skin to check nerve activity.
Providers Who Treat Wrist Pain and Elbow Pain
LocationsOur healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.
Wrist Pain and Elbow Pain Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
Treatment for wrist pain and elbow pain depends on the cause. But no matter the source, we tailor the treatment plan to meet your needs and goals. If possible, we begin with the least invasive treatment.
Treating wrist and elbow pain without surgery
Wrist and elbow pain doesn’t always mean you have to have surgery. Our providers may recommend:
- Immobilization: Splints, casts or braces can support your joint, protect your bones and limit movement so the area can get better.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications: NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, can reduce pain and swelling.
- Specific exercises: Occupational and physical therapy helps strengthen your wrist and elbow and help you with everyday tasks.
- Injections: Medication, like steroid injections, can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Surgery for wrist and elbow pain
When you need surgery to relieve wrist or elbow pain, you can trust our orthopaedic surgeons for expert care. Depending on what’s causing your pain, we’ll use traditional (open) and minimally invasive surgical techniques (arthroscopy) to remove damaged tissue and bone. Minimally invasive surgery helps reduce pain and swelling and help you recover faster.
We offer several surgical options, including:
- Arthroscopy: In this minimally invasive technique, surgeons make small incisions (cuts) and insert a thin instrument with a lighted camera to view the area. Then, they put small surgical instruments through these incisions to repair damaged bone, nerves and tissue.
- Total wrist replacement (wrist arthroplasty): Surgeons remove damaged bone at your wrist joint and replace it with a prosthesis.
- Total elbow replacement (elbow arthroplasty): Surgeons remove damaged bones in your elbow joint and replace them with an artificial joint (prosthesis).
- Releasing the tendon sheath: This open surgery is typically used to treat De Quervain’s tendinosis. It’s done under local anesthesia (typically a block for your whole arm), and you can usually go home the same day. The technique gets rid of the friction that makes inflammation worse and helps your tendon move easier.
We won’t forget about you after treatment. We’ll check in on you and provide ongoing care to make sure your pain gets better. We’ll ask if you’re still having pain and adjust your treatment if needed. This follow-up care can happen virtually or in person, depending on what’s causing your wrist or elbow pain.
Taking the Next Step
Whether your wrist or elbow pain is new or it’s been bothering you for a while, our team is ready to help. We’ll find the right treatment option for you and guide you through the process. If a chronic condition, like arthritis, is causing your pain, we’ll work with you on changes that can help you manage your symptoms over the long run.
Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s wrist and elbow pain experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.
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