Your Hand and Wrist

The human hand and wrist are complex structures, which enable us to perform our different occupations, leisure tasks and everyday activities of daily living. 

There are 29 bones in the hand and the wrist. The wrist joint is where the bones of the forearm (the radius and the ulna) meet the bones of the wrist (the carpus). The arrangement of the carpal bones in the wrist enables us to roll the wrist in different directions, so that we can position our hands effectively to carry out a range of daily activities. 

The hand and wrist are supported by a system of muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves; together they enable us to touch, feel and manipulate smaller objects, such as threading a needle, whilst also enabling us to grasp, span the fingers wide, or perform a strong grip, such a holding a hammer. 

What causes hand and wrist pain?

Pain in the hand and wrist can originate in the bones, muscles, ligaments or muscles. The pain you experience may be the result of a new injury, aggravation of an old injury or it may be a condition that has slowly developed over time.

By following some simple advice, many hand and wrist conditions can be managed at home without the need to see a doctor.

When to seek help

There are many different hand injuries, including injuries to the bones, tendons, nerves and ligaments. Many resolve with time but some may need medical help.

If you have injured your hand (for example in a fall) and you are concerned it is not getting better, please consult a healthcare practitioner for best management of this. You can get more advice on different types of hand injury, and how to best manage them by following this link: Hand Injuries | The British Society for Surgery of the Hand (

If your hand pain has developed over time, without a specific injury, the following information may help you to manage and improve your symptoms, without the need for medical help.

The majority of symptoms and pain should get better. Seek advice from your healthcare practitioner if you are concerned, or if your symptoms are not improving with self-management.

Below are links to more information about common conditions affecting the hand and wrist. Click on the image that best represents the area you have symptoms for more details.