Wrist Pain: When to See a Physiotherapist

Wrist pain can be a frustrating and limiting experience, impacting everything from your ability to work to your performance in sports or even simple day-to-day activities. Given the complex structure of the wrist, encompassing various bones, tendons, and ligaments, determining the exact cause of wrist pain can be challenging. So, when should you consult a physiotherapist for your wrist pain in Singapore? Let’s delve into this crucial question.

Common Causes of Wrist Pain

Wrist pain can emanate from a myriad of sources, including but not limited to:

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Characterised by numbness, tingling, and pain due to pressure on the median nerve in the wrist.
  2. Tendinitis: Inflammation or tendon irritation, typically caused by repetitive motion or overuse.
  3. Fractures and Sprains: Accidents and injuries can lead to broken bones or stretched ligaments, causing immediate and often severe pain.
  4. Arthritis: Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are capable of affecting the wrist, leading to persistent pain.
  5. Ganglion Cysts: These are fluid-filled lumps that can form along the tendons or joints of the wrist, often causing discomfort or pain.

Signs You Should Consult a Physiotherapist

Persistent Pain

If your wrist pain persists for several days and doesn’t improve with basic home treatments like rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), it’s advisable to consult a physiotherapist.

Restricted Mobility

Difficulty performing everyday tasks involving wrist movements, such as gripping objects or typing, indicates that you need professional assessment and intervention.

Swelling or Deformity

Visible swelling, bruising or any deformity in the wrist area should prompt immediate consultation with a healthcare professional.

Weakness or Numbness

If you experience a sense of weakness, tingling or numbness in the wrist or hand, this could signify nerve compression or other serious issues.

What to Expect During Your Physiotherapy Session

  1. Assessment: Your physiotherapist will typically start by asking about the history of your wrist pain and may perform a range of motion tests and imaging scans to diagnose the issue.
  2. Treatment Plan: Depending on the diagnosis, a tailored treatment plan can include exercises to improve strength and flexibility, manual therapy, or even modalities like ultrasound or laser therapy.
  3. Pain Management: Techniques for managing pain, including hot/cold therapy and sometimes even acupuncture, may be included in your treatment regime.
  4. Education: Physiotherapists also provide valuable advice on how to modify your daily activities to prevent the recurrence of wrist pain.

Preventative Tips

  1. Ergonomic Considerations: If you spend a lot of time typing or doing repetitive tasks, ensure your workspace is ergonomically designed to reduce strain on your wrist.
  2. Regular Breaks: Taking short breaks to stretch and relax your wrist can be incredibly beneficial.
  3. Strength and Flexibility: Regularly exercising the wrist can help maintain its strength and flexibility, thus reducing the risk of injury.


Wrist pain can significantly disrupt your daily life, and while minor aches and strains may heal on their own, persistent or severe symptoms should never be ignored. A physiotherapist can provide expert diagnosis and a customised treatment plan that addresses the cause of your wrist pain, thereby speeding up recovery and preventing future complications.