Special Tests: What’s Causing My Wrist Pain?

The hand and wrist are vital for helping us manipulate objects, express emotions and perform every day tasks like brushing our hair and carrying groceries. They are the most active part of the upper body, but their mobility can leave them vulnerable to injury. A wrist injury can happen from a sudden accident, overuse or nerve compression. With a total of 28 bones and 20 muscles crossing the wrist, there’s a lot that can go wrong.  However, physical therapists use special tests to help pinpoint the source of wrist pain. Check out our past blogs if you want to learn more about the structures that make up the wrist or common wrist injuries.

Wrist Tests:

Finkelstein’s test:

  • Purpose: to assess for overuse to the tendons of the thumb (De Quervain’s syndrome)
  • Position: form a fist around the thumb
  • Technique: move your fist down as if moving it the opposite direction of the thumb
  • What does it tell us: the test is positive if there is an increased pain response on the side of the thumb. This movement isn’t very comfortable on the tendons of the thumb. It is best to perform this test on both hands and if one wrist is more painful, it is positive.

Wrist varus test:

  • Purpose: to assess the radial collateral ligament
  • Position: stabilize radius/ulna right above the wrist in neutral position
  • Technique: apply a varus stress to the wrist
  • What does it tell us: the test is positive if there is pain at the joint line or with gapping the wrist 

Wrist valgus test:

  • Purpose: to assess the ulnar collateral ligament
  • Position: stabilize radius/ulna right above the wrist in neutral position
  • Technique: apply a valgus stress to the wrist
  • What does it tell us: the test is positive if there is pain at the joint line or with gapping the wrist 

Phalen’s test

Phalen’s Test | Fairlex, Inc

  • Purpose: to assess for carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Position: put the backs of yours hands together so palms are facing away
  • Technique: hold this position for up to 1 minute
  • What does it tell us: the test is positive if numbness or tingling is reproduced with this position

Contact Us!

Got wrist pain? BeneFIT PT wants to help. So if you feel like something is wrong or you are more sore than you should be just give us a call to get that free medical screening scheduled.  For Chester call: (908)-879-5700, Bridgewater: (908)-203-5200.