Wrist bursitis is the inflammation or irritation of the bursae, small sacs of fluid located between bone, muscle, tendons and skin, that lubricate the joint to prevent friction, rubbing and irritation.

Bursae are located throughout the body, and there are two in the wrist – the ulnar bursa and the radial bursa. When they are working properly, the wrist moves smoothly and painlessly. When excess fluid builds up in the bursa sac, the resulting swelling and inflammation can cause wrist pain.

Bursitis can be caused by a sudden impact, but is most often the result of repetitive friction and overuse of the joint. It is common in people who participate in sports that require frequent throwing or wrist twisting movements, such as baseball, badminton and tennis.

The symptoms include swelling in the wrist, tenderness over the tendons, and pain when putting pressure on the bursa or bending the wrist backward.

A visit with a hand subspecialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group is always recommended when you have wrist pain. There are many conditions that can affect the wrist and arm, and your symptoms may be related to something other than bursitis, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, a sprain or a fracture.

Most cases of wrist bursitis can be relieved with conservative treatment, such as rest, ice or cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medication and a compression bandage to help reduce swelling, and surgery is not usually necessary.