Read below about wrist weakness, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your wrist weakness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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9 Potential Wrist Weakness Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

    Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is the compression of the nerves and/or blood vessels that run through the upper chest. It can occur as a result of trauma, surgery, growths in the body, or just randomly.

    Resolves with treatment (30% relapse)

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, arm weakness, arm numbness, pain in one shoulder blade
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Als)

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. This progressive, neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells.

    Lifelong

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, decreased exercise tolerance, difficulty concentrating, difficulty walking, hoarse voice
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue.

    Fibromyalgia is generally a lifelong condition

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, arthralgias or myalgias, anxiety, depressed mood, headache
    Symptoms that always occur with fibromyalgia:
    arthralgias or myalgias
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Andersen - Tawil Syndrome

    Andersen-Tawil Syndrome is a rare inherited disorder that predisposes patients to cardiac arrhythmias such as long QT intervals, as well as unusual facial features.

    Life-long genetic condition.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    racing heart beat, facial asymmetry, abnormally high heartrate, brief fainting episode, leg weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  5. 5.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Recovery time varies depending on treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, weakness in one hand, pain in both hands
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Upper Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    The pain associated with a slipped disk usually goes away within six weeks. If the pain lasts longer, consult a doctor. They may send you to see a back specialist for an MRI of your spine, and surgery may be considered.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    upper back pain, neck pain, arm weakness, back pain that gets worse when sitting, upper spine pain
    Symptoms that always occur with herniated (slipped) disk in the upper back:
    upper back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Limb - Girdle Muscular Dystrophy

    Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy is an inherited disorder that involves varying muscle weakness and wasting.

    This genetic disorder is considered irreversible, but symptoms can be effectively managed with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    muscle aches, weakness, arm weakness, leg weakness, shoulder weakness
    Symptoms that always occur with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy:
    weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Uterine Fibroids

    Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors in the uterus. They are common in women of childbearing age.

    Treatment ranges from medication to surgical removal of the fibroid.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, irregular period
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Kienbock Disease

    Kienbock Disease is a condition where the blood going to one of the small bones in the wrist is disrupted, causing the bone to die and the wrist to become stiff and painful. The cause is not known but may be related to trauma to the wrist.

    Life long, the wrist is damaged permanently

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    hand weakness, wrist pain from an injury, pain in the back of the wrist, wrist pain that gets worse when gripping something, difficulty moving the wrist
    Symptoms that always occur with kienbock disease:
    wrist pain from an injury, pain in the back of the wrist
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Wrist Weakness

  • Q.The weakness affects:
  • Q.About your [shoulder], do you notice any of the following?
  • Q.Turn your head toward the side of your body that is hurting. Lift your head up as someone else pushes down on your head. Does this cause greater pain in your upper body? (This is known as Spurling's test.)
  • Q.About your [forearm], do you notice:

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our wrist weakness symptom checker to find out more.

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Wrist Weakness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced wrist weakness have also experienced:

    • 14% Hand Weakness
    • 11% Forearm Weakness
    • 11% Upper Arm Weakness
  • People who have experienced wrist weakness had symptoms persist for:

    • 46% Over a Month
    • 17% Less Than a Day
    • 16% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced wrist weakness were most often matched with:

    • 5% Fibromyalgia
    • 1% Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
    • 1% Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Als)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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