Bump on the wrist

Introduction - What is a wrist bump?

A bump is generally a protrusion of the skin due to tissue swelling. This tissue swelling can present itself without any side effects or it can be reddish and warm. The consistency of the bump can also vary, ranging from knotty to flat and hard to relatively soft.

Causes - where is the bump coming from?

A common cause of bumps is a bump or fall, causing tissue damage, including small vessels, and causing more blood to flow to the damaged area. Repair mechanisms are set in motion there, so that the tissue swells due to the increased local blood and other factors contained in the blood.

Another cause of a bump can be an insect bite. The bump itches or hurts, becomes red and warm. A fall can also be a cause of a bump. If the fall on the wrist has caused a fracture and the bone shifts, one can see a distinct, sometimes misshapen bulge. This is already painful to touch or move. A ganglion on the wrist also causes a bump. There is a natural protrusion on the wrist on the side of the little finger. This is the styloid process of the ulna, which is somewhat prominent in many people.

Read more about the topic here: Broken wrist and swelling after an insect bite


A ganglion is a bulging, elastic, sliding protrusion. This is created by a protuberance of the synovial membrane, whereby synovial fluid is pressed into the resulting widening via a stem. More synovial fluid flows into the protrusion via a valve mechanism, but cannot flow back into the joint space. Therefore, a ganglion can grow very quickly. In many cases, ganglia can be found on the back of the hand, but they can also appear on tendon sheaths. Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are particularly affected.

Find out more about the topics here:

  • Ganglion on the wrist
  • Tendinitis on the arm

After a fall

A fall on the hand or wrist can often cause something more serious to happen. If the wrist hurts after a fall, swells quickly and becomes warm, this can indicate a fracture. Additional signs of a fracture include pain in the affected area when touched or moved.

A sure sign of a break is that the hand protrudes from the forearm at a non-physiological angle. This means that the position of the hand in relation to the arm no longer corresponds to the normal range of motion that one can normally do with the hand.

But if you fall on the palm of your hand, the back of your hand or directly on the wrist, you do not have to break directly. A bruise can also cause the area to swell, redden, and warm. If you experience pain after a fall, you should always consult a doctor.

Here you can find out everything about the topic: Wrist fractures

Concomitant symptoms

Depending on where the bump is and what the actual cause is, various accompanying symptoms can occur.
If the bump is on the inside of the wrist, bending of the hand to the forearm may be restricted, as the flexor tendons could be blocked by the mass of the bump. Furthermore, clenching the fist may no longer be completely possible. The flexion of individual fingers could also be restricted.

If the bump is in the palm of the hand and extends deep into the tissue, depending on the topographical location, nerves can be irritated. The median and ulnar nerves can be particularly affected. This can lead to symptoms like those of the carpal tunnel syndrome with restrictions of the median nerve - tingling and numbness in the palm of the hand, as well as insufficient flexion of the thumb, index and middle finger.
Read more about the topic here: Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

Symptoms of irritation of the ulnar nerve can manifest themselves as tingling and numbness on the little finger side, as in Loge de Guyon syndrome.

If the bump is on the back of the hand, the extension of the whole hand or individual fingers may be restricted. Here, too, there may be a tingling sensation or abnormal sensations up to the fingertips or the elbow.


In many cases, a bump can go painless, but often the skin feels tight. If pain occurs, the intensity, radiation and pain character can vary widely. In terms of the nature of the pain, a distinction can be made between a dull, dull and sharp pain. Furthermore, it can be movement-dependent or permanent. If it is a ganglion, it can often remain painless. Pain usually occurs when tendons are pinched due to the mass or nerves are irritated by the growing tissue.


The diagnosis is backed up by a multi-stage process. First of all, a suspected diagnosis is made based on the anamnesis. The time at which the bump appeared, pain and other symptoms such as paresthesia or restricted mobility can all indicate a diagnosis. If you have any idea what the bump might be, further tests will try to confirm the diagnosis. Options such as sonography with an ultrasound head, Doppler sonography or a puncture of the bump are available. Especially if a ganglion is suspected on the palm of the hand, Doppler sonography is used to check whether vessels or tendons are also affected. Other imaging methods such as MRT (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) can also be used in special cases.

Treatment and therapy

Treatment and therapy options differ depending on what the diagnosis of the bump is. If the bump is an insect bite, you can use conventional means such as cool packs or creams against insect bites. If the sting does not swell as a result, but continues to look red and feels warm, you should definitely consult a doctor, as it could be an inflammation.
Find out more about the topic here: Insect bite - first aid and emergency measures

If the bump swells, hurts to the touch and discolored like a bruise, you can also use a cool pack to help. If a ganglion has been confirmed diagnostically, for example by sonography, it does not necessarily have to be treated. A ganglion can be left untreated as long as it does not cause discomfort or aesthetically disturb. However, if symptoms do occur, there are several options.
On the one hand, you can puncture the ganglion and suck off the fluid. After that, cortisone is often injected into the cyst cavity to try to prevent it from being refilled with synovial fluid.
On the other hand, the ganglion can be resected in a small operation with local anesthesia. Another option is the arthroscopic removal of the ganglion, which is mainly used for ganglia on the back of the hand. Since ganglia are very prone to recurrence, another operation after the first one may well be possible. Under no circumstances should a ganglion be treated yourself!

If the bump is a fracture, the further course of action will be decided depending on the type and location of the fracture site. The treatment can be different, from surgery to conservative therapy using a plaster splint.


If the bump is a bruise or an insect bite, the volume should return to normal within a week. If a wrist fracture is the diagnosis, therapy can last up to several weeks.

Treatment for a ganglion on the wrist is usually short. After the puncture or the surgical procedure, the full range of motion is usually guaranteed. There are exceptions to extensive interventions in which blood vessels, tendons and nerves can also be damaged, so that immobilization of the wrist or hand for a few days may make sense. After the treatment, physiotherapy can help to exercise the full range of motion of the hand.

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