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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of wrist pain. METHODS: Systematic review. DATA SOURCES: The MEDLINE and EMBASE via OVID, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus via EBSCO databases were searched from database inception to 9th March 2018. Specific criteria were used to define inclusion and exclusion. Data was extracted independently by a pair of reviewers. RESULTS: In total 32 cross sectional studies were identified for inclusion (1 with a longitudinal component). The median prevalence of wrist pain in the general population and non-manual workers within the short term (within last week) was 6 and 4.2% within the medium term (> 1 week and within a year). The median prevalence of wrist pain in physically demanding occupations and sports people was 10% within the short term and 24% within the medium term. Non-modifiable factors associated with wrist pain included increased age (1 study in adults and 3 studies in children/adolescents) and female sex (2 studies). Modifiable risk factors included high job physical strain (2 studies), high job psychological strain (1 study), abnormal physeal morphology in children/adolescents (2 studies), high frequency impact tool use (1 study) and effort reward imbalance (1 study). CONCLUSIONS: Wrist pain is highly prevalent in groups who partake in physically demanding activities from day to day such as manual labourers and sportspeople. It is less prevalent in the general population and non-manual workers, although there is a relative lack of research in the general population. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The review protocol was registered with PROSPERO under the registration number CRD42018090834. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 1 (Prognostic study).

Original publication




Journal article


Bmc musculoskelet disord

Publication Date





Epidemiology, Pain, Prevalence, Review, Risk factors, Systematic review, Wrist, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Arthralgia, Athletic Injuries, Biomechanical Phenomena, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Job Description, Male, Middle Aged, Occupational Diseases, Occupational Health, Prevalence, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Workload, Wrist Injuries, Wrist Joint, Young Adult