The presentation, diagnosis and management of non-traumatic wrist pain: an evaluation of current practice in secondary care in the UK NHS
Dean BJF., Carr A., Trickett RW., Kluzek S., Riley N., Bretherton CP., Wilson MK., Hayton MJ., Rupani NR., Hsieh CCD., Clifton LJ., Dacombe P., Milnes LK., Jayasuriya RL., George HA., Das R., Mayne A., Brown MT., Lipscombe SJ., Eastwood GL., Unsworth RM., Wright LJ., As-Sultany M.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Objectives</jats:title> <jats:p>The study aims were to assess the burden of non-traumatic wrist pain in terms of numbers of referrals to secondary care, and to characterise how patients present, are diagnosed and are managed in secondary care in the United Kingdom National Health Service.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Methods</jats:title> <jats:p>Ten consecutive patients presenting with non-traumatic wrist pain were identified retrospectively at each of 16 participating hospitals and data was extracted for twelve months following the initial referral.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Results</jats:title> <jats:p>The 160 patients consisted of 100 females and 60 males with a median age of 49, accounting for approximately 13% of all new hand/wrist referrals. The dominant wrist was affected in 60% of cases and the mean symptom duration was 13.3 months. Diagnoses were grouped into: osteoarthritis (OA) (31%), tendinopathy (13%), ganglion (14%), ulnar sided pain (17%) and other (25%). The OA group was significantly older than other groups, while other groups contained a predominance of females.</jats:p> <jats:p>The non-surgical interventions in decreasing frequency of usage were: steroid injections (39%), physiotherapy (32%), splint (31%) and analgesics (12%). Of those who underwent surgery, all patients had previously received non-surgical treatment, however 42% had undergone only one non-surgical intervention.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Conclusion</jats:title> <jats:p>Non-traumatic wrist pain represents a significant burden to secondary care both in terms of new patient referrals and in terms of investigation, follow up and treatment. Those presenting with osteoarthritis are more likely to be older and male, while those presenting with other diagnoses are more likely to be younger and female.</jats:p> </jats:sec>