Wrist and Thumb Pain

About a month and a half ago I started noticing a sore spot on the inside of my left wrist, right where the wrist connects to my hand.  It just felt like a bruise.  It gradually got worse, so that it hurt when I moved my hand, and especially when I twist my wrist in any way.  Now I wake up in the morning almost crying from the pain. 

This weekend I started to feel the same kind of pain in my right wrist.  Before this, I figured it was some kind of motion-related injury.  I've been taking asprin and trying to be very careful about my wrist movements, and hoping that this would clear up on it's own.  Now that my right wrist has started hurting, I'm getting a little paranoid that this could be T1 or autoimmune related.  Has anyone else experienced anything like this?



My input will not be of much help to you, but it may at least help you rule out something:  carpal tunnel.  I have had both of my hands/wrists operated on in the past year for carpal tunnel.  However, the symptoms were not at all like what you describe.  In the beginning, my fingertips would tingle.  That progressed to pain which moved through my entire hands.  The worst was when I was sleeping, but I would also feel it while I was driving or even just holding a telephone to my ear.

Again, my symptoms were very different but I thought you could rule this one out!

Thanks for your reply.  I went to a neurologist yesterday and he did diagnose me with carpal tunnel.  I'm wearing hand and wrist braces on both hands now.  Did your doctor say the carpal tunnel was a result of your T1?  My doctor said my nerves looked really healthy when he did tests on my left arm, but then noticed problems when he tested my right arm.  He said the carpal tunnel could be caused by my T1 and thyroid disease.

Did the operation help you?  He said I might need it.


Hi Molly,

If you're anything like me, your first reaction was "Oh, good, it's "just" carpal tunnel and not diabetic nerve damage!"  Sounds strange, but that really was my first reaction, one of relief!  As far as being caused by my T1D, the doctors never really said that.  They said that it is a bit more common in Type 1 diabetics, but that's about it.  Carpal tunnel is definitely not an "official" complication of Type 1 diabetes - at least, it hasn't been added to the lengthy list yet!

Are you right-handed, like me?  My condition was also worse in the right arm, but it seems to make more sense because being right-handed, I would be using it a lot more.

The operations, done about 6 months apart, weren't a huge deal.  Of course, I did get pretty nervous, but the operation is done while you're awake; they give you alocal anesthetic.  You feel some pressure in the wrist as the surgeon is working, but it's over so quickly that you barely have time to react!  From the time I walked into the operating room to the time I walked back out, it was only about 15 minutes!

As far as pain right after the operation, I think it all depends on the person.  For my first one, I was fine right after but later that night and right through the next day, it was very painful!  For the second one, I was fine.  In fact, I went to a wedding the next day!  LOL

Now that I am all healed up, I am so thankful to have had the operations.  No more pain, no more tingling, no more numbness!  It's wonderful!!!  Be aware that the operation is not successful sometimes, according to my surgeon, but that's only on a very small percentage of patients, something like 3 to 5%.

I hope this helps!  All the best!



Lol!  I also thought "oh, awesome, it's not my nerves!" when he said my nerves in my left arm looked healthy.  Sure, having carpal tunnel sucks, but if it's not a complication I'm hardly worried about it.  I'm going to have to go back to my family doctor soon and figure out what I need to do.  I am right handed, which is interesting...

Thank you for your story about the surgery.  I was majorly stressing out over the prospect of having to get surgery on my hands/wrists.  Good to know that it wasn't a huge deal!

Thanks again for all of your help,


Hi Molly,

I had carpal tunnel surgery.....my doc didn't say there was anything related to diabetes about it.  I worked as a cashier in high school for a couple years and then worked at Utz Quality Foods, Inc as a packer.....constant use of the wrists...I experienced the same problems you did....tingling and aches that woke me up every night.  I had to sleep with my arms haning over the edge of the bed.  I had surgery on both wrists and I must say that I hardly ever experience any symptoms since.  I was definitely glad I had the surgery.  Just have to be careful afterward to try to get good control of Blood Sugars to prevent infection!  If you are thinking about having surgery, I would definitely suggest it!  It definitely helped me!

Molly... at age 37 I was diagnosed with rhuem/arthritis and it hit my hands/wrist first and the worst!! 30 years later it caused carpal/tunnel bad in right hand/wrist. The surgery for that was a miracle immediately!! Now you know what it is you will be advised what to do :) Good luck...Annette...


Thank you for your response.  It has been quite a while since I updated this post, and some things have changed since then...

I went to a month of physical therapy for my wrist problems, where I was actually diagnosed with Dequervain's Tenosynovitis in both wrists.  Apparently I have carpal tunnel syndrome too, but it's mild and the Dequervain's was actually the source of pain, not the carpal tunnel.  So, I went to a month of physical therapy with no improvement, at which point they terminated my therapy and recommended cortisone injections.  I wanted to figure out WHY this was happening before I did something like the cortisone injection to treat it.

I began researching Dequervain's and found out that Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause it.  At this point, I highly suspect that that is what I have.  Dequervain's is usually caused by an injury (I never injured myself) and is usually not present in BOTH wrists!  There are also other symptoms of RA that I have - swelling in my hands, legs, ankles, and feet, and pain in my knee.  I'm going to a Rheumatologist on Friday, so I guess I'll find out soon what's really going on.

It's so frustrating because no doctor has been helping me figure this out!  I keep having to put the pieces together myself, find the appropriate doctors myself.  I just hope I finally figure out what's wrong because the pain is not getting any better.  If you don't mind me asking, how do you treat your RA?



Hi Molly!!

I have been on so many drugs for R.A. I cannot remember the names! First thing was 15 asprin a day... 3 every 4 hours..

then numerous other drugs... all were just pain killers.. thats basically all there was.. my hands/wrist were so painful that one night I screamed at my husband to go out and get me some pot!!  Poor John .. he had no idea where to even go look for some ;)

Luckily the miracle drugs came along... for a few years now I have given myself an injection of Humira... started at once every two weeks... now once every two months. I was crippled at times but you couldnt tell I had RA now I look so healthy.. exercise a lot [walkies my favourite] am in super shape... and rarely take a celebrex. These major drugs stop the swelling of the joints which is where RA attacks. I am so so blessed.

It is another auto-immune disease like juv/diabetes.... in fact my 55 yr old  brother who also has J.D. developed arthritis so... seems to perhaps be diabetes related.

The pain of RA can get excrusiating...  so anything that can reduce the joint sweeling is whats needed. And dr said thats what caused the CTS in my right hand. 

I have had the same Rheumatologist for 24 years..he was a virgin when I found him lol


Let me know how it goes with your Rheumatologist... and     good luck!!!!!


We are our own best physicians!!



UPDATE:  I do not have Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus.  I DO have Osteoarthritis in my knee and some form on inflammation in my blood (I guess he can't identify/categorize it) that he is attributing to my T1D.  I got a prednisone injection in my right wrist.  It felt great for a few days, but now hurts just as bad as it originally did.  I am going back for more injections, and I will update this post with any progress just so that there's accurate information here in case this happens to someone else!

My rheumatologist also has me on twice-daily naproxen, although I've tried cutting back on that a little when my family Doctor expressed concern that it could hurt my Kidneys.

I am definitely glad that I don't have R.A. or Lupus, but I have to admit that it is very frustrating to not come to a definite conclusion regarding what is causing this pain.  Just blame it on the D.  Lol

Thanks again everyone for responding and offering up information and personal experience.  It certainly has helped me a lot in figuring this all out.