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Wrist & Hand Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan of the wrist is performed to have a look at the wrist joint and the muscles and tendons surrounding the wrist. It can also be used to get a quick look at the muscles, tendons and bones of the hand and fingers. 

Common conditions

A wrist ultrasound scan is useful in evaluating the following conditions:

  • What is DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis? DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis is inflammation of two tendons that control the movement of the thumb.
  • How common is it?
    It may be seen more commonly in individuals with a history of medial or lateral epicondylitis, but it can also occur if there has been a direct blow to the thumb as well as overuse from repetitive tasks such as gardening and video gaming.
  • Does it affect males and females?
    Is more common in women (1.3%) and only 0.5% of men develop it.
  • What age groups?
    The peak prevalence for this syndrome among men and women is at the age of 40 and 50 years.
  • What are the main symptoms?
    This condition can happen suddenly or gradually. The main symptoms are usually swelling and pain at the base of the thumb, swelling and pain on the side of the thumb and pain along the back of the thumb. Sometimes the pain may travel into the thumb or up to the forearm.
  • How is it tested for?
    The Finkelstein test is the most common test – it involves bending the thumb across the palm, and then the fingers will bend over the thumb to make a fist. This movement stretches the tendons and pain is felt.
  • Is there a cure?
    De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a temporary condition and it responds well to treatment.
  • How is it treated?
    Treatment for de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is aimed at: reducing inflammation and pain with corticosteroid injection into the tendon sheath; preserving movement in the thumb immobilizing the thumb and wrist; preventing recurrence by avoiding repetitive thumb movements as much as possible. If the case is more serious surgery may be needed.
  • What is tendinitis?
    Tendinitis also called overuse tendinopathy and it represents inflammation of a tendon.
  • How common is it?
    It is a common condition often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden more serious injury.
  • Does it affect males and females?
    It affects both men and women.
  • What age groups?
    Anyone can get tendinitis, but it is more common in adults, especially those over the age of 40.
  • What are the main symptoms?
    Common symptoms include: pain or tenderness at or near a joint, especially around a shoulder, wrist, elbow, or ankle; stiffness that, along with the pain, restricts the movement of the joint involved; mild swelling or thickening of the tendon near the joint.
  • How is it tested for?
    Usually tendinitis can be diagnosed during a physical examination, but there are situations when x-rays or other imaging tests are required. 

How is it treated?
Sometimes resting and ice on the affected area may be all the treatment you need. The main goals of tendinitis treatment are to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation using anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, or platelet-rich plasma (PRP). In severe cases surgery may be needed.

A variety of lumps and bumps can appear over the wrist and hand. As well as the way they look sometimes these lumps and bumps can be quite painful especially if on the dominant hand. Ultrasound is an excellent scan for being able to diagnose these lumps. Common lumps and bumps that can present over the wrist and hand include lipomas and ganglions. A lipoma can be defined as a fatty lump and is usually benign. A ganglion is a type of cyst that is the result of joint fluid being forced up towards the surface of the skin. 

Sprains of the wrist are very common after a fall onto the outstretched hand. Often most people will present to their local Emergency Department (A&E) or Urgent Treatment Centre where they will receive an x-ray. X-rays can identify broken bones or fractures. However, they cannot identify soft tissue (i.e. muscle, tendon and ligament) injuries. An ultrasound scan is excellent in this regard and is especially useful for injuries that are taking time to improve or persistently painful. 


Ultrasound scan of the wrist is a safe procedure and has no known risks.

How to prepare

No specific preparation is required for this scan. 

What you can expect

Before your ultrasound, you may be asked to change into a gown and to remove any jewelry. You will be asked to sit on an examination table. 

A radiologist will perform your scan. A small amount of ultrasound gel is applied to your wrist and hand. The gel enables the ultrasound device to provide better images.

The radiologist will gently press an ultrasound probe against various points on your wrist and hand. They will also ask you to move the wrist and fingers into specific positions. Depending upon your symptoms you may experience some pain during this scan. The sonographer will always try to make the scan as comfortable as possible. If you take regular pain medication please have these to hand when you have your scan as you may be a little sore afterwards. A wrist ultrasound scan takes around 30 minutes to complete. 

You will be able to return to normal activities immediately after your scan.


The sonographer will prepare a written report immediately after your scan. You can wait for the written report and should you wish a copy of your scan images can be sent to you via email so you have them to hand at all times.

Follow up with Rejuvence Scans

We always recommend booking in a consultation immediately after your scan with one of our doctors to discuss the results of your scan and to provide advice regarding any further investigations and/or treatment. Further investigations and treatment can include:
Blood tests
Referral to a specialist (Private/NHS)
Referral for further imaging (Private MRI)
* Please note that for referrals back to NHS you will still have to go via your GP but Rejuvence Medical will provide a full report and cover letter in support of the referral.

Ultrasound guided
drainage of bursitis

For immediate symptomatic relief it is possible to perform ultrasound guided drainage of large swellings around the elbow. The fluid drained can also be sent off to the lab to identify the presence of any infection. Following drainage a course of antibiotics will normally be prescribed. 

Ultrasound guided joint injections

Following identification of certain injuries or conditions we are also able to offer ultrasound guided cortisone (steroid) injections. Cortisone injections help to reduce inflammation and if combined with local anaesthetic can provide significant pain relief for upto 6 weeks. 


Using the Angel Arthrex system ultrasound guided biocellular injections can help to accelerate the repair of muscle injuries. This is a treatment elite athletes often use to come back from injury quicker. 

Alternative medical providers

We are connected to NHS digital and the PACS framework. Should you wish your scan images can be sent directly to your NHS GP or hospital consultant. If you have been referred by a private medical practitioner, with your consent, your results will be securely emailed through to them.