Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have hand- or wrist-related pain and self-care measures — such as avoiding activities that trigger your pain — aren't helping. After an initial exam, your doctor may refer you to an orthopedist, rheumatologist, hand therapist or occupational therapist.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

  • Write down key medical information, including other conditions you have and all medications and supplements you're taking.
  • Note hobbies and activities that may strain your hand or wrist, such as knitting, gardening, playing an instrument, participating in racket sports or performing repetitive workplace activities.
  • Note any recent injuries to your hand or wrist.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Below are some basic questions to ask a doctor who evaluates you for wrist- or hand-related symptoms.

  • What is the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • Do I need tests to confirm the diagnosis?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • I have other health problems. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • How long will I need to avoid the activities that caused my condition?
  • What else can I do on my own to improve my condition?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions, as well.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • What are your symptoms and when did they begin?
  • Have your symptoms been getting worse or staying the same?
  • What activities seem to trigger your symptoms?
  • Do you participate in any hobbies or sports that involve repetitive hand or wrist movements?
  • What tasks do you perform at work?
  • Have you recently had an injury that may have damaged your hand or wrist?
  • Does it help to avoid the activities that trigger your symptoms?
  • Have you tried at-home treatments, such as over-the-counter pain relievers? What, if anything, helps?
June 13, 2015