Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ

Question:

I have a bone cyst on top of a bony bump they call carpal boss. I don't want to have surgery. I once had my shoulder injected and it worked great. Would an injection be of any help for this problem?

Answer:

Carpal boss is an extra amount of bone growth in the wrist. Sometimes the extra bone is called an exostosis. It can develop in utero (before birth in the womb). Or it can occur as a result of micro-trauma in the wrist from repetitive motions.

Joint injection is usually done with a numbing agent combined with a steroid drug. Painful symptoms from inflammation can be helped with this technique. But in the case of carpal boss, steroid injections have not been shown to help provide symptomatic relief. This may be because the pain comes from joint instability, not an acute inflammatory process.

Most experts agree that painful symptoms from carpal boss require surgery. Conservative care is always tried first in order to avoid complications from surgery. But with a protective cyst forming over the bony bump, you may not get pain relief without surgery. Min J. Park, MMSc, et al. The Carpal Boss: Review of Diagnosis and Treatment. In Journal of Hand Surgery. March 2008. Vol. 33A. No. 3. Pp. 446-449.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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