What is Wrist Sprain?
A wrist sprain is an injury that occurs when your wrist is forced out of its normal range of motion, usually in a bending or twisting motion. This injury can be painful, but it can also cause instability in the wrist.
What causes Wrist Sprain?
The wrist is at the point where the lower arm and the hand meet. The radius and ulna meet the carpal bones at the end of the hand. The carpal bones, which are formed in two rows, then meet with the metacarpals, which meet with the fingers. The radius, ulna, and metacarpals are joined together with ligaments. The joint capsule is a sac that encloses the ligaments and bones in the wrist. A wrist sprain occurs when the ligaments and joint capsule are injured.
The most common cause of wrist sprains is falling onto an outstretched hand. When you attempt to break a fall with your hand, the force of impact pushes your hand backward, which means your ligaments and wrist joint capsule can be stretched or even torn. This injury may also be caused by forcefully twisting or bending the wrist inwards. These injuries can happen in sports, car accidents, fights, or accidents in the home.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of a sprained wrist can vary depending on the injury's location and severity, but often include pain, weakness, and difficulty moving the wrist. Some swelling and bruising may also take place. If a serious injury to a ligament has taken place, you may also notice a popping or shifting of the wrist bones when you move your wrist.
If your doctor suspects you have sprained your wrist, the diagnosis may be confirmed with an x-ray. The use of an x-ray on the hand and wrist can help rule out a fracture, as well as determine that the bones are correctly positioned. Your doctor may also order other imaging studies, such as an MRI or arthrogram, or a procedure using an arthroscope to diagnose and treat any ligament tears.
How is Wrist Sprain treated?
Wrist sprains are often able to be treated conservatively. Self-treatment with taping and rest is often effective for very mild sprains. This treatment is especially common in sports. However, if pain in the wrist continues for several days after the injury, you may need to seek medical treatment. The initial treatment is often RICE, or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. In addition to this, medication to reduce swelling may be recommended. You may also benefit from hand therapy while the sprain heals, in order to treat stiffness and improve joint strength. If the injury is very severe, it may require surgery. Surgery may also be necessary if conservative treatments fail to have an effect or if too much time takes place before treating a severe injury.