For all sorts of people and athletes and people, the sprain of the wrist is a common injury. This occurs because of loss of balance and usually a fall. When a person skids, in an instinctive manner sticks his/her hand stop the fall. However, once the hands hit the ground, due to the force exerted it bends backward in the direction of your forearm. In this case, the ligaments which connect the hand bones and the wrist can get stretched. Sometimes this causes small tears or even a serious case where the ligament is completely broken.
Apart from the fall, the wrist pains are also caused by applying high levels of pressure or twisting the wrist, also being hit on the wrist. The sprain of the wrists usually occurs with baseball players, gymnasts, divers, skiers, particularly when they fall they are holding the stick, skateboarders, skaters, inline skates, and basketball players. Apart from these people, it can be experienced by people who fall or gets hit on the wrist.
When a person sprains his wrist, the symptoms that will be seen area swelling, pain, loss of motion, weakness, softness, and warmth around the injury, and feeling a popping or tearing in the wrist.
The physician will prescribe a complete physical exam. He might also advise am MRI which a magnetic resonance imaging, an X-ray, a special kind of MRI or X-ray done after a dye is injected into the wrist known as arthrograms, a minimally invasive surgery in which a tiny camera is inserted into the twist known as arthroscopy.
Generally, the sprains are divided into three grades, grade 1 involves pain with minimal damage to the ligament, grade 2 involves pain, increased serious ligament damage, experiencing a feeling of looseness to the joint, and not being able to function and grade 3 involves pain, a completely torn ligament, serious looseness of the joint and not being able to function.
Minor and moderate and temperate wrist-pains will heal on their own, however, they will require some time. To enhance the healing process one can rest the wrist for 48 hours and make sure that no activity is performed with that wrist, to decrease the pain and the swelling it would be advisable to keep some ice on the wrist, this should be done for every three to four hours for two to three days and it should be done for 20 to 30 minutes, sometimes this can be continued till the pain is reduced.
Make sure the hand is rested on a pillow or the higher platform as frequently as possible. To reduce the swelling and the redness, make sure you take pain killers. Medicines like Aleve, Motrin, or Advil which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines will assist in reducing the swelling and the pain. Whereas, these medications, can have after-effects, for instance, the risk of bleeding and ulcers. One should make sure that these drugs are taken only as per the advice of the doctor and should not be taken without consultation with the doctor.
When a person has a sprained wrist he needs to make sure that the wrist is kept in a constant position, for this he can make use of a splint or a cast. However, this should be done only for a short period of time, until one consults their doctor. Once a person consults their doctor and he examines the sprain, they should follow the instruction of the doctor and take the advice of the doctor of whether to use the splint or not. The reason that we are discussing this is that, in certain cases, using a splint can cause muscle weakness and more stiffness.
Physical exercises are recommended like stretching and strengthening if your doctor advises them. To assist the person in choosing the program which is suitable for their condition, it is advisable for the person to consult an occupational or physical therapist. In some cases when the sprain is grade 3 and is more serious, this might require surgery, because the ligament is snapped.
To mitigate the pain and to reinstate the normal functioning of the wrist are the main goals of treating wrist pains. Generally, the treatment which does not need surgeries is enough to treat these sprains. In cases where we have discussed above, if the sprain is severe and the treatment not involving the surgery is not producing the results, in such cases the doctor might advise for surgery.
People might experience osteoarthritis of the wrist if they do not receive the proper treatment for wrist ligament injuries which are traumatic. Before treating the wrist sprain, some aspects are to be taken into account like the condition of the ligament after the sprain where the treatment alternatives differ as per the condition of the injured ligament. Where some injuries might be treated with braces or casts, others might need minimally invasive or open surgeries to reconstruct or safeguard the ligaments which have been affected.
Also, the capability of the ligament to heal, if the ends of the ligament which are damaged does not heal in a uniform manner or if the ligament tissue is not getting a proper amount of blood supply, the healing capacity of the ligament is significantly decreased.
Condition of the surrounding parts should also to take into account, where healing is usually easier if other ligaments in the wrist and the carpal bones are not damaged.
The state in which the cartilage is also matters because the cartilage in the wrist might be damaged at the same time as the ligament. Also after the injury to the ligament, if there is pressure put on it, there is a chance that the cartilage gets injured.
Let us have a look at the non-surgical treatment which heal the sprain of the wrist. Moderate wrist sprains can be healed with non-surgical treatments. Common procedures to reduce the pain from wrist pain and support the healing are as under
There is a protocol by the name PRICE which assists in avoiding additional injury to the wrist which includes; protecting the joint to prevent additional injury and preventing any daily activities that apply pressure on the person’s wrist, resting which involves providing adequate time for the injury to heal, ice therapy to the injured region by keeping ice packs at constant intervals with breaks in between to decrease the swelling and numb the pain, compressing the wrist with an elastic bandage or a wrap to reduce swelling and give support, elevating the wrist above the level of the person’s heart to avoid pooling around of the blood in the injured region.
This kind of treatment is efficient for the healing process, particularly for the first 24 to 72 hours following the injury.
Splint around the wrist, wearing a split around the wrist or a brace can assist in decreasing the extreme movement of the joint. This is mainly advised by the doctors because there is the sudden movement of the wrists or the person had use the wrist without intending it, which might increase the pain and cause more damage to the ligament. Therefore, with the recommendation of the doctor, one needs to make sure that they wear a brace or a splint.
Anti-inflammatory drugs or medicine which are non-steroidal are also advisable. These drugs are accessible over the counter and can help in alleviating the pain and swelling at the damaged region after a wrist pain. Certain examples of these kinds of drugs are naproxen sodium and ibuprofen (Advil). The doctors prescribe the strength of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to enhance anti-inflammatory outcomes. As discussed above the dosage of these drugs should be taken as advised by one’s physician.
Physical exercises or therapy can also be of great help, because the physical therapy exercises increase strength, enhance flexibility, and allow functional movements in the wrist. Also one should bear in mind that while performing these physical exercises, this should be done within the limits recommended by the physician because any exercise above the limits can cause further damage to the wrist. Based on the level of injury, a trained physical therapist can create a treatment plan for the wrists which are sprained.
For professional players, it is advisable not to play unless and until the doctor approves. This also applies to people who are working, they can only go back to work if the doctor advises doing so. The reason for this is, when the persons go back to performing their daily tasks against the advice of the doctor, the injury might become worse and there is a high chance of the ligament getting damaged. It is similar to the condition above where we have discussed the physical exercises.
To avoid the risk of after-effects and other elements that might severely affect the healing of the wrist ligaments, it is advisable to have a word with one’s physician, realign to the use of over-the-counter drugs.
As most of the wrist sprains take place because of a fall, it would be advisable to be careful while walking on slippery or wet conditions. We have also discussed above that the wrist sprains are experienced during skiing, skateboarding, and skating. While taking part in these activities, using a wrist guard or protective tape will assist in supporting the person’s wrist and when the person falls, this guard can make sure that the wrist is not bent backward.