What are the signs of a sprained wrist?
Sprains occur when ligaments are damaged, torn, or stretched too far. Ligaments are the strong tissues that connect bones to other bones and help stabilize joints. In the wrist, a sprain is usually the result of a fall or injury that causes the hand to bend forcefully. Many wrist sprains are caused by a fall during normal everyday activities. Tripping and catching yourself on an outstretched hand is the most common cause. Sports and outdoor recreation are also activities that frequently result in sprains. Since these injuries generally occur very suddenly, the best ways to avoid a sprain include using wrist guards or protective tape, and using caution when walking in wet or slippery conditions.
Symptoms and signs of a sprained wrist
Chances are, if you have a sprain, you’ll know it. Wrist sprains are painful and can show themselves through
- tenderness to touch
- warmth around injured area
- popping or tearing sound in the wrist
Treating the signs of a sprained wrist
For minor strains, use RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. In conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications, this process should help reduce minor pain and swelling. Moderate strains may need to be immobilized for a period of time using a splint or brace. Your doctor may also advise a specific stretching routine to help you regain full mobility. Severe strains or strains involving a ligament tear may require surgery. This process involves reattaching the ligament to the bone or using a graft to reconstruct the ligament. If your doctor deems this necessary, he or she will talk to you about which options are best.
When to see a doctor
When in doubt, it is a good idea to see an orthopedic doctor for your wrist pain. They can help you determine the severity of your sprain and whether or not it will require treatment to heal. A sprain may very well heal on its own, but even minor injuries can result in a torn ligament. These do not heal on their own, but require surgery to avoid long-term problems. Also, what may seem like a sprain may actually be a fracture. If these fractures go untreated, they can result in improper healing that requires surgery down the road. If you are experiencing the signs of a sprained wrist, visit the Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. Our specialists will assess your injury and create an effective treatment plan.