Wrist sprain is a common condition that results due to stretching, wear and tear, and injury to ligaments in the wrist. The sprain ranges from mild to severe depending upon the damage to the ligaments. It is a common injury among players who play boxing, hockey, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, weightlifting, etc. and occurs due to repeated use of the wrist joint and twisting movements.
Wrist sprain can occur during day-to-day activities or during sports and other recreational activities. Some causes of wrist sprain include
- Fall onto an outstretched hand
- Falling on a hard surface while playing sports such as snowboarding, skateboarding, cycling, etc
- Lifting heavy objects
- Weak or inflexible tendons or ligaments
- Repeated strain due to overuse
Many other factors often lead to wrist sprain and these include poor conditioning, fatigue, slippery surface, improper warm up etc.
- Pain at the time of injury
- Discoloration of the skin
- A popping sound
- Inability to move the joint
When the patient visits the orthopedic doctor he will physically examine the wrist and enquire about previous injuries and medical history. He will review your symptoms and recommend certain imaging tests that will help in confirming the sprain. These tests include X-rays, CT scan, MRI and Arthrogram.
If the sprain is mild, it can be treated with resting the joint for one or two days, applying ice pack to the swelled area for 20 minutes, compressing the swelling with an elastic bandage and elevating the injured wrist above the level of the heart. The patient can get relief with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. By immobilizing the wrist, the patient can treat the sprain without any surgery. To avoid the stiffness due to immobilization, the physician often recommends some stretching exercises.
In case of severe sprains, the ligament has to be reconnected to the bone surgically. The wrist doctor will decide whether the patient needs surgery. After surgery, the patient has to undergo a period of rehabilitation, which helps the patient recover the strength and motion to the joint.
As the wrist sprain occurs mainly due to falling on the wrist; therefore, to avoid the sprain, one should be careful while walking on wet or slippery surface. Sportspersons should use wrist guard splints or protective tape, which offers support to the wrist and prevents bending of the wrist.