A sprain in the wrist occurs when its ligaments—the strong bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to one another within its three joints—get overstretched or torn.
Wrist sprains are quite common among athletes, particularly those who participate in sports that involve repetitive hand movement (e.g., tennis and boxing) and those associated with increased risk of falls (e.g., basketball, skateboarding, and gymnastics).
If you’re involved in any of these sports, here’s what you need to know about the symptoms of a wrist sprain and what you can do to both prevent and treat it.
Wrist Sprain Signs and Symptoms
The following are the common symptoms of a wrist sprain:
- Severe pain
- Limited mobility in the wrist joint
- Popping or tearing sensation in the wrist
It is worth noting that the symptoms of sprains are similar to those of strains and some types of fractures, and thus, it pays to see an orthopedic specialist for an accurate diagnosis.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and order diagnostic imaging, such as X-ray and MRI, to confirm a diagnosis and determine the severity of your sprain: mild, moderate, or severe.
With their findings, your physician will recommend the appropriate intervention, to address your symptoms and ensure proper healing and effective functional restoration.
R.I.C.E. is usually the first-line treatment for wrist sprains and, if you have a mild case, it may be all you need to facilitate healing.
RICE stands for:
- Ice (15 minutes on and 15 minutes off)
- Compression with an ACE bandage or other stabilizer
- Elevation of the wrist above heart level
Additional therapies include:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories;
- Physical therapy, to reduce swelling, improve flexibility, and provide support as needed; and
- Surgery, if you sustained a complete tear.
Here are a few strategies you can employ to minimize your risk of sustaining wrist sprains:
- Be aware of the risks your sport or occupation poses. Wear supportive devices, such as wrist guards or protective tape when participating in your sport to help support your wrist and protect it from bending too far backward, in case you fall.
- Wear appropriate shoes, particularly those with good traction to minimize your risk of falls (and consequently, of landing on your hand).
- When you feel pain, don’t ignore it—stop. Pain is essentially your body’s way of telling you that you’ve pushed it too far.
Treatment for Sprained Wrist in North Dakota
For first-rate orthopedic care in North Dakota, visit us here at The Bone & Joint Center. Our board-certified orthopedic specialists utilize innovative treatment modalities to treat the full spectrum of musculoskeletal problems, including all types of sprains.
Give us a call at (800) 424-2663 to arrange an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. We have 11 locations across North Dakota, and we take great pleasure in serving you and your family!