Oftentimes, we use our wrists to break a fall when we lose our balance, leading to a sprained wrist. This injury occurs when the ligaments in your hand are damaged, or torn.
Who is at Risk?
Sprained wrists are common among people who actively bend and stretch their wrists, and who are at risk of falling on the ground, such as athletes. Of all sports injuries, the hand and wrist are always involved, accounting for 3-9 percent of injuries. These sports include baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, cricket, gymnastics, skiing, tennis, and hockey.
Aside from sports activities, people who do strenuous work, such as lifting heavy objects are also at risk of wrist sprains.
Causes of a Sprained Wrist
The most common cause of sprained wrists is using your wrists to break a fall. When you fall and your wrists forcefully land on the ground, the impact can overextend, twist, and even tear your ligaments.
Common Signs and Symptoms of a Sprained Wrist
- Swelling around the wrist area
- Bruising and discoloration
- Intense pain in the affected area
- Tearing sensation
Home Management for a Sprained Wrist
For minor sprain injuries, you can manage your injury using the following methods:
- Refrain from doing any activity with your sprained wrist.
- Put ice on the affected area to reduce the pain and swelling.
- Wrap a bandage around your sprained wrist. This will help immobilize the affected part and prevent swelling.
- Elevate your sprained wrist above the level of your heart.
- Take over-the-counter pain-relief medications.
It is important to prevent your injured wrist from further stress and strain. You can wear a wrist support or brace to immobilize your injury and provide pain relief.
When to Seek Medical Help
If you observe the following signs and symptoms, consult a wrist doctor in Cary immediately:
- Hand deformity. The injured hand may appear crooked or deformed. The best way to find out is to compare it with the other hand. If a deformity is present, it might not be a simple wrist sprain anymore. You might have sustained a broken bone, or fracture.
- Numbness and loss of dexterity
- Limited range of motion
- Swelling that doesn’t go away
The management of wrist sprain depends on the severity of the injury, which is determined through physical assessments and radiologic examination. Mild cases may only require rest, cold compressions, immobilization, and anti-inflammatory medications.
On the other hand, severe cases may require surgery. There are several surgical procedures that may be performed in a single surgery for wrist sprain. If you want more information, don’t hesitate to contact our orthopedic wrist surgeon in Cary.
How to Prevent a Sprained Wrist
To prevent a sprained wrist, or any form of hand injuries, it is important to do regular wrist exercises at least 3 times a day to strengthen your hand muscles. The useful exercises include:
- Wrist flexor stretch. Extend your arms then make the stop gesture.
- Wrist extensor stretch. Extend your arms then hold your palm face up.
- Gently pull your fingers back toward your body with the use of your other hand.
- Squeeze some stress balls to improve your grip strength and develop the muscles of your hand and wrist.
Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic’s wrist doctors in Cary also recommend the following simple measures to keep your wrists strong and healthy:
- Give your hands a break. If possible, take 5 minutes for every hour to let your hands rest, and that means no typing or texting!
- Practice this simple stretch 3-4 times daily: put your arm and elbow out straight, extend your hand and stretch your fingers back with your other hand.
- If you are 35 years or older in age, a daily multivitamin is recommended.
You can also prevent sprained wrists by wearing appropriate gear and using the right equipment. If you play baseball, wear properly-fitting gloves. If you play tennis, make sure that the size and weight of your racket are perfect for your hand. If you ignore simple things like these, then you’ll be more prone to injuring your wrists.
Learn more about Raleigh Orthopedic Clinic
The Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic board-certified fellowship trained hand and upper extremity surgeons bring together many years of experience in diagnosing, managing and correcting various conditions, which can literally run from the fingertips to the elbow.
Treatment of the hand, wrist and elbow is a highly specialized field that deals with a broad set of conditions and symptoms. Many of these hand, wrist and elbow conditions are treated with non-surgical approaches, such as medications, injections, and our on-site hand therapy department. However, when hand surgery is indicated, advanced procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and without a hospital stay.
Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic wrist doctors in Cary (or our other locations) to get specialized treatment with a personal approach.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.