A sprained wrist is one of the most common injuries among athletes. All it takes is one momentary loss of balance, and the force of the fall bends the wrist back toward the forearm. This action stretches the ligaments that connect the wrist and hand bones a little too far, causing tiny tears or a complete break in the ligament. Exerting too much pressure, twisting it too far, or being hit in the wrist can also cause a sprain. These injuries are associated with injuries which are common in basketball, baseball, gymnastics, diving, skiing, skating, skateboarding, and inline skating. If you are experiencing sprained wrist symptoms, call Aurora Hand Surgery in Michigan to schedule a consultation.
Sprained Wrist Symptoms
A sprained wrist will feel tender and warm around the injury, along with some pain and swelling, as well as bruising. Some patients can feel a popping or tearing sensation along with the other sprained wrist symptoms. There are three grades of a wrist sprain:
- Grade I involves pain with some minor damage to the ligament.
- Grade II involves loss of function to the wrist with more severe ligament damage and pain, as well as a feeling of looseness to the joint.
- Garde III involves severe pain, and a completely torn ligament with loss of function and looseness of the joint.
A diagnosis can be made using an x-ray, MRI, an arthrogram (a special x-ray or MRI done after the dye is injected into the wrist), or an arthroscopy (a minimally-invasive surgery in which a tiny camera is inserted into the wrist.
With a sprained wrist, it’s best to start with the R.I.C.E. method:
- Rest the sprained limb for at least 48 hours.
- Ice it to reduce pain and swelling.
- Compress the injury with a bandage.
- Elevate the wrist above your heart.
For severe sprains, like Grades II or III, it’s best to contact a doctor, as they might recommend surgery to repair the torn ligament. The length of treatment and recovery depends on the individual and the severity of the injury. Recovery times vary as well.