Wrist sprain is a common occurrence and can affect anyone and anywhere. The causes of wrist pain can be many; it can be triggered by an accident in sports or recreational activities or happen due repetitive use.
Let us begin by explaining what a sprain is? A sprain is an injury to the ligament joining one bone to the other. In case of a wrist sprain, any ligament joining the wrist joint may experience a tear or become overstretched.
Likely Causes of Wrist Sprain
Any one falling on an outstretched hand is likely to suffer from wrist pain (FOOSH injury). Twisting your wrist accidently is another likely cause of wrist pain. Though the condition can afflict anyone the chances of this type of injury are more common in those participating in sports like baseball, football, boxing, wrestling and basketball.
Intensity of the Wrist Sprain
Like any other condition, wrist sprain is also categorized into three parts:
Grade 1: Mild Wrist Sprain due to a stretched ligament but no tear in this ligament
Grade 2: More severe than Grade 1 wrist sprain, the ligament here is stretched and the fiber torn but the tear is not complete
Grade 3: The most severe type of wrist sprain, the ligament is completely torn in this case
Symptoms of Wrist Sprain
The symptoms a patient with wrist sprain will experience will depend upon the intensity of injury to the wrist ligaments. Common symptoms include:
- Swelling at the place of injury
- Pain on movement of hand
- Tenderness, discoloration or bruising of the skin at the place of injury
- Jammed movement of hands
- At times patients might experience weakness in the muscles of the hand
It so happens that the symptoms of wrist sprain are quite similar to that of a wrist fracture, particularly in case of Grade 3 wrist sprain so it is essential to get your hand checked by a qualified medical practitioner for the right diagnosis.
Wrist Sprain Treatments
The following treatment is recommended:
- Begin by application of ice at the spot of injury to help alleviate pain and decrease swelling. The icepack has to be applied for duration of 20 minutes after every 3 to 4 hours till the swelling and pain goes away.
- Relax the wrist and avoid any movements of the affected wrist. Doctors recommend keeping the affected wrist at an elevated position, placed above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling in the wrists.
- Doctor may prescribe over the counter pain medication to bring relief from the associated pain.
- If the pain experienced by the patient is severe, it is advisable to consult a qualified physician to make sure that it is not a case of wrist fracture. The physician would generally prescribe measures like application of a cast or splint, pain medication, ice packs, and physical therapy.
- At times the doctor might suggest a surgery to repair a severely torn and damaged ligament.
- Physical therapy is essential with any line of treatment to ensure strengthening the weakened muscles and managing symptoms.
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