A sprained wrist is an injury that damages the ligaments of the wrist and causes them to be either overstretched or partially or completely torn. The most frequent cause of this injury is falling onto an outstretched hand, something that occurs frequently in many sports from soccer to skateboarding. The symptoms of a sprained wrist include pain, swelling and a lack of control, or “looseness” of the joint. Treatment of the injury in most cases will include resting the wrist to allow the sprained ligaments to recover, as well as icing and elevating the injury. You can obtain additional support for an injured wrist by wearing a wrist brace.
Degrees Of Sprain
Like many other types of sprain, this is usually a traumatic injury and not one from overuse. The severity of the injury can vary widely from one case to another. In general, there are 3 possible degrees of severity of a wrist sprain:
With a grade 1 sprain, the ligaments are stretched but there is no tearing. You will experience pain and possibly some loss of function, but not much.
If you have experienced a grade 2 sprain, there will be partial tearing and you will experience greater pain and loss of function than with a grade 1 sprain;
With a grade 3 sprain, one or more ligaments will be completely torn, either in the middle or at the point at which it attaches to the bone. Pain will be significantly greater even than with a grade 2 sprain and you will likely experience complete loss of function of the wrist. This is a serious injury that usually requires surgery to correct the problem. In some cases in which the ligament is detached from the bone, it may even take a small piece of bone with. Doctors call this an avulsion facture.
What Are The Causes Of A Wrist Sprain?
As explained above, the most frequent cause of this injury is falling onto an outstretched wrist. Athough this most frequently occurs during sports activity, it can also happen while performing non sports related activities such as walking on an icy pavement.
In some cases, wrist sprains can be the result of twisting the wrist or receiving a blow to it. However, these events are much less frequent than the “falling onto an outstretched hand” scenario.
Symptoms of a wrist sprain depend on the severity of the injury as defined above. However, in almost all cases, you will experience pain and swelling around the wrist. There will also be a tender feeling and the area will be “warm to the touch”.
In addition, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
Looseness of the wrist as well as a lack of strength in the joint and difficulty performing actions like gripping objects firmly;
You may hear or sense a tearing or popping sound at the time you experience the injury.
It is important to appreciate that you should not try to evaluate the seriousness of your injury from the symptoms you are experiencing. For example, don’t assume that you have a grade 1 sprain because you are only experiencing pain and swelling. If not treated properly, a wrist sprain can leave you with permanent wrist problems like chronic pain, stiffness and even arthritis. Even without these problems, you will likely have a higher risk of experiencing additional wrist sprains in the future.
Consequently, if you experience any of the symptoms above, you should visit your doctor for a diagnosis and an evaluation of the seriousness of the injury.
If your doctor confirms that you have experienced a wrist sprain, the course of treatment will usually depend on the severity of the injury. If the sprain is of grade 1 or 2 in severity, the most likely choice will be conservative (non surgical) treatment. For a grade 3 injury, your doctor will most likely recommend surgery to correct the problem.
Conservative Treatment Of A Wrist Sprain
To treat a grade 1 or 2 sprain, your doctor will most likely recommend that you:
Rest your wrist by refraining from performing demanding activities with it. A wrist support brace can help to take pressure off your wrist muscles and ligaments and allow the sprain to heal faster. Depending on the specific task, you may wish to consider switching to using the other wrist instead. If your sprain is a mild one, the overstretched ligaments will likely recover in a few weeks without any further intervention;
Ice your wrist or apply a cold compress to it (for periods of 20-20 minutes at a time, every 3-4 hours). This will help to reduce the pain and inflammation (if any) you are experiencing;
Keep your wrist elevated above the level of your heart to maintain good blood circulation through the injured area.
If you need additional pain or inflammation relief, your doctor may prescribe non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs for that purpose.
Surgery will be required for a grade 3 wrist sprain injury or for a grade 1 or 2 sprain that does not respond to conservative treatment. The purpose of the surgery may be to reattach the ruptured ligament to the bone. Alternatively, doctors can reconstruct a severely damaged ligament with a tendon grafted from elsewhere in your body.
Especially if you have undergone surgery, you should consider an exercise program for your injured wrist. The aim of the program will be to return your wrist to its original strength and range of motion. Without an appropriate rehabilitation program, your wrist could be permanently damaged.
It is important to set realistic recovery time expectations. A mild wrist sprain may require as little as 3-4 weeks for a full recovery. However, a more severe injury such as a grade 2 sprain may require as many as 10 weeks. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a grade 3 sprain, you may need 3-4 months or more before you can return to regular activities.
Remember that returning to regular activities before your wrist is ready can result in a permanent injury. So be patient and follow the advice of your doctors where your recovery time is concerned.
Mueller Sports Medicine Compression Gloves will reduce your pain and discomfort from conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and other hand related repetitive stress injuries. These gloves will support your weak, aching hands and wrists and will also provide therapeutic compression to promote blood circulation and increase blood flow to your hands. You will experience less hand “achiness” and general muscular fatigue.
The Bio Skin DP2 Cock-up Wrist brace is designed to the most functional and comfortable wrist brace ever sold. It boasts a thin ultra-soft layer of micro-fleece that helps moisture to migrate away from your body and keeps you cool, comfortable and dry. With its laceless design, you can easily apply the brace with one hand and its dorsal and palmar stays can be removed and re moulded by hand to customize the fit of the brace.
The Bio Skin DP3 Cock-up Wrist brace is designed to the most functional and comfortable wrist brace ever sold. It boasts a thin ultra-soft layer of micro-fleece that helps moisture to migrate away from your body and keeps you cool, comfortable and dry. With its laceless design, you can easily apply the brace with one hand and its dorsal and palmar stays can be removed and re moulded by hand to customize the fit of the brace.
The Mueller Sports Medicine Elastic Wrist Support will provide support to your weak, sore or stiff wrists. It features a lightweight elastic knit to provide firm support and maintain a full range of movement.
The Mueller Elastic Wrist Support with Loop is designed to be easy to apply and remove. It also features a wraparound strap that is useful for adjustable compression. A great choice for lightly sprained, weak or unstable wrists. One Size. Fits either left or right wrist.
The Mueller Sports Medicine Green Fitted Wrist Brace reduces the pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and supports your weak or injured wrists while allowing your thumb and fingers to maintain full range of motion.
The LP Splint Wrist Brace uses dual tension elastic material to provide solid support for low level wrist sprains or strains. It is also useful for additional support after removal of a cast. The Splint Wrist Brace uses a malleable spoon splint for palmar arch support if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. If the…
The McDavid Wrist Brace / Adjustable uses a medical quality splint to add increased support and stability to a weak, unstable or injured wrist. It also incorporates hook and loop closures for custom fit and comfort.
The Mueller Sports Medicine Wrist Brace With Splint has a removable splint surrounded by padding for improved comfort. This brace is designed to help relieve the pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It features adjustable tabs a wrap-around design and comfort oriented breathable fabric. Available in black only. One size – fits wrist circumferences between 6″ …
The Mueller Sports Medicine Wrist Stabilizer boasts an extra-long metal spoon, 6.5 inches long and removable. It also has two padded side splints for additional wrist support. The Wrist Stabilizer will be effective in helping to relieve pain from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Use this brace at night to keep your wrists in a straight position….
The LP Wrist Support provides support for injured or weak wrists. It is appropriate to use while playing sports or alternatively just for everyday use. Composition is nylon (70%) and spandex (30%). As there is no neoprene or latex, this is an excellent support for those with histories of these sensitivities. Wearing the support for…
The Mueller Sports Medicine Wrist Support Wrap features an innovative thumb loop that simplifies both application and removal. Composition of the Wrist Support Wrap is a soft neoprene blend that is optimal for heat retention. This warmth helps to improve blood circulation and joint flexibility. For superior comfort, the Wrist Support Wrap uses a perforated…
The LP Wrist Wrap helps to reduce the risk of minor wrist injuries. It also helps relieve the pain of such injuries through the application of pressure to an injured wrist. In addition to these benefits, the Wrist Wrap will help to firmly support a strained or weak wrist. Its adjustable Velcro closure securely maintains…
The McDavid Wrist Wrap / Adjustable uses 4-way stretch technology and provides both heat and compression therapy. It also has hook and loop closures to help you enjoy a customized fit for optimal comfort.
The LP Wrist Wrap-Core comfortably compresses and supports injured wrists and will also help to prevent moderate wrist injuries. The Wrist Wrap uses a wrap around design to facilitate thumb and finger movement while wearing the brace. The Wrist Wrap is an ideal choice if you are searching for therapeutic compression, heat retention and support…