If you are someone who takes part in sports, works with your hands, or engages in any other activity that puts strain on your wrists, it is essential to be aware of the most common wrist injuries. These injuries vary from mild annoyances to debilitating conditions, so knowing how to identify and treat them is essential for staying active and healthy. This post will discuss the most common wrist injuries and provide tips for preventing them.
Traumatic wrist injuries
Traumatic wrist injuries can be classified into wrist fractures and ligament injuries.
If you think you have suffered a wrist fracture or a ligament injury, seek help from your doctor as soon as possible to receive an accurate diagnosis, receive the right treatment, and avoid long-term complications.
Distal radius fracture: A distal radius fracture is a break that occurs near the end of the radius bone in the forearm. The radius is one of the two bones in the forearm, and the distal end is the portion closest to the hand. A fracture at this site is commonly referred to as a wrist fracture. Distal radius fractures are among the most common fractures, accounting for nearly one-fifth of all fractures in emergency departments. They can result from a fall onto an outstretched hand, direct trauma to the forearm, or a twisting injury. Symptoms of a distal radius fracture include soreness, swelling, and deformity at the site of the damage. Treatment typically involves immobilizing the forearm in a cast or splint, followed by rehabilitative exercises. In some instances, surgery may be necessary to reposition the fragments of bone. However, most patients with a distal radius fracture fully recover without long-term complications.
Scaphoid fracture: A scaphoid fracture is a break in the bone that connects the thumb to the wrist. The scaphoid is one of the small bones in hand located on the thumb side of the wrist. A break in this bone can occur if the wrist is hit hard or bent awkwardly. Symptoms of a scaphoid fracture include soreness, swelling, and bruising around the thumb and wrist. In some cases, the bone may be displaced or may poke through the skin. A scaphoid fracture can lead to long-term problems such as osteoarthritis or chronic pain if left untreated. Treatment for a scaphoid fracture usually involves wearing a cast or splint for several weeks.
Ulnar styloid fracture: The ulnar styloid is a small bone located at the end of the ulna, one of the bones in the forearm. An ulnar styloid fracture can occur after a fall onto an outstretched hand or from a direct blow to the area. Ulnar styloid fractures are relatively uncommon, accounting for only 2-5% of all forearm fractures. Symptoms of an ulnar styloid fracture include pain and tenderness at the site of the injury and swelling and bruising. Treatment of an ulnar styloid fracture typically involves immobilizing the forearm in a plaster cast or splint. Surgery is rarely required. With appropriate treatment, most people fully recover within 4-6 weeks.
Scapholunate ligament: The scapholunate ligament is an important stabilizing ligament of the wrist. It attaches the scaphoid bone to the lunate bone and allows for proper movement of the wrist. A tear of this ligament can lead to significant instability and pain in the wrist. Treatment options depend on the severity of the injury but may include splinting, casting, or surgery.
The Triangular Fibro Cartilage Complex (TFCC): The Triangular Fibro Cartilage Complex (TFCC) is a group of stabilizing ligaments and cartilage located on the ulnar side of the wrist. The TFCC is essential for normal wrist function and comprises several distinct components, including the articular disc, ulnocarpal ligaments, and radioulnar ligaments. Although the TFCC is a relatively strong structure, it is susceptible to injury from repetitive stress or trauma. TFCC injuries can range from mild to severe, and treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. In some cases, conservative measures such as splinting or physical therapy may be sufficient to allow the TFCC to heal.
The lunotriquetral ligament: The lunotriquetral ligament is one of the major stabilizing ligaments of the wrist. It attaches the lunate bone to the triquetrum bone and runs along the ulnar side of the wrist. A lunotriquetral ligament injury is a tear or rupture of this ligament. Symptoms of a lunotriquetral ligament injury include pain inside the wrist, swelling, and tenderness. The pain may worsen with activity or motion and may be accompanied by clicking or popping sensations. A lunotriquetral ligament injury can be caused by trauma, overuse, or degenerative changes. Treatment for a lunotriquetral ligament injury typically includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More severe injuries may require splinting, casting, or surgery. Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the injury but may take several weeks or months.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the hands and arms. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed. This can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness in the affected hand. In severe cases, carpel tunnel syndrome can lead to loss of feeling in the fingers or difficulty gripping objects. The condition is typically caused by repetitive hand and wrist motions, such as typing or using a mouse. It can also be caused by arthritis, pregnancy, or diabetes. Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome may include splinting, physical therapy, or surgery. In most cases, the condition can be effectively managed with nonsurgical treatments. However, surgery may be recommended for severe cases that do not respond to other treatments.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis: De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition that results in pain and swelling in the tendons of the thumb. The disease is caused by overuse or repetitive thumb motion. Symptoms include tenderness and pain in the thumb and wrist, swelling in the thumb, and difficulty moving the thumb. De Quervain’s tenosynovitis treatment typically includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Ganglion cyst: A ganglion cyst is a small, round, fluid-filled sac that develops near a joint or tendon in the hand or wrist. Ganglion cysts are usually harmless and cause no symptoms. However, they can occasionally become painful if they press on a nerve. Ganglion cysts are most common in women between 20 and 40. Although ganglion cysts can occur at any age, they are more likely to develop in people who have injured the hand or wrist. Treatment for ganglion cysts is typically not necessary unless the cyst is painful or interfering with activities. If treatment is needed, options include aspiration, which involves draining the fluid from the cyst, and surgery, which involves removing the entire cyst. Ganglion cysts are also called Bible cysts, Bible bumps, and mucinous cysts.
How to cope with wrist pain?
Wrist pain is a common problem caused by various factors, such as repetitive motion, arthritis, or an injury. If you are experiencing wrist pain, there are several things you can do to find relief. First, try ice therapy. Ice can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to your wrist for 15-20 minutes. You can also take over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If your pain is severe or persists for more than a few days, consult a doctor or medical professional. They may recommend additional treatments, such as physical therapy or injections. With the proper care, most cases of wrist pain will improve within a few weeks.
SRO’s Hand and Wrist Center
Hand and wrist injuries are very common in athletes. Still, they can also occur in people who perform manual labor or use their hands frequently. If you’re experiencing pain, swelling, or other symptoms related to a hand or wrist injury, it’s essential to seek treatment right away. The specialists at SRO’s Hand and Wrist Center can help diagnose the damage and create a treatment plan that will have you back on your feet in no time. Learn more…
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