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Welcome to Orthopaedic Solutions & Sports Medicine Center, PA

Wrist Sprains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament. Ligaments are strong bands of connective tissue that connect one bone to another.

A wrist sprain is a common injury. There are many ligaments in the wrist that can be stretched or torn, resulting in a sprain. This occurs when the wrist is bent forcefully, such as in a fall onto an outstretched hand.

Wrist sprains can range from mild to severe. They are graded, depending on the degree of injury to the ligaments.

  • Grade 1. These mild sprains occur when the ligaments are stretched, but not torn.

  • Grade 2. These moderate sprains occur when the ligaments are partially torn. Grade 2 sprains may involve some loss of function.

  • Grade 3. These severe sprains occur when the ligament is completely torn. These are significant injuries that require medical or surgical care. As the ligament tears away from the bone, it may also take a small chip of bone with it, called an avulsion fracture.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a wrist sprain may vary in intensity and location. The most common symptoms of a wrist sprain include:

  • Swelling in the wrist

  • Pain at the time of the injury

  • Persistent pain when you move your wrist

  • Bruising or discoloration of the skin around the wrist

  • Tenderness at the injury site

  • A feeling of popping or tearing inside the wrist

  • A warm or feverish feeling to the skin around the wrist

Sometimes, a wrist injury may seem mild with very little swelling, but it could be that an important ligament has been torn that will require surgery to avoid problems later.

Similarly, an unrecognized (occult) fracture may be mistakenly considered a mild or moderately sprained wrist. If left untreated, the broken bone may not heal and will require a surgery that could have been avoided with early, appropriate treatment. The most common example of this is an occult fracture of the scaphoid bone.

It is important in all but very mild cases for a doctor to evaluate a wrist injury. Proper diagnosis and treatment of wrist injuries is necessary to avoid long-lasting stiffness and pain.

A pain reliever, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may be helpful. If pain and swelling persist for more than 48 hours, however, see Dr. Parikh and his team

Treatment

Non-Surgical

Moderate sprains may need to be immobilized with a wrist splint for 1 or more weeks. This immobilization may cause some stiffness in your wrist and your doctor may recommend some stretching exercises to help you regain full mobility.

Surgical

Severe sprains may require surgery to repair the fully torn ligament. Surgery involves reconnecting the ligament to the bone. Dr parikh will look at the injury and discuss the surgical options that best meet the needs of your injury.

Dr. Parikh and his team would like to see you back in the office 10-14 days after surgery. If you do not have your first post-op visit scheduled call out office to make one.

Surgery is followed by a period of rehabilitation and exercises to strengthen the wrist and restore motion. Although the ligament can be expected to heal in 6 to 8 weeks, rehabilitation with full recovery of motion and strength can take several months. This depends on the severity of the sprain.


Information obtain from www.orthoinfo.aaos.org

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