A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which is the tissue that connects bones together at a joint. A ligament can be stretched, torn, or ruptured. A sprained wrist is a very common injury, especially among athletes.
Signs of a Sprained Wrist
There are several signs that may indicate you have a sprained wrist. These include:
- Pain in the wrist, especially when moving it
- Swelling in the wrist
- Tenderness to touch
- Bruising in the wrist
- Limited range of motion in the wrist
- Joint instability
There are three grades of sprains, depending on the severity of the injury:
Grade I: A mild sprain that stretches or slightly tears the ligament. There is usually minimal pain and swelling.
Grade II: A moderate sprain that partially tears the ligament. There is usually more pain and swelling than with a grade I sprain.
Grade III: A severe sprain that completely tears the ligament. This is the most painful type of sprain, and there is usually a lot of swelling.
If you think you have a sprained wrist, it’s important to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will likely order an X-ray to rule out any fractures. They will also ask you about your symptoms and examine your wrist.
How to Treat a Sprained Wrist
There are several treatments for a sprained wrist, depending on the severity of the injury. Grade I and II sprains can usually be treated at home with the RICE method:
- Rest: Take a break from activities that put stress on your wrist.
- Ice: Apply ice to your wrist for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Compression: Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Keep your wrist elevated above your heart to reduce swelling.
If you have a grade III sprain, you will likely need to see a doctor or orthopedic specialist. Treatment may include wearing a cast or splint for a few weeks to let your ligament heal. You may also be referred to a physical therapist to help you regain strength and range of motion in your wrist.
How to Prevent Wrist Sprains
You can prevent wrist sprains by ensuring your muscles and joints are strong and flexible.
Here are some tips to help you stay injury-free:
- Stretch your muscles and joints before exercising.
- Warm up your muscles and joints before exercising.
- Cool down your muscles and joints after exercising.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Rest when you feel tired or sore.
- If you feel pain, stop what you’re doing.
See a doctor or orthopedic specialist if you have a joint or muscle injury.
It is important to be able to identify the symptoms of a sprained wrist to seek appropriate medical treatment. However, there are other factors to consider as well. For example, the severity of the sprain, the underlying cause, and any pre-existing medical conditions.
If you suspect that you have a sprained wrist, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of further complications.
If you’re looking for the best hand specialist, The North Florida Hand and Wrist team of experts is here to relieve you of any pain and discomfort in your hands or wrists. Call us today and set up an appointment!