A wrist sprain is a very common injury. There are numerous ligaments (strong bands of connective tissue that connect one bone to another) in the wrist, which can be stretched or torn, causing a sprain. This takes place in the event the wrist is bent forcefully, for example with a fall onto an outstretched hand.
Grades of wrist sprains
Wrist sprains can vary from mild to severe. They are graded, based on the level of damage to the ligaments.
• Grade 1. These mild sprains occur if the ligaments are stretched, yet not torn.
• Grade 2. These moderate sprains occur once the ligaments are partially torn. Grade 2 sprains may have some diminished function.
• Grade 3. These severe sprains occur as soon as the ligament is entirely torn. These are typically significant injuries that need medical or surgical care. Because ligament tears off the bone, it can possibly take a small chip of bone from it, called an avulsion fracture.
Cause of wrist sprains
Wrist sprains are generally the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. This could happen during day-to-day activities, but frequently occurs during sports and recreational use.
Symptoms of wrist sprains
The most common the signs of a wrist sprain include:
• Swelling within the wrist
• Pain during the time of the injury
• Persistent pain whenever you move your wrist
• Bruising or discoloration of the skin over the wrist
• Tenderness on the injury site
• A sense of popping or tearing within the wrist
• A hot or feverish feeling on the skin across the wrist
Treatment for wrist sprains
Mild wrist sprains are treatable at home with the RICE protocol.
• R – Rest the joint for around 48 hours.
• I – Ice the injury to relieve swelling. Never apply ice straight to the skin. Make use of an ice pack or wrap a towel around the ice or even a package of frozen vegetables. Apply ice for approximately 20 minutes at any given time.
• C – Compress the swelling using an elastic bandage.
• E – Elevate the injury above the level of one’s heart.
Moderate sprains should be immobilised using a wrist splint for 1 week. This immobilisation might cause some stiffness with your wrist and your chiropractor may recommend some stretches that will help you regain full mobility.