Wrist Sprain - Get information and read articles on Wrist Sprain sign, symptoms, causes, treatment, prevention and diagnosis at onlymyhealth.com, your complete health guide.
Wrist injury is common because when you are about to fall you extend your hands out to catch or break the fall by way of a natural protective reflex. If the wrist gets suddenly and forcefully torqued or twisted when you fall, it may cause wrist sprain or strain. Most wrist sprains occur after a fall. The severity of wrist sprains may vary from injury due to excessive stretching of the ligaments or tearing of this tissue. Wrist sprain can occur in anyone, but the injury is more common in certain groups of people such as athletes (football players, basketball players, baseball players, gymnasts, skaters, skateboarders etc).
Wrist sprain, in most cases, can be managed at home with care and medications, but, it is advisable to get the injury evaluated by a doctor before beginning treatment. If there is no fracture or significant instability of sprained wrist, it is managed by the "RICE" method. This includes giving rest to the wrist for 24-48 hours, applying ice for the first 48 hours after injury for about 20 minutes every 3-4 hours, using compression bandage and elevating the limb above the level of the heart. These can help decrease the swelling and pain. Simple analgesics such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen can help decrease pain. More severe wrist sprain may need immobilisation in a cast or surgery.
Most cases of wrist sprain are mild and can be treated at home by giving rest to the injured wrist, ice application and taking simple analgesics such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen to decrease the pain. Consult a doctor for wrist sprain if you have significant pain or swelling in the wrist, pain prevents you from moving the wrist normally in any direction or the symptoms do not improve within two to three days of treatment at home after injury. Consult a doctor immediately if you have severe pain, deformity, numbness or swelling in the wrist. These may be caused due to a broken bone or complete tear of the ligament, which may need surgery.
In most cases, pain of wrist sprain heals with time i.e. the prognosis for recovery of wrist sprain is generally good in the long term for most people (particularly for people, who do not practice sports, which increases the risk of severe injury or repeated injury). The symptoms such as pain and swelling start to improve in a few days i.e. within two to three days in case of mild wrist sprains and may take a few more days in case of moderate sprain. In some cases, however, the pain may persist for months. This is especially true if the injury is not diagnosed or treated appropriately.
Symptoms and signs of wrist sprain include pain on movement of the wrist, dull deep ache in the wrist, swelling around the wrist joint (it may be red, tender and warm to touch), bruising or red-blue discoloration of the skin, burning or tingling sensations at or around the wrist and decreased range of motion of the wrist. Severity of symptoms (pain, swelling and limitation of movement of the wrist) depends on the severity of injury.
Wrist sprain can be diagnosed clinically by a doctor. Tests are usually done to confirm the severity of the injury, if a fracture is suspected or the sprain fails to heal in a few days. Some tests that may be done to rule out a fracture or determine the severity of sprain include wrist X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan. Wrist X-rays will not show an injury to the ligament or other soft tissues, but if the bone is broken, it is seen on the X-ray. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan can show the extent of injury to the ligaments and soft tissue.
Wrist sprain, in most cases, ranges from mild to moderate injury. The symptoms such as pain and swelling, usually, improve in a few days. Symptoms of mild wrist sprain tend to show improvement within two to three days. In case of moderate sprain, the pain and swelling may last for about a week. Recovery time may also vary as everyone heals at a different rate. If severe injury is not diagnosed or treated appropriately, the ligament injuries may result in wrist instability and chronic wrist pain.
A wrist sprain may occur unexpectedly and may vary in severity from just a stretched wrist to complete tear of the ligament. It could lead to extreme pain, causing discomfort. Here are some preventive tips for wrist sprain.