The human wrist consists of many bones and ligaments. The ligaments connect different bones to each other and stabilise the joint during hand movement and forearm. Wrist sprains mostly occur when you fall on an out-stretched hand (FOOSH). The ligaments get injured due to sudden impact of the hand on the ground and transmission of body weight to the wrist. Severity of sprain may vary from stretching and injury to complete tear of the ligament. Symptoms and recovery of wrist sprain depend on the severity of wrist sprain.
Recovery from wrist sprain injury
- Wrist sprain in most cases, usually, ranges from mild to moderate injury, which usually improves in a few days. Pain and swelling of mild wrist sprains, usually, improves 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 the sprain is severe, it can take a number of weeks or even months for the injury to heal completely. The pain may persist for months. The response of injury, pain and healing may cause stiffness of the joint. If the injury is not diagnosed or treated appropriately, the ligament injuries may result in wrist instability. This can cause progressive cartilage degeneration (arthritis) of the wrist joint.
Few tips that help to recover better from wrist sprain
- Give rest to your wrist for 24-48 hours: it not only decreases pain but also limits further injury and speeds healing. You should start to use the involved wrist gradually and try to avoid activities that cause pain. Using the wrist before it's healed can cause permanent damage and chronic pain.
- Start using the wrist to return to your old level of physical activity only after:
- You have no pain in your wrist at rest.
- You can hold an object and move the wrist without pain.
- Your injured wrist starts feeling as strong as the uninjured wrist, hand, and arm.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding physiotherapy (stretching and motion exercises) to hasten return to normal range of motion of the wrist after a sprain.