The wrist has complex anatomy that makes it prone to injuries. With 8 bones, 4 ligaments, and 6 tendons, it comes as no surprise that this area of the body can be subject to all sorts of musculoskeletal injuries.
However, not all injuries are created equal. Some are benign and require no medical interventions, whereas others can be debilitating.
In this article, we will share with you the most common wrist injuries and their respective treatments. Make sure to read our ankle injury article (insert link) to understand the most susceptible area to injuries in the lower body.
Common wrist injuries and their respective treatments
Most people have the reflection of putting their hands in front of them when falling down. This may prevent injuries to other parts of the body, such as the skull and back. However, your wrists are not trauma-proof.
The natural response will make you land on your palms, which bends the wrist backward. As a result, the ligaments in your wrist can get stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. We call this a wrist sprain.
The treatment of these sprains requires rest, immobilization, applying ice, and elevating your wrist. You also need to take anti-inflammatory drugs and wear a splint/cast to let the ligaments heal.
Scapholunate ligament injury
This ligament is crucial for full wrist motion. In this injury, the scapholunate ligament can be torn partially or completely. This occurs when you fall and put your entire weight on the wrist.
Scapholunate ligament injury is part of the wrist sprains.
Treating this injury typically revolves around the prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs coupled with wearing a cast/splint for a while.
Wrist fractures mainly affect the scaphoid bone. It is the smallest bone of the eight that make up the wrist. We see these injuries in sports competitions as well as motor vehicle accidents.
Falling on an outstretched wrist can cause these injuries. The chances of breaking the scaphoid bone increase more when the wrist is in full extension. Fracturing this bone may not be immediately alarming. In other words, people often believe they sprinted their wrists due to the little edema (i.e., swelling) and absence of any deformity.
Treating scaphoid fractures require classifying your injury. Your surgeon will take into consideration several factors (e.g., angle of injury, type of fracture, prognosis) to determine the best course of action. Nevertheless, expect either cast immobilization or surgical stabilization.
This fracture affects the radial styloid and results from a direct hit to the radius bone. Typically, the hit occurs near the base of the thumb.
Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment could be a simple cast or external fixation device/surgery.
The wrist is a sensitive area to all sorts of injuries, especially the ones affecting the ligaments and tendons. We hope that this article managed to introduce these injuries, as well as the appropriate ways to treat them.
Here’s to your health!
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Dr. Kevin Crawford