What is wrist sprain?

A wrist sprain occurs when a person has a traumatic event in their hand. The wrist has multiple ligaments, which can be injured by falling, hitting, or lifting an object too heavy.

A wrist sprain is not always evident at the time of diagnosis, therefore, it is important to go immediately to an emergency service when the trauma occurs, to rule out a fracture or some other injury.

What is the treatment?

Once any type of fracture is ruled out and the wrist sprain is confirmed, the wrist should be immobilized, hoping that the following week the patient will have an improvement in regards to the pain and start with mobility activities. If not, a significant injury to a ligament should be suspected, including, also, the triangular fibrocartilage and the scapholunate ligament.

Recommendations for those who have a wrist sprain are:

  • Apply ice during the first 48 hours after the trauma, local heat such as hot packs should not be applied until after 48 hours, as it increases the edema of the hand.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory for a period no longer than 5 days, if you don´t have any restriction for its use.
  • Keep the hand elevated to improve the edema.
  • Avoid lifting activities or holding any weight with the injured hand.
  • Continuously wear a wrist brace. If the pain allows it, after 48 hours you should start with the mobility of the fingers, as it helps to reduce the inflammation.
  • If the pain persists one week after the trauma, a hand surgeon should be consulted to rule out any hidden fracture, or to rule out a ligament injury.
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