Wrist sprains are a common type of injury, especially among athletes and other active people. But because many sprains happen as the result of a fall, they’re also an injury that can happen to anyone, regardless of activity level.
With offices in Kihei, Kahului, and Lahaina, Hawaii, Minit Medical Urgent Care and Physical Therapy offers reliable, patient-centered care for wrist sprains, relieving painful symptoms while helping restore normal wrist function.
Here, our experts explain what you can do to speed your own recovery following a wrist sprain.
The wrist is a complex joint comprising multiple bones connected by tough, fibrous bands called ligaments. These ligaments help your wrist move and stay stable and flexible. A sprain happens when a ligament is stretched beyond its normal capacity and sometimes torn as a result.
Most sprains happen in an accidental fall — specifically when you extend your arm and hand to help break your fall. When a fall causes your wrist to bend abruptly, it strains and overstretches the ligament.
Sprains vary in severity, and they’re graded according to the level of injury:
Grade 3 sprains sometimes tear away a piece of the bony attachment, an injury known as an avulsion fracture.
Not surprisingly, wrist sprain symptoms vary with the intensity of the sprain. Most sprains involve some degree of:
When the sprain occurs, you may hear or feel a “popping” sound or sensation caused by the abrupt movement or tearing of the ligament.
Even a mild sprain can have long-term implications if it’s not treated properly. Any type of wrist pain needs to be evaluated right away — especially after a fall or other impact injury. Our on-site X-ray lab makes evaluation fast and simple, helping us rule out fractures and confirm your diagnosis, so medical care can begin immediately.
Most wrist sprains benefit from conservative treatment. That begins with RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Apply an ice pack as often as directed to limit inflammation and swelling, and keep your wrist elevated over your heart to reduce swelling, as well.
A compression bandage helps stabilize your wrist and promote tissue healing. We may apply a wrist brace or splint, as well. Splints and braces offer added support while limiting movement to give the ligaments time to heal.
You’ll need to modify your activities during healing, too. As your tissues mend, physical therapy helps your wrist regain normal strength, stability, flexibility, and range of motion to restore movement and, ideally, help prevent further injury.
We use our wrists a lot, and sometimes, sticking with a recovery plan can seem awkward, especially if it interferes with normal work or social activities. But following your provider’s advice is essential, not only for speeding healing, but for preventing permanent joint damage and weakness.
If you think you might have a wrist sprain or if you have any type of wrist pain, swelling, or stiffness, don’t delay — see our experts for a full injury evaluation ASAP.
To get the care you need to feel better and prevent more serious joint damage, book an appointment online or over the phone with Minit Medical Urgent Care and Physical Therapy today.