Sprained wrist is one of the most common causes of painful sensations in the wrist. This type of injury is usually caused by falling on an outstretched hand which further leads to the tearing or stretching of the ligaments located in the wrist. Such falls usually occur in certain sports which include volleyball, baseball, football, soccer, snowboarding and inline skating. The ligaments in the wrist are prone to tearing and stretching, and the risk of injury is further increased if those tissues are weak or inflexible. One needs to understand the different between a strain and a sprain, because those two often cannot be differentiated. A strain affects the tendons and the muscles. For those who do not know, tendons are the tissues which connect the bones and the muscles. Strains may range from simple overstretches to partial or complete tears. Sprain only affects the ligaments. For those who do not know, ligaments are the fibrous tissues which connect different types of bones.
Signs & Symptoms
Sprains occur much more often than strains because there are a large number of ligaments which are responsible for supporting the bones located in the wrist. Wrist sprains can easily be characterized by certain types of symptoms such as swelling, tenderness and painful sensations at the affected area. Redness and warmness to the touch along with a dull deep ache, decreased range of motion and bruising are also among the most common symptoms of wrist sprains. Those who suffer from such symptoms need to pay a visit to a physician in order to determine whether there are any fractures. There are three different grades of wrist sprains which include mild, moderate and severe.
The best and the most common treatment method for all those who suffer from sprained wrists is R.I.C.E. This stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, and it is actually a very functional pattern for the treatment. Rest means that one should not use the injured wrist for two days, get proper rest and wait until the swelling and the pain subside significantly. Ice means that the wrist needs to be iced by cold compresses for 15 minutes several times per day, in order to subside the swelling. Compression means that elastic compression bandages need to be used so that the swelling and the range of motion can be limited. Elevation means that the injured wrist needs to be kept higher than the heart as much as possible in order to reduce the swelling. Over the counter medicaments may also be helpful. Some cases may require bracing, immobilization, rehabilitation exercises and surgery.