Mumbai: Human hands are often ignored or taken for granted. After all, these are “just an appendage” and hand-related accidents can’t possibly be life-threatening. People who have suffered from accidents are the ones who understand the impact of having dysfunctional hands. Even the most mundane of tasks may require the use of your hands.
The wrist is made up of eight tiny bones that support a tube called the carpal tunnel. It has tendons and nerves and is protected by a ligament. Even without direct trauma, repetitive motions can cause wrist pain in the long run. Osteoporosis can also make the bones fragile and more prone to fractures.
Understanding Wrist Sprain
Typically, a sprain is an injury to any ligament in your body. These ligaments are strong connective tissues that bind bones together. It so happens that there are many ligaments in the wrist that are prone to stretching and tearing, and when that occurs, you’re most likely to sprain your wrist.
In Indian tennis players, the prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries is approximately 16% (15.62 in every 100 tennis players). The most commonly injured body parts include the elbow, followed closely by the wrist. It has been shown that overuse injuries in tennis players usually affect the upper extremities, with forehand strokes as the reason for wrist overuse injuries.
Athletes are more susceptible to wrist sprain, most especially if they are involved in contact sports. They can slip and fall on an outstretched hand and twist the wrist forcefully, tearing the ligament in the process. However, even if you’re not an athlete, you can still sprain your wrist if it suffered a direct blow and or if it received too much pressure.
Symptoms of Wrist Sprain to Be Wary Of
For the record, wrist sprain and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are not the same. Wrist sprain affects the ligaments of the wrist while CTS affects the median nerve that shoots all the way from the neck, down the shoulder and arm, and through the carpal tunnel passageway in the thumb side of your wrist. So how can you determine if the discomfort you’re feeling in your wrist is a sprain? Here are symptoms you need to be wary of:
- Tenderness and warmth around the injured area
- Bruising and discoloration
- Persistent pain each time you move your wrist
- A popping feeling in your wrist upon movement
Wrist sprains can be mild or severe. It’s best to consult an orthopedist rather than self-diagnose the condition because the extent of the injury to the ligaments can only be determined by radiological imaging.
Treatments for Wrist Sprain
There are approaches to treat a wrist sprain and these include natural solutions (home solutions and lifestyle changes) physical therapies, medication, and Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). In severe cases of wrist pain wherein the injury doesn’t respond to all the other treatments, joint replacement therapy is usually considered.
Your orthopedist will advise you to rest your wrist and refrain from doing any work or activities that cause pain while recovering from a sprained wrist. To alleviate the pain and reduce the swelling, you can apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes two to three times a day.
If you have to live through the pain and discomfort brought about by a wrist sprain, do what’s necessary to avoid aggravating the condition. If using your hands cannot be avoided, you might try wearing an orthopedic wrist brace to help stabilize and support your wrist. Here are a few things to consider when choosing orthopedic braces:
- Pick one that’s made of lightweight but durable materials, preferably those that can provide warmth, compression, and support.
- Choose a style that allows some form of movement especially if you need to grasp and hold objects.
- Check out the latest innovations in unique designs, which are specifically intended for special purposes. There are orthopedic braces that keep the wrist at an orthopedically correct angle, with a strong and stiff outer layer to effectively immobilize your wrist bones. Other braces have inner foams for moisture absorption.
It is also important to keep your wrist healthy with the right diet, exercise, and lifestyle. These measures are not only true during prevention but during rehabilitation as well.
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