Indeed, ordinary wrist injuries are fairly common. Every day, we use our hands for tasks such as typing, driving, writing, lifting, and cleaning. The list could go on and on. What happens when our hands and wrists are not properly cared for? Our susceptibility to wrist injuries increases. Hand and wrist injuries can range from minor to severe and should all be evaluated by a physician.
1. Wrist sprains
What is the most prevalent wrist injury type? Patients with wrist sprains are frequently transported to the emergency room. Falls frequently result in wrist sprains, which are typically caused by a high-impact fall onto an outstretched hand. There are three forms of wrist sprains with varying degrees of ligament damage:
Grade 1: The sprain just stretched the ligaments; there is discomfort, but you can still move the affected joint.
Grade 2: The ligaments are partially ripped, resulting in decreased joint function.
Grade 3: The ligament is fully ripped or separated from the bone in grade 3. When this occurs, you will likely require surgery to correct the issue.
Among the symptoms of a sprained wrist are:
- Damage or discolouration
- The sensation of warmth around the wrist
- Snapping or tearing sensation within the wrist
- Restricted mobility
Preventions for wrist sprains:
Follow these recommendations to avoid wrist sprains:
- Utilize caution when walking in wet or icy conditions.
- Wear wrist brace when participating in sports such as basketball, skiing, and skateboarding. The wrist guard will prevent your wrist from making extreme movements if you fall.
- Wear shoes that fit properly to reduce the risk of falling.
- Lift heavy objects with both hands to alleviate strain on the wrists.
2. Thumb ligament sprains
When the ligaments supporting the thumb stretch past their limits or rip, a thumb sprain occurs. Most sprains involve the ulnar collateral ligament found within the knuckle joint of the thumb. Typically, a thumb sprain occurs when a powerful force separates the thumb from the palm.
Symptoms of a sprained thumb include:
- ache or distress.
- The base of your thumb has stiffness, swelling, and/or bruising.
- Immobility of your thumb.
Similar to a wrist sprain, a thumb sprain is often treated with ice and compression by immobilizing the thumb with a splint or cast while the ligament heals. Extreme sprains may necessitate surgical intervention to restore joint stability.
Preventions for Thumb ligament sprains:
Since thumb sprains are typically the consequence of an unintentional injury, there is no precise way to prevent them. However, if you are playing a sport that allows protective gear such as gloves and guards, please wear them to prevent a thumb sprain.
Skiers should use protective gloves of the correct size, which could prevent injury to the thumb in the event of an accident.
An alternative term for when a bone breaks are fracture. Any of the 10 bones associated with the wrist might shatter and result in a fractured wrist. Radius fractures are the most frequent cause of wrist fractures. Common causes of bone fractures include a violent fall onto an outstretched hand or repeated stress to the bones.
How to determine if you have a wrist fracture:
- Problems moving the wrist
- The sensation of tingling in the fingertips
- Visible malformation
It is essential to get medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms. Minor fractures may be treated by resetting the bones and applying a cast, however more serious fractures may require surgery to realign the fractured bones and retain them in the correct position.
Preventions for wrist fractures:
The majority of wrist fractures result from falling forward on an outstretched hand. To avoid this frequent injury:
- Outdoors, wear smart and sturdy winter boots.
- Avoid slick areas, such as snow- and ice-covered pathways.
- Remove risks and unwanted items from your home.
Fractures of the hand are breaks in one or more bones of the hand, including the tiny bones of the fingers and the long bones of the palm. A fracture refers to any loss of bone continuity, be it a hairline crack or a completely broken bone. Fractures of the hand can be caused by a fall, something crushing the hand, twisting the hand in an awkward posture, or even contact sports such as football.
Among the symptoms of a hand fracture are:
- Sensitivity or discomfort
- Immobility of the fingers
Hand fractures heal without surgery in the majority of cases, but may require a cast or splint for a brief period. Similar to a fracture of the wrist, serious fractures require surgery to realign the shattered bone fragments.
Prevention for hand fractures:
Other methods to reduce the risk of hand fractures include:
- Attempting to avoid moist areas if feasible.
- Installing stairs railings and bathroom grab bars.
- ensuring that your home has sufficient illumination.
- The elimination of trip hazards, such as rugs.
- Utilizing functional footwear.
5. Joint dislocations of the PIP
PIP joint dislocations are one of the most often observed wrist injuries. The PIP joint is placed just above the knuckle and is frequently injured when the finger is hyperextended or bent downward. This injury occurs so frequently during sports that it has earned the name “coach’s finger.” Disfigurement and loss of joint function are strong indications that the PIP joint in the hand has been dislocated.
Although dislocated fingers are normally a minor injury, seek quick medical assistance if there is numbness or skin discolouration. Fortunately, PIP joint dislocations are typically treatable with an immobilizing splint or by taping the damaged finger to the adjacent finger.
Preventions for PIP joint dislocations:
There are multiple ways to lessen the danger of displacement. They consist of:
- Avoid falls on stairs by exercising caution.
- Protective gear is worn during contact sports.
- Staying physically active to maintain the strength of the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints.
6. Carpal tunnel syndrome
Although it is a frequent condition, carpal tunnel syndrome is not as clearly visible as a sprain or a fracture. Why? Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive hand and wrist motions that squeeze or compress the main nerves in the hand. This tendon inflammation causes discomfort, tingling, and numbness in the wrist and occasionally the upper arm.
What are carpal tunnel syndrome’s five symptoms?
- Sensations resembling shocks in the fingers
- Symptoms include pain and tingling in the wrist and/or up the arm.
- Weakness in the hands that causes the dropping of objects.
- Stiff fingers
- Incapacity to form a fist
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is comparable to carpal tunnel syndrome, although it typically affects the tendons in the thumb. Treatment approaches for these disorders aim to minimize inflammation, avoid recurrence, and preserve hand, wrist, and finger mobility. Medication and physical therapy are standard treatments for moderate cases, although surgery may be required for severe cases.
Because it is known that carpal tunnel syndrome worsens over time, an early diagnosis is essential. If you suspect you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible to learn about your treatment options.
Prevention for carpel tunnel syndrome:
- Reduce your force and loosen your hold
If your job requires the use of a keyboard, for instance, be gentle when pressing the keys. Use a large pen with a larger, comfortable grip adaptor and free-flowing ink for extended handwriting.
- Take frequent breaks
Periodically, gently stretch and bend the hands and wrists. Swap tasks whenever possible.
- Improve your posture
Incorrect posture brings the shoulders forward, shortening the neck and shoulder muscles and squeezing the neck nerves. This can affect the hands, wrists, and fingers.
7. Mallet finger
The term “mallet finger” refers to the malformation of a fingertip that has been forcibly bent by an accident. When a ball or other item impacts the tip of a finger, for instance, the tendon that straightens the finger can rupture. This ailment is occasionally known as the “baseball finger.”
Mallet finger symptoms include:
- Inability to independently straighten the fingertip
A mallet finger may not recover to its normal form and function if not treated swiftly; therefore, anyone suffering symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as feasible. Your physician may conduct an x-ray to assess the extent of the injury and will advise you to wear a splint. Most injuries to the mallet finger can be repaired without surgery.
Prevention for Mallet’s finger:
To avoid such injuries, exercise caution when engaging in activities, including athletic competitions. Participate only after receiving clearance from your physician. Leave the splint on the finger for as long as the doctor recommends to prevent a recurrence of the injury.
How can you determine whether a wrist injury is serious?
Now that some of the most frequent wrist injuries have been discussed, it is clear that some are more severe than others. However, discomfort, swelling, deformity, the inability to move your hand or fingers, and other symptoms should serve as a crucial indicator that you require medical assistance. Some sprains and fractures can develop over time, even if they do not initially appear painful.
How can I determine the nature of my wrist injury?
The type of injury sustained may be determined by the angle of impact. A medical professional is required to properly diagnose and treat the injury if you are unable to do it on your own.