Listed below are some of the most common sprained wrist symptoms. The most important thing you’ll want to do after you hurt a wrist, or any part of the body, is make sure that it isn’t broken. A broken bone that goes unchecked can cause serious problems later on in life. Limited movement and regular pain are just some of the things that you’ll have to deal with if you leave a broken bone to heal on it’s own.
A lot of wrist pain is often caused by an over-stretching of the tendons and ligaments that run down the wrist and into your hand. These are the tough fibers that control the movement of your extremities. You can often see them moving as you wiggle your fingers. Many people will fall and instinctively try to catch themselves, thus causing their hand to bend back farther than it should. This in turn pulls the ligaments much farther than they should ever be pulled.
A sprained wrist is separated into levels of severity. These levels are called Grades, and they go from 1 to 3.
Grade !: Mild sprain – the ligaments are stretched beyond normal, but they are not torn and no serious damage was done.
Grade 2: Moderate sprain – ligaments may be slightly damaged, and pain is quite pronounced but not unbearable.
Grade 3: Severe sprain – ligaments may be completely torn, and level of pain is extremely high.
If you think you’ve sprained your wrist, there are a few things you should look for. These symptoms should help you decide whether it’s just a sprain, or something more serious.
- Skin is bruised around the site of injury.
- Joint is beginning to swell.
- Moving the wrist is painful, often more so in one direction compared to the other (example, moving up hurts more than down).
- Strange sensations like tingling near the injury site.
The movement part is crucial when deciding whether you have a broken wrist or not. If you can’t move your wrist at all, or if it hurts no matter what direction you move it in, it is likely broken. You should report to a hospital immediately if this is the case.
Sprained Wrist Treatment
Once you’ve decided that your wrist is sprained and not broken, it’s time for treatment. Treating a sprained wrist is like treating any other joint injury in the fact that it relies mainly on rest. It is extremely important that you don’t move an injured joint such as the wrist for at least a week after the injury, or until the pain is gone. If you accidentally bump your wrist on something or twist in the wrong way, you could turn a small ligament tear into a complete separation.
You should also put ice on the injured wrist immediately after you hurt it. This will minimize the pain and swelling. Use the 20/40 rule for best results. 20 minutes of ice on the injury, followed by 40 minutes without ice, each hour. Continue this until your pain begins to die down, or until you find a splint to put your arm in.
That leads me to the next important item; the splint! A splint can be a bit cumbersome at times, especially if you have to write or type a lot. However, they are very helpful for reducing pain and the chance for further injury. Make sure to keep your splint on at all times, even when you go to bed. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll get used to wearing it. And besides, a couple weeks of wearing a splint in exchange for a lifetime of normal wrist function doesn’t sound too bad to me.
So, the main things to remember when treating a sprained wrist are ice and little movement. Just give your wrist some time to heal before you go out and do anything crazy and you should be fine.