Wrist injuries are common among athletes.A wrist injury occurs when the wrist is stretched too far.Depending on the severity of the injury, a wrist sprained can cause pain, inflammation, and sometimes bruise.It can be hard to tell the difference between a badly injured wrist and a broken bone.If you suspect a broken bone, make an appointment with your doctor and get medical treatment.
Step 1: There will be pain with movement.
Wrist sprains have a wide range of severity depending on the degree of stretch and/or tearing.Mild wrist sprains involve some stretching, but no significant tearing, while moderate and severe wrist injuries involve tearing up to 50% of the fibers.With Grade 1 and 2 wrist sprains, movement will be relatively painless.A Grade 3 injury can lead to joint instability because the involved ligament is no longer attached to the wrist bones.There’s often a grinding feeling with movement, which is restricted with wrist injuries.The Grade 1 wrist sprains are mildly painful and can be sharp with movement.Depending on the degree of tearing, a Grade 2 wrist injury can cause moderate-to-severe pain, but it can also be throbbing because of inflammation.Grade 3 wrist sprains are usually less painful than Grade 2 varieties because the ligament is completely severed and not irritating surrounding nerves as much.
Step 2: Look for signs of inflammation.
Inflammation is a common symptom of wrist injuries, but it varies depending on the severity of the injury.Grades 1 and 3 sprains have the least amount of swelling.Swelling will make your wrist look worse than it is.The inflammation response to injury tends to be over-reaction because it’s anticipating the worst-case scenario of an open wound.It reduces pain and helps to maintain range of motion in your wrist if you try to limit inflammation caused by a sprain with cold therapy, compress, and/or anti-Inflammatory drugs.Swelling from inflammation doesn’t cause a lot of color change to the skin.A wrist that has been injured will feel warm to the touch because of the accumulated inflammation.The wrist and hand can feel cold when the circulation is cut off due to blood vessel damage.
Step 3: If it develops, you should see it.
Swelling at the site of injury is not the same as bruised.It’s caused by the blood that comes into the surrounding tissues from the injured blood vessels.If the injury was from a hard blow that crushed the small blood vessels directly underneath the skin, it’s a grade 1 wrist sprains.It depends on how the injury occurred and if there is lots of swelling or not.Because trauma that causes a completely torn ligament is usually severe enough to also rip or damage surrounding blood vessels, Grade 3 sprains involve a lot of swelling and typically significant bruising.The dark bruise is caused by blood leaking into the tissues below the skin’s surface.As the blood degrades and gets flushed out of the tissue, the bruise changes color with time (dark blue, green, and yellow).It takes more trauma to break a bone than it does to hurt a wrist.An avulsion fractured wrist can be caused by a Grade 3 wrist injury.There’s a lot of pain and inflammation.
Step 4: If you apply ice, you can see any improvement.
Wrist sprains of all grades respond well to cold therapy because it reduces inflammation and numbs surrounding nerve fibers that cause pain.The accumulation of more inflammation around the injury site is why cold therapy is important for Grade 2 and 3 wrist sprains.After a day or two following an injury, applying cold therapy to a wrist can make movement easier and reduce the intensity of pain.In contrast, icing a wrist fracture is helpful for pain and inflammation control, but the symptoms often return after the effects wear off.Cold therapy is more effective on sprains than it is on most fractured bones.Cold therapy works better than more serious injuries for the small hairline fractures.Wrap cold therapy on your injured wrist with a thin towel to avoid skin irritation and frost bite.
Step 5: You should consult with your family physician.
Your doctor is more qualified to make an accurate diagnosis than the above information can help you understand.A detailed history can lead to a specific diagnosis in 70% of wrist pain cases.If the injury appears severe, your doctor will likely send you for a wrist x-ray to rule out a fractured bone.X-rays only show bones and not soft tissues.Because of their small size and confined space, broken carpal bones can be difficult to see on x-ray.If the x-rays don’t show a wrist injury, but the injury is serious and requires surgery, the doctor might send you for an exam.It’s hard to see carpal bones on regular x-rays because of the inflammation.You might have to wait a week or two to get another x-ray.Depending on the severity of symptoms and mechanism of injury, these types of injuries may require additional scans.Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by demineralization and brittle bones, is a significant risk factor for wrist fractures, but it doesn’t increase the risk of wrist sprains.
Step 6: You can get a referral for an exam.
There’s no need for an MRI or other high-tech diagnostic test for Grade 1 wrist and most Grade 2 sprains because the injuries are short-lived and tend to heal within a few weeks without any medical treatment.If the diagnosis remains unclear and the injury is more serious, then magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) is needed.Magnetic waves are used to provide detailed images of the body.It’s great to see which part of the body is badly torn.If surgery is required, this information is very helpful.Wrist injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, mimic wrist sprains, but an MRI can distinguish between the different injuries.It is helpful to see the extent of blood vessel and nerve damage if your wrist injury is causing symptoms in your hand, such as numbness, tingling and/or loss of normal color.The wear and tear type is one of the causes of wrist pain.Osteoarthritis pain is chronic, gets worse over time and usually involves a grinding feeling with wrist movement.
Step 7: Consider a computed tomograph.
If your wrist injury is pretty severe and the diagnosis remains unclear after x-rays and an MRI, then further scans such as a CT Scan are indicated.Computerized tomography scans combine x-ray images taken from different angles and use computer processing to create cross-sectional images of all hard and soft tissues inside your body.Similar levels of detail to regular x-rays are provided by CT images.If you’re looking for a hidden wrist injury, it’s best to use CT, although it can be better for more subtle injuries.If your health insurance won’t cover the costs of a diagnosis, it may be because the scans are less expensive.You are exposed to ionizing radiation.The amount of radiation is not harmful.The scaphoid bone is connected to the lunate bone by the most common injury in the wrist.If your wrist pain persists even if the diagnostic results are negative, your doctor will likely refer you to a bone and joint specialist for more testing and evaluation.