At one point or another, you are likely to get a wrist or hand injury that could cause pain and swelling. Depending on the severity, wrist/hand injury symptoms will vary from mild to moderate pain and discomfort. This will affect not only your wrist movement but also your quality of life.
Your wrists are what connect your hand to the forearm. It is a combination of several small joints and not just one big joint. This is what makes it flexible, allowing an individual to rotate their hand in different positions.
What happens during a wrist injury?
Wrist injuries are common, especially with athletes. All it usually takes is a momentary loss of balance. We are predisposed to stick out our hands when we fall to help us break a fall, exposing our wrists. When your wrist gets into contact with the ground, the force applied forces it to bend back towards the forearm. This action stretches the ligaments connecting an individual’s hand bones and wrists a little too far. The aftereffect is small tears, or worse, the ligament breaks completely. While falls are perhaps the most common ways you can injure your wrist, it can also happen if:
- Excessive pressure is exerted on the wrist
- If an individual is hit on the wrist.
Symptoms of a wrist injury
Wrist or hand injury can cause a lot of discomforts. How would you know if you have an injury on your wrists or hand?
The most common symptom of a wrist or hand injury is pain. Depending on the damage, pain will vary from an intermittent dull throbbing pain to constant sharp pain. The pain from a wrist injury will generally subside after a few days. Individuals with wrist injuries will experience pain performing activities such as lifting or opening door knobs until the healing process is complete.
Depending on the injury, the wrist will appear swollen. Swelling usually occurs due to fluid collecting in the joint and tissue spaces around the injured area. The severity of swelling depends typically on the impact of the injury.
One of the symptoms of an injured wrist or hand is a weakness at the joint. Individuals will experience reduced grip and pinching strength. This symptom is common due to pushing of the hand.
Reduced flexibility and stiffness of the wrist
Stiffness in the injured wrist can be due to muscle spasm or swelling as a result of ligament injury. Individuals will also experience decreased motion, especially during side movements or bending the wrist backward. As the wrist heals, its flexibility will gradually improve.
How do you treat an injured wrist/hand?
An injured wrist or hand is a harrowing experience. In case it happens during a sporting activity, you will have to take the bench for a while. Fortunately, wrist injuries generally heal on their own and only need a little time. To speed the process:
- Put some ice on the affected area to reduce pain
- Have some rest for at least 48-hours
- Use a bandage to compress your wrist
- Ensure the wrist is immobile; you can use a splint or cast.
- Pain killer or anti-inflammatory drugs can also help reduce pain and swelling. However, consult your doctor before taking any over the counter medication.
- Keep your hand elevated as much as you can.
- As the wrist heals, practice strengthening, and stretching exercises.
If the pain or swelling doesn’t subside after 24 hours, consult a hand and wrist specialist immediately. Severe wrist sprains where the ligament is broken may require surgery to recover.