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What to Do About Your Wrist Sprain

What to Do About Your Wrist Sprain

Unfortunately, accidentally twisting your wrist and injuring the ligaments in the joint is pretty common. Much of the time, this type of injury leads to a wrist sprain, which happens when the ligaments that support the joint are stretched too far. 

If you suspect you have a sprained wrist, it might be tempting to see if it will heal on its own. But in reality, it’s best to have an orthopedic professional evaluate your wrist and assess the injury since treatments vary based on the type and severity of the sprain. 

At Performance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, with locations in Wall Township, Toms River, and Shrewsbury, New Jersey, our board-certified orthopedic providers specialize in diagnosing and treating all types of wrist sprains.

Here’s a look at what to do about your sprained wrist and how we can help you heal faster.

Understanding wrist sprains

Your wrists are supported by strong bands of fibrous tissues called ligaments. These ligaments connect the bones and stretch so that you can move while maintaining stability and proper bone position in the joint. 

You develop a wrist sprain when these ligaments stretch too far. Symptoms of a wrist sprain include:

A sprain could involve a mild stretch or a torn ligament. The different degree of injury determines the grade of wrist sprain you have:

Keep in mind that even if your symptoms are relatively mild, you could still have a ligament tear. Without medical treatment, this injury could cause long-term problems in your wrist. For this reason, it’s always best to seek medical care for wrist sprains. 

Caring for a sprained wrist

The most important thing you can do for a sprained wrist is to have it evaluated by a medical expert. Don’t try to tough it out or shake off the injury, as this could lead to serious complications or prolong your recovery. 

Instead, rest your wrist and stop doing any activity that triggers pain or discomfort. Depending on the grade of your injury, you might need to immobilize the joint with a brace or splint. 

It’s fine to take some over-the-counter pain medication to help ease your discomfort and minimize any swelling. But relying on medication can cause more problems than it solves by making your symptoms and risking re-injury. 

Instead of popping too many pills, try elevating your wrist and applying ice or cold packs. Don’t take more than the recommended amount of medicine, and if the pain meds aren’t effective, be sure to talk to your Performance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for guidance. 

Keep in mind that recovering from a sprained wrist takes time. Even a mild wrist sprain could take up to six weeks to recover completely. During this time, it’s important not to overdo activities as this could prevent full healing. 

For the best long-term prognosis after a wrist sprain, it’s important to build strength in the joint. As you heal, try squeezing a rubber ball in your hand while keeping your wrist from moving. Hold it for about 30 seconds, then release it. Repeat this exercise several times a day. 

Your Performance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine may also recommend physical therapy, depending on the nature of your injury. Be sure to go to all of your appointments if this is the case and follow up with your provider for additional instructions. 

When to call your provider

Most of the time, mild and even moderate wrist sprains heal without too many complications—provided you visit your care team and follow their instructions. 

However, there are signs that you could have an underlying complication. If you experience any of the following, call your Performance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine immediately:

You should also call your provider if your wrist injury isn’t healing or getting better. 

Learn more about what to do about your sprained wrist by scheduling an appointment at the Performance Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine office nearest you.

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