Wrist Sprains or Dislocations

A dislocated or sprained wrist is a common injury, especially in people who play sports. A wrist sprain is a ligament injury, and wrist dislocation indicates that the bones are out of alignment. Without proper care and treatment, these minor injuries can cause chronic pain and discomfort.

Contact us online today to learn about your treatment options for wrist sprains or dislocation. The Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery of Central Texas helps men and women from Austin, Round Rock and throughout Texas improve the pain and inflammation associated with a sprained or dislocated wrist.

Understanding Wrist Sprains and Treatments

Wrist sprains happen very easily, especially after a fall in which the wrist ends up getting bent backwards. When this happens, the ligaments that connect the bones to each other are stretched too far. Wrist sprains are broken into different grades of severity:

  • Grade 1: Mild sprain. The ligaments have been stretched, but they are not torn.
  • Grade 2: Moderate sprain. Some of the ligaments are torn, and some functionality of the wrist may be lost.
  • Grade 3: Severe sprain. At least one ligament has been completely torn. In some cases, the ligament may pull a piece of bone off in the force of the tear. A Grade 3 sprain may require surgery.  This can be done via an open approach, or by wrist arthroscopy.

The symptoms of mild to moderate wrist sprain include swelling, bruising, persistent pain and tenderness, and a “popping” sensation during wrist motion; sometimes the skin may feel warm to the touch. For more serious symptoms, an X-ray may be recommended to confirm diagnosis.

For Grade 1 sprains the RICE treatment is the most common approach: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Ice packs should be applied in 20 minute intervals, and an elastic bandage aids with compression. Keeping the wrist above the heart helps to reduce any swelling. It’s best to rest the wrist for a day or two.

Grade 2 sprains often require a customized splint to hold the joint steady and promote healing. This is worn for a week or more depending on how healing progresses.

Grade 3 sprains may require surgery for ligament repair. If the ligament is torn, it needs to be reconnected. If the ligament injury caused a wrist bone fracture severe enough to dislodge bone fragments, surgery may be needed in this case as well.

Understanding Wrist Dislocation and Treatment

Wrist dislocations are more serious than a sprain. When the wrist is dislocated, one or more of the bones inside the wrist has moved out of alignment, and will need to be moved back into place. This is called reduction.

In some cases, reduction can be accomplished externally with sedation. However, for more severe dislocation, surgery may be necessary to correctly align the wrist bones again. The goal of reduction is to ease the pain associated with dislocation as well as restore original alignment and ensure full rotation and function.

Recovery and Results

Most mild to moderate wrist sprains heal on their own with the proper conservative treatments; Grade 3 sprains and wrist dislocation may need surgery. If surgery occurs, then incorporating hand therapy and rehabilitation exercises serve as an essential part of the healing process. These help to stretch and strengthen the wrist muscles again. During the recovery process and while undergoing physical therapy, it’s important to avoid further strain to the area.

Contact us online today to learn more about your treatment options for wrist sprain or dislocation. The Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery of Central Texas helps men and women from Austin, Round Rock and throughout Texas enjoy a pain-free life again after a sprained or dislocated wrist.