Hand and wrist injuries usually present with hand and wrist pain, bruising and swelling. Signs of hand and wrist include misshapen joints and inability to move your wrist. Hand and wrist injuries can affect anyone to any level, since everyone uses these repeatedly each day.
It is important to note that the wrist is made up of eight small bones known as carpals, and these collectively support the carpal tunnel that runs through the wrist. Inside the tube are tendons and a nerve, and a ligament holds the nerve in place. Everyday activities can cause strain, pain or injury, and can result in conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Sudden injury or impact causing fractures can occur, causing pain and swelling to the patient.
Types of Hand and Wrist Injury
Sprain or Strain of the Hand and Wrist
A sprain is a torn or stretched ligament, a fall, twist or impact injury can cause a sprain. The symptoms are usually swelling, bruising, or inability to move the joint, since the ligament attaches itself at the sight of the joint. When the injury occurs, you may experience a pop or a tear.
A strain is a torn or stretched tendon, and tendons are the tissues that connect muscle to bone. When tendons are pulled or twisted, it can result in a strain. The difference between this and a sprain is that strains can either happen instantly or over a period of time. Most strains come from playing sports, repeated activity or sudden twist. The symptoms of a strain are often pain, muscle spasms, swelling and difficulty moving the muscle.
The initial treatment for both of these injuries is to rest the hand or wrist, using a bandage and regularly icing the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.
Fractures of the Hand and Wrist
Fractures are another word for a crack or a break in a bone. When the broken bone punctures the skin, this is known as a compound fracture. The cause of fractures is most often due to sudden injury caused by falls, car accidents, or sports injures. It is also possible to experience fracture as a result of osteoporosis or low bone density, in which case these are usually stress fractures.
Symptoms of Hand and Wrist Fractures
- Intense Pain
- Deformity – the limb is not in place
- Swelling and tenderness around the injury
- Numbness and tingling
- Problems moving the limb or joint
In any case of fracture or injury that you suspect may be a fracture, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. For obvious reasons, this is particularly urgent when the bone sticks out from the skin, causing bleeding and extreme pain.
Tendinitis of the Hand and Wrist
Tendinitis almost always occurs due to repeated use or injury to the wrist. The tendon will swell causing pain and soreness, known as tendinitis. Often tendinitis is caused by repeated use due to sports or other work-related activity that requires repetitive motion.
A doctor will initially treat this condition with rest and ice to reduce swelling in the tendon, and relieve you from pain. Other treatments can be sought if the injury is recurring or severe enough to warrant it.
All hand and wrist injuries should be examined as early as possible by a doctor to prevent a worsening problem and to maximize the potential for healthy healing.
Learn more about hand and wrist injury treatment from the Fort Worth Hand Therapy Center located on the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute (OSMI) website.
- Boutonnière Deformity
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Compartment Syndrome
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Ganglion Cyst of the Wrist and Hand
- Kienböck's Disease
- Mallet Finger
- Mucous Cyst
- Trigger Finger
- Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome of the Wrist
- Volar Retinacular Cyst
- Arthritis of the Hand, Thumb and Wrist