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Did I Sprain My Wrist?

A wrist sprain is a common injury in our active mountain community. Most of the time, this injury is the result of falls on the wrist that puts undue pressure on the joint. A forceful impact can place the wrist in a position past its normal range of motion, resulting in torn or strained ligaments.

What are the Symptoms of a Wrist Sprain?

Wrists sprains are the result of an injury. If you are experiencing the following symptoms after a fall or direct impact to the wrist, it’s time to contact an orthopeadic specialist.

A mild wrist sprain is typically accompanied by:

  • Slight swelling

  • Tenderness

  • Moderate pain during movement

In a more severe wrist sprain, patients often report the following:

  • Deformity of the wrist

  • Significant swelling

  • Bruising

  • Intense pain during movement

At Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery, Dr. Joseph and his team will diagnose the severity of your wrist sprain, rating it on a grade of one to three. The breakdown of these grades are as follows:

  • Grade One: The wrist's ligaments are stretched or have microscopic tears.

  • Grade Two: The damage is more severe, and some wrist ligaments may be partially torn.

  • Grade Three: One or more wrist ligaments are entirely torn, leaving the joint loose and creating loss of function.

After your injury has been properly diagnosed, Dr. Joseph will recommend a treatment plan that gets you back to doing the activities you love.

How Do You Treat a Sprained Wrist

The majority of ligament sprains can be treated conservatively. This is done through the following nonsurgical methods:

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • Compression

  • Elevation

  • Bracing

  • Anti-inflammatory medication

  • Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

However, if the sprain is a grade three level injury, it will probably require surgery to repair the ligament. Dr. Joseph is usually about to perform this surgery arthroscopically, which reduces scarring and has a faster recovery time.

As a general rule of thumb, your wrist sprain is fully healed when:

  • There is no pain while at rest

  • There is no pain while gripping or moving objects

  • The injured wrist has as much strength as your uninjured wrist

Recovery time for a sprained wrist depends on the severity of the injury. Mild sprains heal as fast as a few days, but mild to severe sprains can take as long as ten weeks before full function is restored. When surgery is required, recovery could take anywhere from three to six months.

It’s important to speak with an orthopaedic wrist expert before resuming high-impact activities. Using your wrist before it has completely healed can lead to permanent damage.

Wrist Pain? Contact Team Joseph Today!

Dr. Joseph is an orthopaedic wrist specialist dedicated to getting you back to the activities you love. If you are experiencing wrist pain, contact Vail Valley’s and Summit County’s most trusted physician today!

Make an appointment in any of our three conveniently located clinics by calling (970) 476-7220 or by submitting our online appointment request form.

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