What should I do if I have a wrist injury?

Written by: Top Doctors®
Edited by: Top Doctors®


Wrist injuries affect your mobility and all activities of the hand, limiting your day to day tasks.


The most frequent reasons for consultation to experts in Orthopaedic Surgery for pain in the wrist can be grouped based on their most common causes.




Most common causes of wrist injuries



  • Accident or trauma, such as falls, knocks, blows to the wrist.

    The injuries that can often appear after a trauma of certain intensity on the wrist are the fracture of the radius in the area closest to the wrist and some injuries of the ligaments.
  • Performing repeated manual effort over time may cause the development of tendonitis or the growth of synovial cysts or ganglions on the back of the wrist.

    The most common type of tendonitis is that which affects the fingers and especially the thumb. This presents as pain in the area of the wrist that also radiates to the forearm and thumb. These wrist injuries usually appear during the working life of the patient and/or also with the practice of certain sports.
  • Rheumatic inflammatory disease is a cause of wrist pain in some people.


People more at risk of wrist injury


Fractures are particularly common in patients with osteoporosis who stop a fall with an open hand. Menopausal women are a specific risk group.

These kinds of fractures also exist in young patients due to high energy trauma, such as sports or traffic accidents.


Diagnosis of a wrist injury


Injuries to the wrist ligaments often go unnoticed at first because they do not present specific pain that is easy to identify. That is why it is important to see a specialist in hand and wrist surgery, as specific manoeuvers or tests are often required for diagnosis.

The triangular fibrocartilage lesion or the rupture of the scapholunate ligament, are two of the most frequent ligamentous injuries, both which usually require surgical treatment.


Treatment of wrist injuries


  • Fractures with displacement of bone fragments need to be treated surgically, reconstructing the original form of the bone with the use of a plate and screws.

    Wrist arthroscopy is a useful technique for controlling the condition of the joint during surgery.
  • Tendonitis usually improves with anti-inflammatory treatment and immobilisation with orthopaedic splints.

    When there is no improvement, the specialist can carry out a local infiltration. In cases where the cause is a narrowing in the tendon circulation, surgical treatment may be necessary.
  • Synovial ganglions require surgical treatment when they cause pain or limitation of movement. The arthroscopic technique is used because this has the advantage of not needing to make cutaneous incisions that can limit mobility.

By Topdoctors
Orthopaedic surgery

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