Wrist Sprains…Time is Healing!
Wrist sprains are quite common both in sports and recreationally, but more frequently can occur in winter due to ice, snow, and poor conditions on sidewalks and roads. Typically, when one falls to brace themselves, they put their hand out. This type of injury is referred to as a FOOSH (Fall On an Out-Stretched Hand) and most commonly leads to a sprain or possible fracture if the fall is hard enough or from a high distance.
Wrist sprains are graded as I, II, or III. Grade I sprains cause micro-tearing or stretching of the ligament(s) in the wrist resulting in pain, swelling, inflammation, and mild difficulty with movement. Grade II are moderate sprains that involve partial tearing to the ligament(s) in the wrist resulting in significant pain, swelling, and weakness, alongside deficits with wrist movement. Some grade II sprains can affect one’s function in their daily activities, compromising their ability to do their job or simple home tasks and won’t allow sports/exercise participation. Grade III sprains are full-blown tears of the ligament(s) involved, resulting typically in surgery to repair them. They will require a splint to support the wrist. Evaluating the wrist quickly will likely avoid the possibility of suffering AVN (avascular necrosis). The recovery time of a Grade I sprain is typically 2-6 weeks; grade II 6-8 weeks and 12 weeks for a grade III.
Once wrist sprains are properly evaluated and diagnosed by a sports chiropractor through physical exam and X-rays, you need to apply PRICE for the 1st 72 hours (pressure, rest, ice, compression, and elevation) no matter of the sprain grade. This will ensure that swelling and inflammation decrease as quickly as possible. Kinesiotape can help to support the wrist too in any sprain grade so that your pain may decrease and your function may improve faster. If it is a grade I sprain, chiropractic manipulation of the wrist and IFC (interferential current) (in addition to ice) can be performed to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation, including improving mobility and function. Once the swelling decreases, Active Release and functional rehab exercises are incorporated to strengthen and stabilize the ligament(s) and stimulate additional movement. Also, applying heat with a barrier will increase blood flow to the ligament(s), where typically blood flow is less compared to muscles and tendons. With grade II sprains, chiropractic manipulation is indicated if no other tissues (blood supply, tendon) are injured and about 1-3 weeks of healing have occurred, depending on severity and function.
Don’t wait or try to fix your wrist on your own. The longer you go before treatment begins, the longer it will take to heal. Recognizing and taking control of this injury by seeing a sports chiropractor expedites your ability to heal and to recover faster so you can get back to your daily activities, including exercise and sports.
It is time for YOU to take control when it comes to your health.
Please call the office today if you or someone you know has sustained a recent wrist injury and you want answers to get relief!
Brian Marion, DC, CCSP, ART, CKTP