Wrist pain

Wrist and hand injuries are a common repetitive Injuty.

Wrist sprains are common injuries that are often the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. While other accidents and impacts can cause a sprained wrist, it is often the result of a forward or backward bend. Wrist pain that comes on gradually is usually from repetitive strain injury (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The key to getting the right treatment for your wrist and hand problem is seeking help from a chiropractor or physiotherapist who knows the wrist and hand well. At Incline Health we have a passion for fixing joint and muscle problems and the wrist and hand is of particular interest for us. We use evidence-based treatments to reduce wrist and hand pain and improve wrist and hand function. Our chiropractors use the latest and highest standards in national and international guidelines to ensure you get the absolute best.

The following is a list of conditions that our chiropractors treat, along with all other pain and problems:

  • Wrist sprain
  • Broken wrist
  • Scaphoid fracture
  • Sprained thumb
  • Broken finger

Wrist Sprain

Wrist sprain are extremely common and an injury that our chiropractors see often.

Causes of wrist sprain

Wrist sprains are common injuries that are often the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. While other accidents and impacts can cause a sprained wrist, it is often the result of a forward or backward bend. Wrist pain that comes on gradually is usually from repetitive strain injury (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sprains to the wrist vary in pain and severity which involves:

  • Grade 1: May involve the ligament being stretched
  • Grade 2: Partial tears of a ligament
  • Grade 3: A full rupture of one or more ligaments that may include an avulsion fracture, which is when a fragment of bone is pulled off with the ligament.

If a wrist sprain is not assessed and treated properly it can cause recurring pain.

Symptoms of wrist sprain

Symptoms of wrist sprains vary depending on the extent of the injury. Symptoms include sudden pain, tearing, popping and tenderness throughout the wrist. Mild swelling and bruising may also be visible in more serious injuries.

Treatment

Treatment of wrist sprains include:

  • Applying the P.R.I.C.E (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) principle to protect from any further damage
  • Wearing a wrist support to protect the joint and prevent movement as it heals
  • Applying a cold pack to help ease the pain, swelling and inflammation. Every 2 hours apply the pack
  • Wearing a compression bandage. Do not wear the bandage for longer than 10 minutes at a time as it may restrict blood flow.
  • Undergoing surgery followed by a rehabilitation program at the guidance of a chiropractor. Surgery may be required for more serious injuries.
  • Elevating the wrist above the level of the heart to prevent further swelling
  • Wrist strengthening exercises.

Depending on the extent of the sprain, immobilisation in a splint for 1 – 2 weeks may be required to allow the ligament to heal.

Broken Wrist

A broken wrist involves a break or fracture in the wrist end of the ulna forearm bones, radius bones or any of the small carpal bones located in the wrist.

Causes

Causes of a broken wrist are commonly from direct force or trauma to the bones. Causes can include, though are not limited to:

  • Sports injuries: Many injuries can occur during sports, particularly wrist and hand breaks and fractures as people often use outstretched hands to protect them during contact sports activities.
  • Falls: When people fall, it’s common for them to fall with an outstretched thinking it will provide protection, though the outcome can sometimes be a fractured or broken wrist

Symptoms

Symptoms of a broken wrist will vary depending on the severity and grade of the injury. In most cases, regardless of the grade, swelling and pain is experienced. This pain is likely to become worse when moving the hand. Numbness and tingling may also be experienced in the fingers or hand and can be the result of nerve damage.

There are a few different fractures that can contribute to a broken or fractures wrist:

  • Scaphoid fracture: The most common fracture involving a fracture to one of the small carpal bones in the wrist named the scaphoid bone. Prolonged or incomplete healing can occur due to poor blood supply in to the scaphoid.
  • Colles fracture: This fracture is often the cause of an outstretched arm. This break occurs at radius bone in the forearm. Elderly females who have osteoporosis are prone to this fracture.
  • Hook of hamate fracture: This fracture occurs in the hamate bone, which is one of the small carpal bones on the outside of the wrist.

Treatments

If you have a broken or fractured wrist, treatment can involve:

  • Immobilisation in a cast or splint for 4 – 8 weeks as the injury and bone heals
  • Surgery to realign the bones and hold them together as they heal

It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect a broken wrist so that it can be x-rayed and a formal diagnosis can be made.

Scaphoid Fracture

A scaphoid fracture is usually described by its location within the bone. Most commonly, the scaphoid breaks in its mid-portion, called the “waist.” Fractures can also occur at both the proximal and distal ends of the bone.

Scaphoid fractures are classified according to the severity of displacement–or how far the pieces of bone have moved out of their normal position:

  • Non-displaced fracture. In this type of fracture, the bone fragments line up correctly.
  • Displaced fracture. In this type of fracture, the bone fragments have moved out of their normal position. There may be gaps between the pieces of bone or fragments may overlap each other

Causes of scaphoid fracture

A scaphoid fracture usually occurs when you fall onto an outstretched hand, with your weight landing on your palm. The end of the larger forearm bone (the radius) may also break in this type of fall, depending on the position of the hand on landing.

The injury can also happen during sports activities or motor vehicle collisions.

Fractures of the scaphoid occur in people of all ages, including children.There are no specific risk factors or diseases that make you more likely to experience a scaphoid fracture. Some studies have shown that using wrist guards during high-energy activities like inline skating and snowboarding can help decrease your chance of breaking a bone around the wrist.

Symptoms of scaphoid fracture

Scaphoid fractures usually cause pain and swelling in the anatomic snuffbox and on the thumb side of the wrist. The pain may be severe when you move your thumb or wrist, or when you try to pinch or grasp something.

Unless your wrist is deformed, it might not be obvious that your scaphoid bone is broken. With some scaphoid fractures, the pain is not severe and may be mistaken for a wrist sprain.

Pain in your wrist that does not go away within a day of injury may be a sign of a fracture—so it is important to see a doctor if your pain persists. Prompt treatment of a scaphoid fracture will help avoid potential complications.

Treatment of scaphoid fracture

Tenderness is often felt in the anatomical snuffbox between two tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Pushing on this area will cause pain. Medical imaging is needed immediately as a delay in treatment can lead to death of the scaphoid bone. If the chiropractors suspect fracture prompt referral will be given.

  • If the fracture is non-displaced (bone has not moved out of place at the fracture), it usually can be successfully treated with a cast. Although the fracture may heal in as little as six weeks, it may take longer for some patients.
  • If the fracture is in a certain part of the bone or if the fracture is at all displaced (bone ends have shifted), surgery might be the best option. This might include the insertion of a screw or pins.

Sprained Thumb

A sprained thumb is the result of the thumb being bent in a direction outside of its usual range of movement. This causes damage to the bottom of the thumbs where the ligaments are supporting the joint.

Causes

A sprained thumb is often the cause of a sporting related fall or injury by being either jammed into another player or an object (such as a ball) or when the thumb is bent into an unnatural position that is against the normal movement. This can cause one or more ligaments to tear.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms involve pain at the time that the injury occurs, often when the thumb is being bent backwards. Any movement after the sprain can continue to cause pain. Swelling is also common for a sprained thumb; this is often visible at the base of the thumb and may cause laxity and instability in the joint.

Treatments

Treatment for a sprained thumb often involves:

  • Applying P.R.I.C.E (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation)
  • Applying a cold pack every hour for 10 – 15 minutes in this first 24 – 48 hours of the injury to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. This frequency can be decreased or stopped depending on the improvement of the symptoms.
  • Wearing a bandage or support to reduce swelling and assist in the healing process
  • Rehabilitation at the advice and guidance of a chiropractor or physiotherapist to improve mobility and strength.

Broken Finger

A broken finger is generally very obvious however sometimes they can be minor and go undiagnosed. It is important to see a chiropractor after an injury to the hand in order for a diagnosis and treatment plan to be made.

Causes of broken finger

A broken finger is a common break or fracture in one of the three bones that make up the fingers called phalange bones. There are many causes of a broken finger, most of which involve it being crushed in between objects or bent by force, impact or collision. While finger breaks and fractures may be common, it is advised that they are treated properly to avoid further injuries in the future.

Symptoms of a broken finger

Swelling and immediate pain will be felt at the time of the injury and bruising with often become visual quickly. If the injury has caused nerve damage then it will feel tingly and numb.

Treatment of a broken finger

Treatment for a broken finger involves:

  • Resting the finger and immobilising it with a strap or splint to prevent movement
  • Applying ice or a cold pack
  • Lifting and holding the hand above the heart in an elevated position to minimise bleeding and swelling
  • Undertake strengthening exercises to regain full movement and strength. Stress balls, play dough and elastic bands can be helpful.

It is important to seek medical attention for a broken finger and get an x-ray to confirm where the fracture is.

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