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Treating Wrist Injuries

Written by Accredited Sports Professionals   Posted in:Rehabilitation   December 7, 2016

Treating Wrist Injuries  article image
The wrist is a complex joint comprised of the articulation of eight bones, divided into two rows of four. They are connected by many ligaments as well as intimately related to the tendons of the fingers, hand, and forearm, providing movements involving flexion, extension, ulnar deviation, and radial deviation, thus enabling gripping, turning, and fine motor function of the hand. Without proper wrist function, significant disability can occur not only with athletic performance, but also with everyday activities. Wrist injuries most always affect function of the hand, fingers, elbow, and possibly shoulder, due downtime spent either in immobilization or temporary disuse of the affected extremity, even if it is just for a week’s time. Acute wrist injuries can occur from direct trauma (i.e. fracture or sprains) or from repetitive strain with improper training (such as prolonged gripping, poor ergonomics or athletic form, excessive repetitive  force, or prolonged upper extremity weight bearing). Most all of wrist injuries require a period of stabilization and rest to reduce swelling and pain, combined with modalities such as ultrasound, ice, heat/ice contrasts, tape, bracing, casting, and/or electrical stimulation. Once the wrist is fairly stabilized, physical therapy begins to gradually mobilize the wrist via stretching and manual therapy techniques to restore normal function. At the same time, efforts to address elbow and shoulder dysfunction is immediately initiated to facilitate quick return of the whole extremity function via postural analysis, range of motion, strengthening, and ultimately, sport-specific training. Should there be any lingering difficulty involving the function of the hand and fingers, concurrent treatment with a certified hand therapist (CHT) can expedite the healing process and return to sport.