Chronic wrist pain can be explored with an arthroscope to get a clear diagnosis when other tests do not help.

Wrist Sprain

The wrist has many ligaments that can easily be torn or stretched resulting in a sprain. Ligaments are connective tissue that connect bone together.

A wrist sprain is a typically an injury caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand and is commonly seen in sport activities and outdoor recreation.

Typical symptoms of a wrist sprain are pain when moving the wrist, swelling, bruising, tenderness, warmth at injury site, and popping sensation in the wrist. Wrist sprains are graded according to the severity of the damage to the ligaments. Grade 1 is just a stretched ligament, grade 2 the ligaments are partially torn, and in a grade 3 sprain the ligament is torn and may need surgical repair. When a complete tear occurs the ligament can take part of the bone resulting in an avulsion fracture.

Grade 1 sprains can be treated with rest, ice, compression, rest, and anti-inflammatories. Grade 2 sprains may also need to be immobilized for a few weeks in addition to the above treatment.

Grade 3 wrist sprains may need surgery to reconnect the torn ligament and immobilization following surgery. Physical therapy to restore motion and strength typically follows.

Wrist Sprain
Many ligaments support the wrist.
Image courtesy of AAOS