Have you noticed swelling or pain in your wrist, making it difficult to perform daily tasks? You’ve most likely suffered from a sprain or strain. Wrist sprains and strains can impair your ability to complete daily tasks and make it difficult to sleep through the night without experiencing excruciating pain.
Call our clinic today to learn how hand therapy can help you recover from wrist sprains or strains. The therapists at Hand in Hand Rehabilitation in New York, NY, and Carle Place, NY are here to assist you!
How are sprains and strains different?
Before you can learn how hand therapists can help you with your sprain or strain, you must first understand the distinction between the two.
A sprain occurs when a ligament (the tissue that connects one bone to another) is stretched or torn. When the joint capsule, or the part of the wrist that provides stability to the joint, is damaged, a sprain can occur. Sprains cause pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, and the inability to move your wrist.
Strains happen when a muscle or tendon is injured, whereas sprains happen when a ligament is injured (the tissue that connects muscle to bone). Strains usually happen when a muscle contracts suddenly while being stretched, such as when someone falls on an outstretched arm. Strains have symptoms that are similar to sprains, making differentiation difficult without a hand therapy examination.
How can I tell if I have a wrist sprain or strain?
It can be difficult to determine whether your pain is caused by a sprain or a strain without the help of a professional. Your doctor can diagnose a hand, elbow, or wrist strain or sprain.
During your clinic visit, your doctor will perform a physical exam and take a complete medical history. They will also rule out any fractures or breaks. To determine the source of your pain, your doctor may order imaging tests such as MRIs or X-rays.
If you have either of these wrist injuries, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Sharp or stinging pains in your wrist
- Uncomfortable “clicking” sounds with movement
- Dull pain that runs alongside your arm
- Sudden arm weakness
- Inability to use the affected muscle
Workplace injury and overuse are also common causes of wrist sprains and strains. While it is sometimes possible to take action to prevent an injury from occurring, it is especially important to be able to recognize when an injury occurs and understand how to combat that injury by determining what may have caused the pain to develop in the first place.
Preventing wrist injuries
Many things can increase your chances of sustaining a wrist injury. Including:
- Sports: If you play sports or do activities that require the repetitive use or motion of your hand and wrist, you risk developing a sprain or strain.
- A sudden increase in physical activity: Adopting a new routine your body isn’t used to or prepared for can increase your chances of getting hurt.
- Falls: People who are at a greater risk of falling, such as elderly patients, are also prone to sustaining an injury in their wrist.
- Previous injury: If you have previously injured a muscle, tendon, or ligament in your wrist, you’re much more likely to develop a sprain or strain.
There is nothing you can do to prevent every type of wrist injury, but there are ways to avoid severe pain. Bon Secours recommends the following preventative measures:
- When you begin a new exercise routine, gradually increase the intensity level.
- Choose flat, level surfaces for running or exercise.
- Maintain a healthy diet to help prevent bone loss.
- Wear the appropriate equipment for the activities you are participating in.
- To avoid repetitive motion and overuse, vary your physical activities.
- Stop exercising if your hand, elbow, or wrist is swollen or painful.
Treating your strains and sprains
A hand therapist can help you heal your sprain or strain while strengthening your muscles to accommodate your lifestyle and physical activity. This will make completing frequent daily chores and strenuous, repetitive motions much easier.
Your hand therapist can also provide relief through manual techniques such as targeted massage, pressure, and stretching of the affected area(s) to keep muscles loose and inflammation at bay.
Your skilled hand therapist at Hand in Hand Rehabilitation has treated numerous wrist sprains/strains and can get you back to living pain-free as soon as possible. If you’ve suffered a wrist sprain or strain and are looking for upper extremity pain relief, know that there is a solution to your problem. Make an appointment with one of our certified hand therapists in NY today to get back to living a pain-free life.