Have you noticed swelling or pain in your wrist that makes it difficult for you to do daily tasks with ease? Chances are you’ve suffered from a sprain or strain. Sprains and strains to the wrist can hinder your ability to accomplish daily tasks with ease and make it difficult for you to sleep through the night without experiencing excruciating pain.
Our innovative care strategies at Hand In Hand Rehabilitation will help you find quick relief. Call our clinic today to learn how hand therapy can help you find relief from your wrist sprains or strains. We’re here to help you!
What’s the difference between a sprain and strain?
Before learning how hand therapists can help you with your sprain or strain, it’s important to know the difference between the two.
When a ligament (the tissue that connects one bone to another) is stretched or torn, it causes a sprain. A sprain can also occur when the joint capsule, or the part of the wrist that provides stability to the joint, is damaged. Pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, and the inability to move your wrist are all symptoms of sprains.
Strains occur when a muscle or tendon is damaged, whereas sprains occur when a ligament is damaged (the tissue that connects muscle to bone). Strains usually occur when a muscle contracts suddenly while it is stretched, such as when a person falls on an outstretched arm. Strains have symptoms that are similar to sprains, making it difficult to distinguish between the two without a hand therapy examination.
How do I know if I have a wrist sprain or strain?
Without having a professional assess your condition, determining whether your pain is caused by a sprain or a strain can be difficult. A hand, elbow, or wrist strain or sprain can be diagnosed by your doctor.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and take a complete medical history during your clinic visit. They’ll also rule out any possible fractures or breaks. Your doctor may order imaging tests, such as MRIs or X-rays, to determine what is causing your pain.
The following are some of the symptoms you might have if you have either of these wrist injuries:
- 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
Wrist sprains and strains are also common as a result of workplace injury and overuse. While it is sometimes possible to take action to prevent an injury from developing, it is especially important to be able to recognize when an injury develops and to understand ways that you can combat that injury by identifying what may have caused the pain to develop in the first place.
Risk Factors & Prevention:
Many things can increase your chances of sustaining a wrist injury.
- 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.
- 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’s nothing you can do to prevent every kind of wrist injury, however, there are ways you can avoid experiencing severe pain. Bon Secours suggests taking the following prevention measures:
- When starting a new exercise routine, you increase the intensity level gradually.
- Choose levels, flat surfaces for running or exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet to help avoid bone loss.
- Make sure you wear the proper equipment required for certain activities.
- Vary your physical activities to avoid repetitive motion and overuse.
- Do not continue to exercise with a hand, elbow, or wrist that is swollen or painful.
Hand therapy can help with strains and sprains
A hand therapist can help heal your sprain or strain and can help you strengthen your muscles in order to accommodate your lifestyle and physical activity. This will help make frequent daily chores, as well as strenuous, repetitive motions, much easier for them to accomplish.
Your hand therapist can also provide manual techniques for relief, such as targeted massage, pressure, and stretching of the affected area(s) to keep muscles loose and to relieve inflammation.
Your experienced hand therapist has treated many different wrist sprains/strains and they can get you back to living your pain-free life as quickly as possible. If you’ve sustained a sprain or strain to the wrist and you’re looking for help, rest assured that a solution to your problem exists. Make an appointment with our certified hand therapists today and get back to leading a life free of pain.