Common examples include a fall onto an outstretched hand or sudden onset of pain with a racket swing. It is important, at this point, to rule out a wrist fracture. If the physiotherapist suspects a fracture, they will refer to a physician who can decide if imaging, such as X-ray, is appropriate. If a fracture has occurred, treatment initially is six to eight weeks of immobilization. After this period, physiotherapy will be required to regain mobility and strength in the wrist and hand.
Aside from fractures, a traumatic injury is likely to cause wrist strains and sprains. A strain is a tear to muscle and/or tendon whereas a sprain is a tear to a ligament. Wrist sprains and strains often occur together.
Treatment initially focuses on pain management and rest, followed by a progressive strengthening program to regain stability.
In this case, pain develops gradually and is often linked to repetitive activities like racket sports or use of hand tools. With this type of injury, it is typically the muscles and tendons around the joint that become irritated. This results in a sore wrist that gets better with rest and worsens with activity. A common diagnosis in this category is wrist tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon) or tenosynovitis (inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon).
Treatment firstly looks to address pain and improve strength and mobility. In addition, treatment includes looking at preventative factors like workstation ergonomics, the use of braces, and altering the grip pattern.