Wrist Pain and Wrist Injuries
Wrist injuries are among the most common injuries seen in emergency rooms in America today. There are a myriad of ways to injure the wrist, with most injuries falling into two categories, acute and/or chronic injuries.
Acute injuries are commonly the result of a fall. The impact from the body’s weight coming down abruptly on the joints in the wrist often causes the distal radius (one of two bones that comprises the forearm) to fracture. Frequently injured, nearly one in six bone fractures treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. is a broken wrist. People participating in sports, particularly contact sports, are very susceptible to these injuries.
Chronic injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are often are the result of repetitive motion. It is common for those working assembly lines in manufacturing, food processing, and data entry to suffer from this condition. In fact, workers in these industries have a tripled risk in the amount of occurrences over data-entry personnel, who have been the predominant sufferers of carpal tunnel.
Another problematic component of wrist injuries is that many of the symptoms are very similar from one injury to the next. Wrist pain is the most common of the symptoms along with swelling and they are evident in nearly all wrist injuries. A physical exam of the injured area by your doctor will help determine what type of wrist injury you have and what the treatment will be.
Treatment of wrist pain often requires resting the area; applying an ice pack for 15-20 minutes 3-4 times per day and taking an over the counter pain reliever with anti-inflammatory medicine. Before seeing a physician, try R.I.C.E. for 24 hours along with the pain reliever and see if the symptoms diminish, if they persist, then it’s time to see your doctor.
The RICE protocol:
• Ice-to alleviate pain and swelling
• Compression-wrist brace or splint to compress and immobilize the wrist
• Elevation-above the heart
Part of the difficulty of recovering from a wrist injury is keeping the wrist immobile to allow the wrist to heal. Often, wrist braces, splints, or wrist supports facilitate wrist healing.
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