A wrist strain, is an injury to the muscles or tendons of the wrist in which the fibers tear as the result of being stretched beyond capacity, and are often the result of acute or direct injury but may be the consequence of repetitive motion.
Wrist Strain Categories
There are three categories of strain:
• Grade I -A pulled muscle without tearing of muscle or tendon fibers without loss of strength.
• Grade II –A tearing of the muscle fibers, tendon or at the attachment to bone with diminished strength.
• Grade III – A rupture of the muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation of fibers requiring surgical repair.
Wrist Strain Symptoms
The signs that you are suffering from a strained wrist include:
• Tenderness of the joint
• Pain when moving the wrist or when applying minimal direct pressure to the wrist
• Unusual muscle spasms in the affected area
• Swelling or redness at the injury site
• Loss of mobility or strength, often seen in Grade II or Grade III wrist strains
• Cracking or popping sound when the wrist is manipulate or moved (called crepitation)
• Inflammation of the tendon sheath
• Calcification of the tendon or muscle (visible on X-ray) – this is common in chronic wrist strain
Your doctor will perform a physical exam of the area to determine if your wrist is strained, and they may order X-rays to help them better diagnose and treat your injuries. While Grade III strains require surgery, Grade I and Grade II wrist strains are managed topically, for the most part. Over the counter pain relievers along with a wrist and forearm support that doesn’t impede finger motion are usually recommended.
With your wrist support, look for one that is easy to put on, has a comfortable and snug fit, and that allows your hands as much mobility as possible while maintaining stability for your injured area. Keeping as much of the unaffected areas mobile as possible allows the surrounding tendons, muscle, and tissue to stay healthy and help your injured wrist with greater speed and flexibility. With so many wrist supports and wrist-forearm support braces on the market, there is sure to be a well-crafted, comfortable-fitting one for you.