A frequent symptom of many wrist injuries, soft tissue wrist swelling (edema) is often the first sign that there has been trauma to the wrist. Along with mild to moderate pain or discomfort, wrist swelling lets the patient know that they need to seek medical treatment soon, although initially there are steps to help relieve the pain and swelling.
Swollen Wrist Treatment
Cryotherapy or an icepack applied to the swollen area will help reduce pain and inflammation. If there is acute discomfort, the use of readily available over-the-counter pain relievers with anti-inflammatory medicine like Tylenol, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen can provide relief.
Treatment of a swollen wrist usually involves the RICE protocol:
• Ice-to alleviate pain and swelling
• Compression-wrist brace or splint to compress and immobilize the wrist
• Elevation-above the heart
To help the area rest properly, a wrist support brace can and should effectively immobilize the area and some wrist supports accommodate cryotherapy while wearing the brace. This feature will maintain cold directly on the affected area, allowing you instant relief from the swelling.
After your physician examines the area, he or she will likely recommend further testing or treatment to assess the extent of the trauma and help get you on the road to recovery. While your swollen wrist may be giving you pain, it’s beneficial to know that most wrist injuries heal in time and without the need for surgical intervention.
A swollen wrist isn’t a medical disorder in and of itself, it presents as part of an injury to the wrist, and it is usually a symptom of a further, underlying cause. Only a trained medical professional can diagnose the exact injury, and with the myriad of problems that the injury can stem from, it is always best to seek a proper medical diagnose before administering anything stronger than Tylenol and using an ice pack and a wrist brace.