Wrist Ligament Injuries
Wrist ligament injuries refer to damage to the ligaments that support the wrist joint. The wrist joint is made up of several bones, which are connected by ligaments. These ligaments provide stability to the joint and allow for movement. A wrist ligament injury can occur as a result of a sudden trauma or overuse, and can range from a minor sprain to a complete ligament tear.
Common types of wrist ligament injuries include:
Scapholunate ligament injury: This is the most common wrist ligament injury and involves damage to the ligament that connects the scaphoid and lunate bones in the wrist.
Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injury: This is a complex of ligaments and cartilage that connects the ulna bone in the forearm to the carpal bones in the wrist.
Ulnar collateral ligament injury: This is damage to the ligament that connects the ulna bone to the wrist.
Causes of Wrist Ligament Injuries
Wrist ligament injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Trauma: A sudden impact or force on the wrist, such as a fall or a sports injury, can cause a wrist ligament injury.
Repetitive stress: Overuse of the wrist, such as with repetitive motions or activities, can lead to ligament damage over time.
Degenerative changes: Age-related changes in the ligaments and bones of the wrist can make them more prone to injury.
Inflammatory conditions: Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout can cause damage to the ligaments of the wrist.
Congenital factors: In some cases, wrist ligament injuries may be the result of congenital or developmental abnormalities.
Signs and Symptoms of Wrist Ligament Injuries
The signs and symptoms of a wrist ligament injury may vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Pain: Pain in the wrist is the most common symptom of a ligament injury. The pain may be sudden and severe, or it may develop gradually over time.
- Swelling: Swelling in the wrist is a common symptom of a ligament injury. The swelling may be localized or it may involve the entire wrist.
- Bruising: Bruising around the wrist may occur after a ligament injury.
- Stiffness: Stiffness in the wrist may occur due to the injury or as a result of immobilization to promote healing.
- Limited range of motion: A wrist ligament injury can cause a limited range of motion in the wrist, making it difficult to perform everyday activities.
- Instability: A wrist ligament injury can cause a feeling of instability in the wrist, which may be noticeable when performing certain movements.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the extent of the injury and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Treatment for Wrist Ligament Injuries
The goals of physiotherapy for wrist ligament injuries are to reduce pain and inflammation, improve range of motion and strength, and prevent further injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, the physiotherapy treatment may include:
Rest and immobilization: Rest and immobilization of the wrist may be necessary to allow the ligaments to heal. This may involve a splint or cast, or immobilization with a brace.
Ice and heat therapy: Ice therapy can help reduce pain and swelling, while heat therapy can improve blood flow to the area and promote healing.
Manual therapy: Manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, and massage can help improve range of motion and reduce pain.
Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises can help improve the stability of the wrist joint and prevent further injury. These exercises may involve resistance bands, weights, or body weight exercises.
Stretching exercises: Stretching exercises can help improve range of motion and prevent stiffness in the wrist joint.
Functional training: Functional training involves exercises that mimic everyday activities, such as lifting and carrying objects, to improve the wrist’s ability to perform these tasks.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about wrist ligament injuries please call us at 03 9836 1126.
Pichora DR, McMurtry RY. Rehabilitation of wrist ligament injuries: a systematic review. Journal of Hand Therapy. 2016 Jul-Sep