Wrist Injuries

Written by Sierra Rein
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The wrist is comprised of eight separate small bones that connect the bones of the hand to the radius and ulna bones. These carpals, or wrist bones, are extremely susceptible to injury and take a lot of time to heal if the wrist is not kept stationary by a brace or cast. Plus, because all the bones of the wrist must be attached together by ligaments, they too are susceptible to tears, breaks, and inflammation.

The most common of all serious wrist injuries is when any of the small carpal bones are fractured. This type of injury (called a Colles' fracture) usually happens when someone catches himself during a fall by putting his hands out in front of him. A wrist injury like this needs an arm cast to heal properly; without effective treatment, a bone break or fracture can heal improperly or cause a great deal of pain.

Wrist injuries also occur during sporting events and other athletic activities. These can include fractures, but are more prevalent in the form of tendon strains and ligament sprains in the wrist. For example, athletes who use their wrists a lot (tennis players, golfers, soccer goalies, basketball players) can develop what is called Gamekeeper's or skier's thumb. This happens when a ligament at the base of the thumb is sprained--it must be treated with a long cast, or surgery if absolutely necessary.

Repetitive Stress Wrist Injuries

If someone is experiencing a lot of pain in their wrists but has not gone through any traumatic fall or athletic endeavor, she may be suffering from a repetitive strain injury. RSIs (as they are called) are caused by repeatedly moving their hands and arms in a certain manner over a long period of time, much in the way typists, grocery clerks, assembly-line workers and artisans may use their wrists. Repetitive strain wrist injuries include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendonitis, and Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tears and are usually the result of inflamed ligaments and tendons.

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