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Is My Wrist Sprained Or Broken

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What Is The Physiological Difference Between A Wrist Sprain And A Broken Wrist

The wrist is anatomically complex. A wrist sprain occurs when a ligament in the wrist is injured. Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that stretch from one bone to another. Wrist sprains typically involve stretching or tearing a ligament.

In contrast, a broken wrist occurs when you actually fracture a bone in the wrist. The wrist consists of 13 different bones, and any of these could be fractured during an injury. This could be as small as a hairline fracture in the bone, but a broken wrist can cause major pain.

Diagnosis Of A Sprained Wrist

Doctors diagnose a wrist sprain based on how the injury occurred. For example, you may be asked to describe the position of your wrist during a fall. A coach or trainers eyewitness account may help make a diagnosis of a sprained wrist in a sportsperson. Also, the doctor will ask you about your history of previous wrist injuries. He or she will also perform a physical examination. During the exam, the doctor will check for wrist stability and grip strength.

Depending on your history, exam, and symptoms, yourdoctor may recommend getting an X-ray to rule out a wrist fracture. If the X-ray is normal but your symptoms do not go away, more detailed imaging with MRI or CT scan may be necessary.

Looking For A Hand Surgeon For Your Wrist Injury

If you have a wrist injury, theres no need to remain in pain any longer a hand surgeon really makes all the difference. With the right expertise, diagnosis, and treatment you can get back to doing the things you enjoy quicker.

Dont spend another minute wondering if a hand surgeon is right for you, make an appointment today by calling 393-4263 or by scheduling online. At your appointment, I, Dr. Vella, will answer any questions you have and help guide you through the treatment of your wrist injury.

Together, well create a tailored approach for your specific needs that gets your wrist healed and most of all, pain-free.

Treatment For A Sprained Thumb

If the sprain is minor you can still move your thumb and the pain and swelling subside with rest you can use the RICE method at home: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Do not use your hand for two or three days. Ice it for 20 minutes at a time. When doing so, wrap the ice in cloth instead of placing it directly on the skin. Wear an elastic compression bandage, and keep your hand at chest level as often as possible. All of these practices will help minimize swelling.

How Do I Know If I Need Wrist Fracture Surgery

Is My Wrist Broken or Sprained?

The following factors are considered by your doctor when assessing if wrist fracture surgery is necessary. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then your doctor will most likely recommend surgery.

  • Are the bones shifted out of position?
  • Are the bones fragmented and unstable?
  • Is the wrist joint, as a whole, affected by the injury?

When To Visit A Doctor

An individual should seek medical attention if the symptoms mentioned above are experienced. If one is unsure if the accident resulted in a wrist sprain or wrist fracture, then a doctor should be sought immediately to provide a diagnosis and give appropriate treatment.

A wrist fracture warrants urgent medical care, especially if it is an open fracture, to prevent further complications, realign the bones, and promote faster healing. Immediate treatment will also lower the chances of joint stiffness and muscle weakness.

If the individual is elderly or has a condition that makes the bone brittle and prone to breakage, a doctor should be sought right after the injury occurred.

This ensures that a proper diagnosis and treatment will be given and prevent further problems that may arise from the injury.

Wrist Sprains Vs Fractures: How To Tell The Difference

Breaks & Fractures

May 19, 2020

May 2020 Update: In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, we know that people continue to need immediate medical attention for unrelated injuries and illnesses. As your neighborhood emergency room, we want you to know that your safety and well-being are top priorities for us. Armed with the areas best emergency room physicians, we are open 24/7 for all of your emergency medical needs. We recognize the apprehension that many people have when visiting an emergency room for care. We want to assure you that we are taking all precautions to protect our patients and our staff. We have implemented strict protocols surrounding the use of protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitizing. Our wait times, as always, are minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

When youre injured, pain can be unbearable. The discomfort could cause even simple tasks such as walking or brushing your teeth to require monumental efforts. You may wonder if it will get better if you just wait it out. But, what if its something more serious, such as a sprain or a fracture? What are the symptoms of each? And, how can you best treat them?

Is My Wrist Sprained Or Broken Treatment & Recovery For Wrist Pain At The Urgent Care Clinic

Do you know there are over twenty joints in the wrist alone? These joints are held together by various different ligaments which makes a complex and delicate structure. There are many ways one can injure the wrist. Even a small slip or fall onto an outstretched hand can cause wrist sprain or fracture.

If you have injured your wrist due to FOOSH , you must have one question on your mind: Is my wrist sprained or broken? Heres what you need to know about these injuries in order to get the right treatment at the best urgent care clinic.

Wrist Sprain Vs Broken Wrist: Signs To Tell Which Happened

There are eight small bones in your wrist. Any of them can break and cause severe damage to your wrist. 

Depending on the break, your wrist could take anywhere from weeks to months to heal. 

Maybe you broke one of these eight wrist bones, but youre unsure if its a break or a sprain. How do you tell the difference? 

Heres a guide on the difference between a wrist sprain and a wrist break that can give you insight on if you should see a doctor and the treatment options available to you. 

How To Tell If Your Wrist Is Broken Or Sprained

August 5, 2019 | Katy

Your wrist is one of the most important parts of your body, as it helps you do numerous everyday tasks, from holding something light like a pen to something heavy like a 100-pound weight, your wrist is something you dont want to injure. However, accidents do happen so here is how to tell if your wrist is broken or sprained. 

What Are The Different Grades Of Wrist Sprains

There are different grades of wrist sprains that span from a stretch or small tear in the fibers of the ligament to a total tear through the ligament or the tissues that attach to the bone.  

  • Grade 1 : Ligaments are only stretched. 
  • Grade 2 : Ligaments are slightly torn and can result in loss of function. 
  • Grade 3 : Ligament is totally torn or has detached from the bone. If the ligament detaches from the bone, it is possible for it to also take a small piece of the bone, which is known as an avulsion fracture. Typically, any injuries in this grade category will require surgery.  

It is possible for what seems like a mild sprain to involve a ligament tear which can result in issues in the long run without surgery. If the wrist injury doesnt resolve on its own within a few days or there is ongoing pain, it is critical to see a hand specialist to avoid long term problems, such as . 

Symptoms Of A Sprained Thumb

One of the most common thumb injuries is a sprain which is what happens when you injure one of the ligaments. This can occur when hitting your thumb forcefully against a hard surface causes the ligaments to get stretched beyond their normal range. Other common causes include playing sports, breaking a fall with outstretched arms, or bending your thumb too far back. There are three types of sprains:

  • Grade 1 This is a mild sprain, where the ligaments are stretched but have not experienced any tears.
  • Grade 2 This is when there is a partial tear to a ligament. A telltale sign is a limited range of motion.
  • Grade 3 This is when the ligament is completely torn or pulled off the bone. To repair, surgical care is necessary.
  • Symptoms of a sprained thumb can vary in intensity. They often include:

    • Pain and discomfort at the base of the thumb
    • Bruising at the base of the thumb
    • Swelling at the base of the thumb
    • Stiffness
    • Tenderness of the thumb, towards the palm of your hand
    • If the ligament is completely torn, the end of the torn ligament may cause a lump on the thumb

    Less Common Symptoms Of Wrist Sprains

    Is My Wrist Sprained or Broken? Treatment & Recovery at ...

    The less common symptoms of wrist sprains may include:

    • Bruising. A bruise, also known as contusion, may form on the skin over the wrist due to rupture of blood vessels under the skin and leaking of blood into the tissue spaces. A change in color of the skin varying from red, black, or blue may occur due to bruising. Sometimes, bruising may extend to the fingers.
    • Warmth. A feeling of warmth over the sprained wrist may be present due to increased blood flow to the area.
    • Numbness. Numbness in one or more fingers may be experienced in cases where a wrist bone dislocates and presses on one or more nerves in the wrist.
    • Feeling of tearing. In some moderate to severe wrist sprains, popping or tearing may be felt at the time of injury. The tearing feeling may also occur during wrist movements.
    • Feeling of instability. Instability refers to a consistent click or clunk when moving the wrist. It can feel like the bones are shifting position and may be uncomfortable.

    It is also possible for bone fractures, tendon damage, and/or nerve injuries to occur along with wrist sprains. A careful evaluation by a medical professional can help diagnose and treat wrist injuries.

    Part 2 Of 2:diagnosing A Wrist Fracture

  • 1Look for misalignment or crookedness. A wrist fracture can be caused by similar types of accidents and trauma that cause wrist sprains. In general, the larger and stronger bones are, the less likely they are to break in response to trauma instead, the ligaments will stretch and tear. But when they do, they often create a misaligned or crooked appearance.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source The eight carpal bones of the wrist are small, so a misaligned or crooked wrist may be difficult to notice, especially with hairline fractures, but more serious breaks are easier to tell.
  • The most commonly broken long bone within the wrist area is the radius, which is a forearm bone that attaches to the small carpal bones.XResearch source
  • The most commonly fractured carpal bone is the scaphoid bone, which is unlikely to cause a noticeable wrist deformity.XResearch source
  • When a bone penetrates the skin and becomes visible, this is known as an open or compound fracture.
  • Pain from a wrist fracture is often preceded by a “cracking” sound or feeling. In contrast, only Grade 3 sprains can produce a sound or similar sensations, and that’s sometimes a “popping” sound as the ligament ruptures.
  • As a general guideline, wrist pain from a fracture will get worse at night, whereas pain from a wrist sprain will plateau and not flare-up in the night if the wrist is immobilized.
  • Causes Of Wrist Sprain And Wrist Fracture

    The most common cause of wrist sprain or wrist fracture is falling on an outstretched hand when trying to break a fall after a slip or a trip.

    Both may also be caused by accidents while participating in a sports activity. Generally, a fracture is considered a more severe injury than a sprain.

    The degree of severity of the injury depends on the position of the wrist , if the individual has osteoporosis or is taking medications that make the bones brittle, and the type of activity involved.

    The most common sports that cause wrist sprain are basketball, gymnastics, skating, and skateboarding.

    Wrist fractures are common in individuals who participate in horseback riding, hockey, football, and skiing.

    How To Prevent A Broken Or Sprained Wrist

    My best advice–try not to fall! This may seem common sense, but many times the cause is preventable. Loose rugs, items on the floor, unsafe ladder use, all are preventable common causes of falls.  As much as we love our pets, we must also be careful with them around our feet as well.

    Second to that, there are a few things you can do to prevent a wrist injury should you fall.

    • Be proactive and build bone strength with a diet containing sufficient calcium and vitamin D and doing weight-bearing exercises
    • Wear protective gear for sports activities, especially skateboarding and rollerblading
    • Take care when walking on slippery or bumpy surfaces

    Wrist Sprain Or Break How To Tell And What To Do

    Dr. John Knight

    Weve all been there: A trip, slip, or missed step sends us tumbling to the ground, bracing ourselves with our hands and bent wrists. This sort of fall often causes wrist pain but is it a or a ?

    An incorrect diagnosis could extend recovery time significantly or lead to surgery that could have been avoided with proper treatment. In the long-term, an improperly treated wrist injury could cause chronic pain, stiffness, and , making correct diagnosis and comprehensive care all the more important.


    Signs Of A Wrist Fracture

    There are certain indicators that an injured wrist is broken and not simply sprained:

    • The pain upon injury is very sharp, and you hear a snap.
    • The wrist shows a large lump or appears to be lopsided or otherwise deformed.
    • Swelling begins immediately and continues getting worse.
    • You experience tingling or numbness in your fingers.

    If you believe your wrist is broken, you need fast medical attention. The bone should be set in place and the wrist immobilized to ensure proper healing.

    If you dont experience those more severe symptoms, it is likely that you have a minor sprain. You may decide to treat it at home using the following methods:

    • Ice your wrist regularly.
    • Stabilize the wrist with an ace bandage or splint.
    • Rest and elevate your wrist as much as possible.

    Wrist Sprain Vs Broken Wrist

    We use our hands for so much throughout the day that wrist pain can be very debilitating. The most common cause of wrist injuries is falling onto an outstretched hand. This may cause the wrist ligaments or bones to become damaged. Some wrist injuries are classified as wrist sprains while others are considered a broken wrist. Understanding the difference will help you get the correct treatment from your Jacksonville orthopedic specialist. Contact our hand and wrist specialists to take advantage of their specialized knowledge and training in this area.

    Symptoms Of Broken & Sprained Wrists

    Dr. Tyser:

    Usually in that case, if the pain subsides over the next few days, it’s typically considered a wrist fracture. But if the pain is not getting better and persists and the swelling gets worse, difficult use to the hand, etc., many times an X-ray is warranted to determine if it is a wrist fracture or not.

    Dr. Miller:

    Dr. Tyser:

    urgent care centers

    Dr. Miller:

    Dr. Tyser:

    hand surgeons and hand specialists

    Dr. Miller:

    Dr. Tyser:

    Dr. Miller:

    Dr. Tyser:

    Signs Of A Broken Wrist

    What to Do When a Wrist Injury Occurs

    While you will have pain in your wrist regardless of if its broken or sprained, you will have significantly more pain if you break your wrist. 

    Some of the signs of a broken wrist include: 

    • Swelling
    • Tenderness to touch

    You might also experience tingling in your fingers. 

    Another sign to consider is if you are completely unable to move your wrist either because you have so much pain or because of the swelling. 

    Dont Ignore Wrist Injuries

    Wrist fractures, like essentially all broken bones are best treated when treated early.  This may be as simple and putting a brace on, which will immobilize and protect the bone easing the pain and preventing displacement.

    Some fractures, like the scaphoid fracture, have poor outcomes when treated late.  Due to its unique blood supply, scaphoid fractures have higher risk of non-healing or nonunion than other wrist bones.  When this bone does not heal, it will, overtime, develop a predictable pattern of wrist arthritis.

    Children’s Health: Is It A Sprain Strain Or Break

    • /
    • Children’s health: is it a sprain…

    Whether its a slip up on the baseball field or a fall in the backyard at home, young children are prone to injuries. And the type of injury your child has depends on whether the trauma involved a ligament, muscle or bone.

    Board certified pediatric sports medicine specialist, Rachel Brewer, MD of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado says that if you think your child has a sprain, strain or break, it is best you head to your healthcare provider for proper testing. An X-ray can rule out or confirm a broken bone, and a doctor can help detect other injuries like sprains or strains. 

    If kids arent using an arm or leg, or theyre limping, theyre telling us that they have an injury that needs to be evaluated, says Dr. Brewer.

    But how do you know what type of injury it is? Brewer explains the different injuries, the common causes of each injury, signs to watch out for and treatment options. 

    How Long Does A Sprained Wrist Take To Heal

    A mild wrist sprain will start feeling better 24 to 48 hours after you start treatment. It will fully heal in 1 or 2 weeks.

    If you have a moderate or severe injury, recovery might last 6 to 8 weeks. Youll need to wear splint for most of this time.

    In a severe sprain, your ligament will heal in 8 to 12 weeks. A full recovery may take 6 to 12 months, especially if you need surgery.

    Its not always possible to avoid accidents, but you can reduce your risk of slips and falls.

    Follow these tips to prevent wrist sprains:

    • Use caution when walking in rain or icy weather.
    • Wear wrist guards during activities like basketball, skiing, and skateboarding. If you fall, the wrist guard will stop your wrist from extreme motions.
    • Wear shoes that properly fit to minimize the risk of falls.
    • Lift heavy objects with both hands to reduce the pressure on each wrist.

    What To Do When A Wrist Injury Occurs

    Immediate treatment for an injured wrist should involve the following steps:

    • Immobilize the wrist using a splint or brace.
    • Elevate the wrist above the level of the heart.
    • Use ice therapy on the injured area for 10 to 15 minutes every hour. Regular icing can significantly ease swelling and pain.

    Immobilzing, elevating, and icing can help to treat a wrist injury immediately after it occurs.

    Grades Of Wrist Sprains

    Sprains are graded, depending on the degree of injury to the ligaments:

    • Grade 1 sprain . The ligaments are stretched, but not torn.
    • Grade 2 sprain . The ligaments are partially torn. This type of injury may involve some loss of function.
    • Grade 3 sprain . The ligament is completely torn or the ligament is pulled off of its attachment to bone. These are significant injuries that require medical or surgical care. If the ligament tears away from the bone, it may take a small chip of bone with it. This is called an avulsion fracture.

    Treatment For Wrist Fracture

    Treatment for a wrist fracture may include a splint, cast, or surgery, depending on the severity and location of the break. A padded splint can be used to give support and alignment to provide much-needed pain relief after an initial fracture. Then, a cast is used to hold fractures that have been set and arent unstable.

    If the broken wrist is not in the correct position to heal, your doctor may need to reset it with surgery. Using pins, rods, screws, or plates, your fracture is set for proper healing. If the bone is crushed or severely damaged, a bone graft may be used.

    Once youve had your wrist set with a splint, cast, or surgery, rehabilitation therapy is usually part of the recovery process. This includes hand therapy to recover motion, function, and strength while also preventing your hands from getting stiff. Following through on the recommended therapies reduces your risk of developing of the wrist joint.4

    Treatment For A Sprain

    Itâs usually less involved when you are healing from a sprain. Most sprains will clear up on their own.

    You may take anti-inflammatory drugs such as or .

    And your doctor may advise you to try the âRICEâ method to ease your :

    • Rest
    • Compression
    • Elevation

    You may need physical therapy for a moderate sprain. You should start range of motion exercises once the pain and swelling subside. Surgery is usually for severe cases when other treatments have failed.

    Treatment & Recovery For A Wrist Injury

    The Most Common Sprained Wrist Symptoms

    Regardless of the type of wrist injury, you should get immediate treatment until seeing your walk-in care doctor by following these steps:

    • Rest your wrist for up to 48 hours.
    • Use ice therapy on the injured area for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours.
    • Elevate the injured wrist above the level of your heart.
    • Immobilize the wrist using a splint or brace.
    • Compress the wrist with a bandage.

    Treatment of broken wrist may depend on the type of fracture, age, and overall general health. A padded splint might be worn to realign the bones and a cast may be used to hold the fracture. Sometimes, plates, rods, and screws are used to fix severe fractures which may take months to heal. Your walk-in doctor may also recommend physical therapy to help the healing process.

    Want to discuss the right option for your wrist injury treatment and recovery? Visit Artisans of Medicine, the best Urgent Care Clinic in Brooklyn, NYC today!  With the hands-on experience and advanced specialization, our family care doctors can handle your entire treatment and recovery process with care.

    Common Causes Of A Wrist Fracture

    Most people break their radius bone, which is one of the two main bones in the forearm that is connected to 8 smaller bones. Common causes of a wrist fracture or break include the following:

    • Attempting to stop a fall using your outstretched arm and hand
    • Falling off a bike or ladder
    • Car or motorcycle accident
    • Playing sports
    • Osteoporosis

    If your wrist is swollen and painful, it is best to consult with Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic for a diagnosis. If you wait too long and simply ice it and keep it elevated, you could cause even more damage. Its better to have the appropriate tests completed to know what you are dealing with, as treatment will be very different for a broken wrist compared to one that is simply sprained.

    Is My Wrist Sprained Or Fractured

    Even a small slip or fall onto an outstretched hand can injure your wrist, but just how bad is it? Should you ice and elevate the injury? Or go to the doctor for an X-ray? Orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist Dr. Andrew Tyser lends his expertise on this episode of The Specialists, and explains what to look out for when it comes to wrist injuries.

    What Should You Do

    If you do think you have a wrist sprain or you may have fractured your wrist, you should immediately see a doctor. Schedule an appointment to have a medical professional decide if you will need surgery, an x-ray, or specific treatment options.

    If you cant see a doctor immediately, its important to remember the acronym, RICE. That stands for, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. That is what you should be doing for your wrist until you see a medical professional. 

    Having a broken or sprained wrist can also limit your ability to drive places or see a doctor. If that happens, you can speak with us remotely by contacting us here.  

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