You’ve Fallen on Your Wrist. What do you do now?
Today’s 3-minute injury report is a little bit different; it is about wrist sprains when you have had a fall. Here at Proof Physical Therapy we see this pretty frequently when people have been snowboarding or skiing. People tend to fall backward on the palms of their hands when snowboarding or forward on their hands when skiing. When you fall and land on your wrist it causes the wrist to bend backward and over stretch the front ligaments of your wrist. You also end up pinching or smashing the front ligaments in your wrist. When you fall on your wrists, there are a few things that you should do.
Get an x-ray to make sure you have not broken any bones that are needing to be braced or immobilized. If you are able to move the wrist and it is not sharp or swollen, then you may not need an x-ray.
If your wrists are not needing to be braced or have surgery, you want to keep the wrists moving and exercising. This can be counterintuitive.
There are three simple ways to keep your wrists moving. The first exercise is wrist circles. Simply, move your wrist in a circular direction, like you are stirring a pot. Do the circles frequently throughout the day. You won’t easily overdo these so perform 20 to 30 circles in the morning and 20-30 in the afternoon. These movements will help, just be sure to keep your wrists moving and flexible.
The second exercise is to stretch your wrists by gently stretching your hand backward, and then forward. This should not be producing sharp pain, but should just be stretching out your strained ligaments. The wrists will be stiff with the first few repetitions but will loosen up the more you move them.
The third exercise begins by grabbing your favorite Hydroflask full of water. With your injured hand hold onto the Hydroflask while moving your wrist in an up down motion. Do higher repetitions on this exercise and get the wrist muscles working.
Finally, use ice, compression, and elevation. Each of these will help to heal your wrists and to decrease pain.
If you do these suggested steps multiple times for over a week and you still have wrist pain and aggravation, definitely give us a call. We specialize in acute care after injuries. We would love to see you and help you reach your goal of becoming pain free, back on the slopes and enjoying your time outdoors again.
See you in the clinic!
Dr. Jordan Williams
Barton N. Sports injuries of the hand and wrist. Br J Sports Med. 1997 Sep;31(3):191-6. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.31.3.191. PMID: 9298551; PMCID: PMC1332515
May Jr DD, Varacallo M. Wrist Sprain. [Updated 2020 Jun 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551514/
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