When your wrist becomes damaged, it can be hard to diagnose if the wrist is broken or just sprained. Your wrist is comprised of numerous bones and ligaments that connect bones to one another inside a joint. Damaging your wrist by sudden impact or by other means can cause pain and limited movement in your hand. It is good to see a medical professional when this happens and know what has happened to your wrist. They can give the best assessment as to whether your injury is a wrist sprain or fracture.
A sprain happens when the ligaments in the wrist are torn by any extreme twist, bend or impact that suddenly forces the wrist into a position beyond its normal range of motion. This can cause redness, swelling, bruising and intermittent pain upon moving your wrist. While your wrist can move, it will cause great discomfort when it does. Sprains in the wrist can be caused by overuse of the wrist, but the most common cause is falling.
There are three levels of pain that can happen when you sprain your wrist: Mild (Grade I) where the wrist’s ligaments are stretched or have microscopic tears; Moderate (Grade II) where the damage is more severe, and some wrist ligaments may be partially torn; and Severe (Grade III) where one or more wrist ligaments are entirely torn or torn away from where they normally attach to bones. It is important to seek medical attention when you sprain your wrist and place an ice pack on it to decrease swelling.
A fracture is an actual break in the wrist bone. There are about eight bones in the wrist and if any one of them is broken this can cause numbness, an unrelenting dull ache, limited or no movement in your hand and range of motion changes. Fractures usually happen when the wrist is suddenly impacted. A popping sound is usually heard when this occurs. It is important to see a doctor immediately because the pain will only worsen, and you will not be able to place any weight on the bone.
Sprains and fractures in the wrist can be painful and can ruin someone’s day. The difference between them is that with a sprain you can at least move your hand a bit and your body will most likely recover by itself naturally over time. A fracture is more serious and requires immediate medical attention in order to heal properly. If you ever think you have sprain or fracture in your wrist, please consult with your doctor.
For more information on a sprained or broken wrist, click here.
Article written by William Graves.