WRIST DISLOCATION – QUESTION: A 16 year old girl suffered a wrist dislocation during a game of hockey on the weekend. Is it swollen, immobile and very painful. How can a hand therapist help?
What Is A Wrist Dislocation?
The wrist is made up of 8 small carpal bones articulating with the distal radius and ulnar bones, along with numerous ligaments and a cartilage wedge known as the TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex).
A wrist dislocation involves the abnormal separation of one or multiple joints in the wrist. This typically can involve fractures of the bones and damage to multiple structures including surrounding soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons or nerves. Your therapist will discuss your injury with you to identify the particular structure which is damaged and requires support.
What Causes a Wrist Dislocation?
• A fall onto outstretched hand
• Traumatic injury
• Sports injury
• Motor vehicle accident
Signs & Symptoms of a Wrist Dislocation
• Reduced wrist and or finger range of motion
• Bruising or swelling
• Unusual appearance or positioning of the wrist
Treatment From Your Hand Therapist
Following a wrist dislocation, the joint may pop back into place on its own or it may require manipulation by a doctor or surgeon. Following this, it is generally recommended that your therapist fabricate a thermoplastic wrist splint to allow the soft tissues to rest and repair.
After a period of rest, your therapist will provide an individualised therapy program consisting of wrist exercises to improve range of motion, proprioception (joint-position awareness) and strength.
In some cases, where the dislocation is very severe or where the joint remains unstable after manipulation, surgery may be indicated. Your doctor will discuss this with you if it is required.
If you are suffering from a dislocated wrist, or any other issues with the hand, arm or fingers, please feel free to get in touch with the Hand Therapy Group here, we would be more than happy to help.