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Wrist Injury


A wrist injury happens when the tissues of your wrist joint are damaged. Your wrist joint is made up of tendons, ligaments, nerves, and bones. Two common types of injuries that can happen to your wrist are sprains and strains. A sprain can happen when the ligaments are stretched or torn. Ligaments are bands of elastic tissue that connect and hold the bones together. A strain happens when a tendon or muscle is overused, stretched, or torn. Tendons attach your hand and arm muscles to the bones of the wrist.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever.
  • Steroids: You may be given steroids to decrease swelling and pain in your wrist. This may be given as a shot.


Your treatment depends on the type of wrist injury and amount of tissue damage you have. You may need one or more of the following:

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist shows you how to do exercises that can help to strengthen your wrist and improve its range of movement. These exercises may also help decrease your pain.
  • Wrist supports: A cast or splint may be put on your fingers, hand, and wrist to support your wrist and prevent further damage. Ask for more information about wearing casts and splints.
  • Arthroscopic surgery: During this surgery, healthcare providers may repair tears and remove injured and loose tissues.
  • Open surgery: This surgery may be done to repair or replace a torn ligament. Your healthcare provider may use screws or wires to attach the bones in your wrist together.


  • Wrist supports may press on nerves and blood vessels, cause pain, or irritate your skin. Wrist supports may also cause your muscles to shorten and limit the amount of movement you have in your wrist. Rest, wrist supports, and other nonsurgical treatments may not help your wrist heal, and you may need surgery. Even if you have arthroscopic surgery, you may need open surgery later. Surgery to repair your wrist injury may cause nerve and tissue damage or lead to an infection. As a result of surgery, your wrist may feel stiff and swollen. Even with treatment, your wrist may become weak, stiff, or difficult to move.
  • Without treatment, your symptoms, such as pain, weakness, swelling, and stiffness, may get worse. Tissues, such as nerves and muscles, may be damaged from swelling and lack of blood supply. You may have a higher risk of getting arthritis in your wrist. Your injury may prevent you from having complete movement in your hand and fingers. .


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Wrist Injury (Inpatient Care)

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