Vimal Rathod, 37, is an ardent basketball enthusiast. He was the star player for his team three years in a row. However, he has given up on his favourite game because of a recurrent wrist condition that has made him unfit for the sport. Vimal is not alone. Wrist sprain or injury is a common cause of immobility among athletes around the world — in several cases, career-threatening. For others, the stress of day-to-day activities — typing, sewing, painting — could be the undoing. How you treat the condition at the outset can help preclude severe pain and disability later on in life.
The wrist region comprises several small joints where the bones of the hands and forearm meet. Your basic everyday movements are steered by this wrist joint. Sprains in the ligaments, continuous stress, tendonitis (a condition where the tendons become inflamed) or a fracture in the wrist bones could all trigger pain and discomfort. Although the more severe variety may require immediate medical treatment and rehabilitation, a sprain or inflammation can easily be treated with simple home remedies and constant care.
Common causes of wrist pain
Injuries around the wrist joint and constriction of nerves are the primary causes of discomfort.
- Wrist Tendonitis: The tendons in the wrist become inflamed. The condition is caused by the wear and tear of the tendons because of repetitive action involving the wrist.
- Wrist Fracture: The small bones in your wrist may incur a fracture in case of trips and falls or a hard impact with solid objects. In severe cases, you may dislocate the bones or break them. Broken bones are accompanied by excruciating pain, the inability to move the wrist, distorted angles, and severe swelling and bruising.
- Wrist Sprain: Wrist sprain is a common condition that occurs when you fall and twist the wrist backwards while hitting the ground. The action overstretches the ligament in the wrist joint triggering a sharp pain.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Repetitive motions such as typing, lifting or kneading irritates the main nerve running into the hand. It happens because the ligament thickens and stresses the nerve, which then causes tingling, numbness, and a burning sensation in the hand. Obese people and those suffering from diabetes are vulnerable to developing this condition.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system disintegrates the healthy tissues. Wrist pain will be felt if the joints in the area are affected by the condition. You may notice a reduced range of motions and difficulty in grasping objects.
- Osteoarthritis: When the cartilage covering the bones in the wrist experiences wear and tear, it causes inflammation in the joints. You may experience stiffness and soreness in your hands. Osteoarthritis is a condition that is hereditary and occurs with old age.
- Repetitive Motion Syndrome: The repetition of an activity, such as typing or texting, could overwork the joint, leading to swelling, and stressing of the surrounding nerves.
- Wrist Bursitis: Small sacs or bursa containing a fluid provide protection to our joints. Bursitis develops when these sacs become inflamed. These may affect the wrist joints and cause tenderness of the tendons in the area, soreness, and redness. Wrist pain can be severely debilitating. A wrist condition can interfere with daily activities such as bathing, cooking or cleaning, as your hands will feel too weak to hold or grasp objects, and is at many times, even painful.
Adopting a few simple remedies at the onset of wrist pain has proved to be effective in easing the pain and condition.
- Time off: Most of the time, wrist pain occurs because of overuse and exertion. Therefore, taking a break from daily activities that could potentially stress the wrist area is essential to give your hands rest and time to heal. Further, keep your wrist at an elevated position above the heart level to prevent swelling or inflammation. A sportsperson should stop playing completely until the wrist is fully healed.
- Cold and Heat Therapy: While you rest your bruised or swollen wrist, you can apply an ice pack to the affected area to ease the pain and swelling. Do it for 15-20 minutes every three or four hours for the first three days after you sustain the injury. Cold therapy aids like the Coldstrap to alleviate trauma sustained in a fall. A few days later, switch to heat therapy as a long-term solution. Applying heat to the affected area will speed up the healing process because heat expands and relaxes the muscles, lubricates the joints, and improves blood flow to the area. Improved blood flow supports greater flexibility. The Sandpuppy Strappr is an ideal and convenient solution to combat joint pains in any part of the body. Its design allows you to wrap it snugly around the wrist joint, and it is portable and compact, so you can keep doing your work while relaxing your joints and muscles in the wrist. Furthermore, the switch-operated heat control allows you to adjust the heat levels according to your preference.
- Wear Splints: Wearing splints or braces is an effective method to ease pain in the wrist. Splints provide support and restrict wrist movement that could cause further unease. However, prolonged use of splints can cause stiffness and muscle weakness.
- Exercises: Stretching your wrists and keeping them mobile even while at rest is extremely important to ensure that your muscles and tendons do not become stiff. Exercises also allow the ligaments and tendons around your wrist to become strong and flexible. However, make sure your wrists are not severely injured or the bones fractured when you perform the activity. It’s important that any stretching or exercising you do is undertaken with the guidance of a doctor or physical therapist.
- Accurate Posture: While working or conducting your daily activities, such as working on a keyboard or writing, ensure that your wrists are in a relaxed position. At the work place, place your keyboard lower, and adjust the chair to keep your forearms parallel to the floor. Ensure all hand tools are held correctly. If it’s the repetitive action that has done in your wrist, consider modifying your grip or changing the position of your hand.
In general, a good routine to follow would be to apply heat with a heating pad such as the SandPuppy Strappr, and perform light and gentle warm-up stretches before an activity. This will improve flexibility and prep the tendons and muscles for activity. Afterwards, apply an ice pack to soothe any inflammation or soreness.
Despite following these remedies, if you continue to feel a niggling ache or discomfort, it’s best to get your wrist examined by a doctor to rule out a grievous condition. For more information write to us.