Common Wrist Injuries - ESP Physio

Common Wrist Injuries

October 14, 2022

Upper limb injuries are generally less frequent than lower limb injuries, but they can be quite disruptive to your activities of daily living, especially if they involve the hand.

Below are a few common wrist and hand injuries that may require physiotherapy treatment.

Broken Wrist

Probably one of, if not the most common region to break is the wrist joint.

A broken wrist is a rarely missed injury that classically occurs after a fall onto an outstretched hand. High pain and an audible crack may be noticed, as may a visible change in the look of the wrist.

An X-ray will be required in this situation to exclude significant movement of the bones that may require surgery.

Frequently, surgery is not required and most people will spend 6-8 weeks in a cast, which allows the wrist to heal. 

After surgery or immobilisation in a cast, physiotherapy is essential to get the wrist moving again, as both of these treatment options typically leave the wrist quite stiff and relatively weak.

Fortunately, this improves considerably with physiotherapy and weekly sessions can accelerate your recovery dramatically. 

The scaphoid is a small bone that makes up your wrist joint. Unfortunately, this bone is known to heal poorly and may need additional treatment – which may include surgery or further time in a cast.

As this bone is small, it can occasionally be missed, so follow-up assessment after a fall to your wrist can be important to ensure this injury has not occurred, as it isn’t even uncommon for it not to show on an initial x-ray! 

Cast for a broken wrist joint

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC)is a strong piece of tissue that attaches to the pinky-side of your hand to your wrist.

It is essential for wrist stability and mobility, as it is both strong and flexible.

However, an injured TFCC can severely limit your ability to take weight through you wrist and manipulate objects – especially with palm up and down movements. 

This injury often occurs after twisting your wrist forcibly, such as in martial arts, or from an awkward fall on an extended wrist, such as gymnastics.  

Rehabilitation for this injury can be somewhat slow, as lots of exercise is required to adequately strengthen your wrist for a return to sport.

Taping, manual therapy and a personally tailored exercise program from physiotherapy are essential.  

Wrist Ganglion

A wrist ganglion is a small, benign cyst that occasionally forms from excess fluid leaking from the wrist joint.

Frequently noticed on the back or front of the wrist, it is often felt as a small, somewhat firm, swelling. This can cause moderate pain with gripping and wrist extension, often noticed particularly with gym exercise – especially push-ups or pressing movements. 

Fortunately, ganglia respond well to a mixture of symptom management, taping, and physical therapy.

We will be able to give you advice about how to manage this complaint and it has a high likelihood of resolving fully and is exceptionally unlikely to require surgical intervention.

Wrist Ganglion

Closing Thoughts

As with any injury, it can be challenging to find accurate and trustworthy information on the internet.

Despite the information we have supplied being helpful, in our experience it’s always worth your while to speak to a qualified physiotherapist, to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that’s tailored specifically to you.

If you would like to speak to one of our team then call us on 01324 227 370 or you can book yourself in for a physiotherapy appointment with us here 

Written by Jesse Coad, Senior Physiotherapist 🇦🇺