What is a Dislocated Wrist?
A dislocated wrist occurs when one or more of your carpal bones move out of place. This can happen from a fall or an injury that causes a sudden force to be applied to your wrist and hand. A dislocated wrist may cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the type of bone or joint it affects.Bruising, swelling, and pain are common symptoms of dislocated wrist.
Symptoms of a Dislocated Wrist
Your wrist comprises eight small bones called carpals, with a network of ligaments holding them in place. When these ligaments tear, two or more carpal bones can be pushed out of their normal position, leading to a dislocated wrist.
Generally, people with dislocated wrists experience acute pain and a deformity, along with tingling or weakness in their thumb, index finger, or middle fingers, that suggests median nerve damage. This is because the nerves and blood vessels in your hand and wrist are directly affected by a dislocated wrist, so prompt medical treatment is vital to reduce complications.
Fractures and Sprains
Several different types of bone injuries can cause a dislocated wrist. One of the least severe is a sprain, which involves the stretching or tearing a ligament in your hand or wrist. The ligaments may be particularly tender to touch, or swelling could develop in more serious injuries.
A scaphoid fracture can occur when the bone at the back of your wrist breaks between the radius and ulna bones. Symptoms include pain in your wrist and rapid swelling.
Galeazzi and Monteggia Dislocations
Another common type of wrist dislocation is a break in one of the two ends of your radius bone. Typically, these dislocations happen when you fall onto your outstretched hand or in an accident.
This injury is caused when the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) between your ulna and carpal bones becomes torn. It may be necessary to have surgery to repair the tear and restore your wrist’s function if the damage is severe.
How Does Dislocated Wrist Occur?
The wrist is one of the most important joints in the body and can be prone to injury. This is because the bones and ligaments that make up this joint can be subjected to trauma from high-impact sports or other activities that require a lot of movement and bending.
Wrist dislocations are caused by the sudden force on the bones of the wrist that causes them to become displaced from their normal position, which can be painful and frustrating for patients. This can also lead to nerve damage and loss of sensation in the fingers.
Treatments for a Dislocated Wrist
A dislocated wrist is an injury when one or more of the bones in your hand or wrist are knocked or pushed out of place. It’s usually caused by an accident or trauma you can’t plan for.
Your doctor will look for injuries to your ligaments and other tissues that support the bone. They will then take an X-ray or an MRI to confirm your diagnosis and create a treatment plan.
Rest, ice, compression, and medication can help you recover from a wrist dislocation. It can take time, but most people can return to their normal activities after healing.
You can also use a splint for several days to keep your wrist and fingers from moving as much as possible. This will reduces swelling and pain.
If you require strength and flexibility exercises, your doctor may recommend that you see a physical therapist.
A dislocated wrist is most effectively treated by icing.Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes twice or thrice daily to reduce pain and inflammation and help control swelling.
Depending on your injury’s severity, the symptoms of a wrist sprain will improve within three days; a more serious injury can take longer to heal. Wrist sprains are classified as grade 1 (mild) or grade 2 (moderate), and grade 3 (severe).
The wrist is a complex joint that contains many different bones. Compression is a type of treatment that can help reduce swelling. Wrapping the injured wrist firmly, but not too tightly, can help keep fluid from collecting at the injury site and speed up recovery.
Pain and swelling will be reduced with drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, and Motrin. The treatment for a dislocated wrist depends on the injury but typically involves a procedure called reduction, where your bones are maneuvered back into place.
Surgery is a treatment that may be recommended if your wrist has been dislocated. A doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery will often perform this procedure.
The broken pieces can often be rearranged using a closed reduction technique. This manipulation, done in the emergency department of a hospital, can put your bone back into proper alignment. You’ll also go through physical therapy to improve the movement and function of your arm.
Surgery is an Option When Treating a Dislocated Wrist
Surgery may be an option when pain or stiffness in the wrist becomes a significant problem and other nonsurgical treatment methods fail to alleviate symptoms.
HonorHealth board-certified hand surgeons assess various injuries and diseases that can affect the hand and wrist, then develop a surgical plan to help you improve mobility and function.
Most fractures heal on their own, although some will need medical treatment. This includes wearing an external cast or splint to keep the bones in place while they heal and physical therapy to restore muscle strength and mobility to the injured area.
X-rays may be needed to identify the broken bone or bones. The doctor will examine the wrist to determine what caused the injury and which bones are damaged.
The doctor may also order MRI or CT scans to identify additional injuries or problems, such as arthritis, gout, infection, or other health concerns. If a dislocation or other damages are not diagnosed immediately, they can become serious and require surgery.
The doctor will treat the wrist to keep it stable while the broken bones heal or surgically align and stabilize the fractured bone. This may involve putting screws into the broken bones on either side of the injury inside the body and connecting them to a brace or bracket outside the body.
Dislocations are painful and can damage blood vessels, nerves, and the muscles surrounding the joint. They often occur in the shoulder, fingers, elbows, and hips.
Unless the joint is realigned quickly, it can cause serious complications. These include compartment syndrome, where arteries (blood vessels) in the limb become blocked or reduced so that it feels cold and blue, and tissues die or are damaged.
If the bone ends go back into place, your doctor may be able to manipulate or reposition the joint without making an incision (called closed reduction).
After this procedure, you might wear a splint to protect the dislocated wrist as it heals. Physical therapy also helps to strengthen the joints and reduce pain and swelling.
When you injure one of your ligaments, it may tear or stretch, causing a dislocation. Ligament injuries can happen in any joint but are more common in the ankle and knees.
Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam to see how your wrist moves and look for any other injuries that might have occurred. They may also order X-rays and other tests to confirm your diagnosis.
Arthritis is a common complication that can develop following wrist fractures and dislocations. The wrist is a complex joint of eight small bones called carpals, each held together by ligaments.
Wrist arthritis happens when the cartilage (the shiny, smooth material covering bones) disappears. Typically, wrist arthritis develops gradually over time. It can also develop after a break or injury, known as post-traumatic arthritis.
Non-Surgical Options to Consider When Treating a Dislocated Wrist
A wrist dislocation can happen when you fall or bump your wrist in a way that causes the bone to move out of place. Our orthopedic specialist team can quickly assess your injury and diagnose the best treatment options.
Depending on the severity of your injury, a doctor may place your wrist in a cast to restrict its movement and allow healing. A model can be made of plaster, fiberglass, or both.
The doctor will ensure your broken bones are aligned before placing the cast. If the bone is too far out of place, surgery can be done to shift it back into alignment.
Traction is a technique that uses weights and pulleys to put pressure on and pull a bone or injured part of the body back into place. It can help realign a broken bone or dislocated joint and be used as a treatment before surgery.
Skeletal traction is the most common and involves using a device to apply weights to the bone.
However, traction can also be applied to soft tissue. The weights are placed on the skin to reduce pain and inflammation while keeping the muscle and tendons strong.
There are a few non-surgical options to consider when treating a dislocated wrist. One is called closed reduction.
This procedure lines up the ends of your broken bone, which can help it heal correctly. If you have a severe break in your arm, or the alignment of your bones doesn’t improve after a closed reduction, you might need surgery to reset the gap.
When a bone fractures, it can alter the way your wrist works. Left untreated, a wrist fracture can lead to problems with the joint, and arthritis may develop in your wrist.
You can heal your wrist fracture with physical therapy, no matter what type it is.They also use modalities like heat, cold, and electrical stimulation to treat pain, swelling, and other symptoms.