Wrist Ligament Injuries

The carpal bones are eight small, separate bones that, when healthy, work together to give the wrist mobility and function. A number of ligaments work together with these bones, but if compromised by a fall or a sports injury these ligaments can sprain or tear. Depending on the type of injury, simple immobilisation of the wrist using a splint or cast can be sufficient for healing to take place within 3-6 weeks. Therapy, heat, and pain relievers are generally helpful in addressing the symptoms.

Diagnosis is complex and can involve MRI scans and x-rays, but surgery may be recommended in cases where the ligaments are completely torn and the carpal bones out of alignment. The ligament will be pinned into place or reconstructed using a graft from a tendon in the forearm.

Immobilisation is required following surgery and takes approximately 6 weeks. However, the thumb and fingers can be used during the healing period, which can be lengthy as ligaments can take more than a year to completely regain strength. An excellent physiotherapy program is essential to recovery.

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