When the wrist is bent too far or at an odd angle in an attempt to catch yourself, the addition of body weight can stretch the ligaments in the wrist joint, which results in a sprain. Whether it is a result of a sports injury or a slip and fall on the ice, the treatment protocol for a sprained wrist is the same.
What to Do When You Sprain Your Wrist
If you have sprained your wrist, the immediate goal is to limit further damage and keep swelling to a minimum. Swelling occurs as a natural part of your body's inflammatory response. In fact, swelling actually helps injuries heal, but too much of it can slow down the healing process and make your injury last longer.
If you want to make the healing process faster and limit pain and swelling at the same time, follow these steps right after a wrist sprain:
- Joint stabilization - Limiting range of motion in the wrist joint will help you prevent further injury to the damaged ligaments. A wrist brace or splint will keep your hand and arm at a neutral angle.
- Rest - Avoiding use of your wrist, especially in the first few days after the injury, will allow the damaged tissues to heal more quickly. The more your body is allowed to rest, the more energy it can commit to healing.
- Ice - Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is proven to help reduce the pain and swelling that results from a wrist sprain. To reduce pain, the cold numbs nerve endings. Cold also reduces swelling and limits edema, which is excess fluid buildup around damaged tissues. To get the most from cryotherapy, use an active cold therapy system that maintains a constant temperature and allows the therapeutic cold to last longer and penetrate deeper.
- Compression - Using compression bandages will also help control swelling and edema. A more effective method is to use active compression, which provides a constant pumping effect to optimize blood flow and flush away the waste products your body produces throughout the healing process.
- Elevation - Keeping your injured arm elevated in the early stages of the recovery process will help keep swelling to a minimum.
Game Ready provides active cold and compression to help you recover from injuries faster. Our specially designed Hand/Wrist Wrap keeps your hand, wrist and forearm in a customizable, ergonomic position constantly cooling, and actively compressing to remove edema and control swelling.
If you are an athlete that needs to recover quickly, or simply want to limit the pain and swelling that comes with a wrist sprain, talk to your doctor about Game Ready. To find an orthopedic specialist or physical therapist who can prescribe or treat you with Game Ready, visit our website. Contact us today to learn more.
How did you treat your last wrist sprain? Do you think it could have been done more effectively?