Scapho-lunate ligament sprain - aftercare
A sprain is an injury to the ligaments around a joint. Ligaments are strong, flexible fibers that hold bones together.
When you sprain your wrist, you have pulled or torn one or more of the ligaments in your wrist joint. This can happen from landing on your hand wrong when you fall.
Wrist sprains can be mild to severe. They are ranked by how severely the ligament is pulled or torn away from the bone.
Chronic wrist sprains from poorly treated ligament injuries in the past can lead to weakening of the bones and ligaments in the wrist. This can lead to arthritis if not treated.
Symptoms such as pain, swelling, bruising and loss of strength or stability are common with mild (grade 1) to moderate (grade 2) wrist sprains.
With mild injuries, stiffness is normal once the ligament begins to heal. This can improve with light stretching.
Severe (grade 3) wrist sprains may need to be looked at by a hand surgeon. X-rays or an MRI of the wrist may need to be done. More severe injuries may require surgery.
Chronic sprains should be treated with splinting, pain medicine, and anti-inflammatory medicine. Chronic sprains may need steroid injections and possibly surgery.
For the first few days or weeks after your injury:
Make sure to rest your wrist as much as you can. Use a compression wrap or splint to keep the wrist from moving and to keep the swelling down.
For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can buy these pain medicines at the store.
To build strength once your wrist starts to feel better, try the ball drill.
To increase flexibility and movement:
If you feel increased discomfort in your wrist after these exercises, ice the wrist for 20 minutes.
Do the exercises twice a day.
Follow up with your doctor 1 to 2 weeks after your injury. Based on the severity of your injury, your doctor may want to see you more than once.
For chronic wrist sprains, talk to your doctor about what activity may be causing you to re-injure your wrist and what you can do to prevent further injury.
Call the doctor if you have:
Ingari JV. Wrist and hand. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr., Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 20.
Skirven TM, Osterman AL. Clinical examination of the wrist. In: Skirven TM, Osterman AL, Fedorczyk JM, Amadio PC. Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 7.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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