Scapholunate ligament sprain - aftercare
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.
Follow any specific instructions for symptom relief. You may be advised that 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 provider 1 to 2 weeks after your injury. Based on the severity of your injury, your provider may want to see you more than once.
For chronic wrist sprains, talk to your provider about what activity may be causing you to re-injure your wrist and what you can do to prevent further injury.
Call the provider if you have:
Cannon DL. Wrist disorders. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 69.
Gaston RG, Robinson EP, Lourie GM. Hand and wrist diagnosis and decision making. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR. eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 71.
Last reviewed on: 5/21/2016
Reviewed by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.