Wrist & Hand Injuries

Wrist and hand injuries are separated into acute wrist injuries, gradual onset or chronic wrist pain and hand and finger injuries.

  • Acute wrist injuries are caused by a sudden impact or trauma with immediate pain and often swelling.
  • Gradual onset wrist pain which comes on gradually through overuse but can also occur as a result of an acute wrist injury which has not been recognised or has failed to heal properly.
  • Hand and finger injuries which are caused either by over use or as an acute injury.

Acute wrist injuries

Acute wrist injuries sectionColles fracture covers injuries which are caused by a sudden impact, trauma or twisting. They are common in contact sports as well as gymnastics, weight lifting, racket sports and golf. Injuries include broken wrist (which in reality can be any one of various types fractures) although a Colles fracture or fracture of the end of the radius bone in the forearm is probably the most common. A scaphoid fracture is also a common wrist injury which is important to diagnose and treat early to avoid future complications.

Wrist sprains are injury or tearing of the ligaments which connect bone to bone. A wrist strain is an injury to any of the tendons in the wrist which connect the muscles to the bone to produce movement. An avulsion strain is where the tendon either fully or partially comes away from the bone sometimes taking a piece of bone with it.

A dislocated wrist is a severe wrist injury which causes any of the bones in the wrist to move out of their normal positions. There is often ligament damage or bone fractures occurring at the same time. Immediate first aid and medical attention should be sought.

Gradual onset wrist pain

Chronic wrist pain section Carpal tunnel syndromeoutlines the most common and less common causes of wrist pain or wrist injuries which come on gradually can be caused by over use but also pain in the wrist which comes on gradually can also result from an acute wrist injury which was either not recognised at the time or was not treated properly resulting in failure to heal.

RSI or repetitive strain injury is a general term used to describe wrist pain which has come on gradually through overuse or repetitive actions. This can be sport related but is more often work related such as in using a keyboard and mouse or screwdriver. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one common injury often associated with RSI and is a compression of the nerve as it passes through a channel in the wrist.

Overuse injuries can also occur to tendons (wrist tendonitis) which connect bone to muscle. Wrist sprains involving injury to ligaments (which connect bone to bone) can also come on through overuse as well as acute trauma. Wrist bursitis is inflammation of a small sack of fluid the sits between a tendon and the bone to help lubricate movement.

A ganglion cyst is a growth or cyst which appears as a lump in the wrist usually connected to a ligament.

Hand & finger injuries

Hand and finger injuries page outlines the common injuries to the finger include finger sprains which involve damage to the ligaments in the finger. Thumb sprain similarly involves ligament tears most common at the base of the thumb.

Finger dislocations and fractures to the meta carpal bones in the hand or the phalanges bones in the fingers are also common acute hand and finger injuries.
We also explain specific conditions causing deformity in the fingers such as Mallet finger, trigger finger and thumb. Black fingernails are caused by bleeding underneath the nail.

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