Common Wrist & Hand Injuries

The wrist and hand are made up of multiple little bones that are connected by many different ligaments and supported by surrounding tendons and muscles. Wrist and hand injuries are common, especially among people who engage in activities that require repetitive wrist movements or impacts. Overuse wrist and hands injuries commonly occur in work activities such as computer work, manual labour, renovations and factory work. Sports, such as tennis, mountain biking and badminton, that involved repetitive use or prolonged gripping, are prone to causing hand and wrist overuse injuries. Traumatic hand and wrist injuries are seen in sports (e.g., basketball, volleyball, football) where a ball or player will cause a twist or hyperextension of a finger or wrist. These traumatic injuries can range from minor sprains to fractures or ligament tears.

Wrist Sprain

Overstretching or tearing of the ligaments that stabilize the bones in the wrist. Typically caused by trauma such as falling onto your outstretched hand, sudden twists or impacts to the wrist. Symptoms include pain, swelling and decreased range of motion. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes physiotherapy and bracing.

Distal Radius Fracture

Most common type of bone break in the wrist. Typically caused by trauma such as falling onto your outstretched hand, or from a direct impact. Symptoms include pain, swelling, deformity and decreased range of motion. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes cast immobilization, followed by physiotherapy, but may require surgery in severe cases.

man holding his wrist

Scaphoid Fracture

Break in an important small bone in the wrist called the scaphoid that is prone to not healing well. Typically caused by trauma such as falling onto your outstretched hand. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes cast immobilization, followed by physiotherapy, but may require surgery in severe cases.

Scapholunate Ligament Tear

Tear of the ligament between the scaphoid and lunate bones of the wrist. Instability of the scapholunate joint can cause chronic pain and instability. Caused by a traumatic fall with the hand outstretched. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion. Besides acute injury management, treatment typically would include a strong consideration for surgery to repair and stabilize the wrist. After surgery, physiotherapy is needed to regain strength and range of motion.

Boxer’s Fracture

Break in one of the long bones of the hand (just below your baby finger). Typically caused by a punching trauma. Symptoms include pain, swelling, deformity and decreased range of motion. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes cast immobilization, followed by physiotherapy, but may require surgery in severe cases.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Compression of the median nerve which passes along the palm side of your wrist. Typically caused by repetitive hand and wrist movements, but may also be related to osteoarthritis, traumatic injuries and genetics. Symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling in the palm of the hand and middle three fingers. Symptoms often occur at night and you need to shake your hands to get relief. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication and creams, splinting, physiotherapy, injections and sometimes requires surgery.

DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis

Inflammation of tendons that run from the back of your thumb into your wrist. Typically caused by repetitive thumb movements. Symptoms include pain, swelling, difficulty gripping or holding objects, and decreased thumb range of motion. Besides actue injury management, treatment includes splinting, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory creams and injections.

Thumb Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Tear (“Skiers Thumb”)

Overstretching or tear of the ligament at the inner side and base of the thumb. Typically caused by trauma that causes the thumb to hyperextend and deviate laterally, such a basketball catching the thumb or a skier falling with the ski pole getting caught between the thumb and the ground. Symptoms include pain, swelling, instability and lack of motion. Besides acute injury management, treatment includes taping, bracing, physiotherapy and in more severe cases may require casting or surgery.

Wrist Ganglion Cyst

A lump filled with joint fluid usually located at the back of the wrist. Typically the cause may not be evident, but may be related in some cases to injuries or conditions that cause swelling within the wrist. Symptoms include a visible lump, pain at the back of the wrist, and decreased range of motion. Treatment includes icing, anti-inflammatory medications and creams, physiotherapy, joint fluid aspiration (removal with a needle), injection of corticosteroids, and sometimes surgery.

Wrist Osteoarthritis

Degeneration of the wrist cartilage layer which acts like a shock absorber. Contributing factors include older age, previous serious injuries (e.g. fracture, severe ligament tear), heredity/genetics, and certain professions or activities that put abnormal straining on the wrist. Symptoms include pain, swelling, mechanical symptoms (e.g., grinding, catching, clicking), stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Treatment is multi-factorial and includes strengthening, appropriate exercise, pain medication and creams, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, bracing, supplements, injections and may eventually require surgery if severe.

man holding his hand
left wrist pain

Thumb Osteoarthritis

Degeneration of the cartilage layer which acts like a shock absorber, with the base of the thumb most commonly affected. Contributing factors include older age, previous serious injuries (e.g. fracture, severe ligament tear), heredity/genetics, and certain professions or activities that put abnormal straining on the thumb. Symptoms include pain, swelling, mechanical symptoms (e.g., grinding, catching, clicking), stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Treatment is multi-factorial and includes strengthening, appropriate exercise, pain medication and creams, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, bracing, supplements, injections and may eventually require surgery if severe.

Individual treatments may vary based on the specific diagnosis and severity of the injury. Seeking professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan is recommended for optimal recovery.

Services

SPORTS MEDICINE

Our physicians specialize in sports medicine and are certified with the Canadian Academy of Sport & Exercise Medicine (CASEM). They provide expert medical care for high performance athletes, recreational athletes and active individuals.

PHYSIOTHERAPY

Our physiotherapists focus on sport- and activity-specific rehabilitation. Our goal is to return you to your activity as soon and as safely as possible.

CHIROPRACTIC

Our chiropractors utilize functional assessments to diagnose and determine the appropriate treatment plan and therapeutic methods. These techniques include Active Release Technique (ART), Athletic Movement Assessment (AMA), Diversified chiropractic Manipulation technique.

MASSAGE THERAPY

Our Registered Massage Therapists use preventative and restorative therapies to help you maintain, rehabilitate and improve physical function or relieve your pain.

ATHLETIC THERAPY

Our Certified Athletic Therapists use a full range of treatments to rehabilitate, prevent injury and help you return safely to your sports and other activities.

FOOT ORTHOTICS

Our pedorthists are trained in assessing, casting, design and fitting of foot appliances (orthotics) and in fitting of footwear to reduce painful and debilitating conditions of the lower limbs and feet.

BRACING

Our bracing professionals help fit you with a stocked or custom brace so that you may be able to return to sports or recreational activities sooner and safer.

DIETITIAN & NUTRITION

Our Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist helps to promote good nutrition habits that can help you maintain your energy levels, weight and muscle mass and can lower your risk of certain diseases.

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