Treatment of Hand Sprains and Strains in Long Island, Manhattan, and NYC
Sprains and strains are soft tissue injuries that can affect the ligaments, muscles, and tendons of the hand or wrist. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually different types of injuries. In most cases, hand sprains and strains can be treated conservatively, but in severe cases surgery may be necessary. The experienced hand surgeons at The Institute for Hand Surgery at Long Island Plastic Surgical Group (LIPSG) can properly diagnose a hand sprain or strain and provide effective treatment.
What is a Wrist Sprain?
A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which is the fibrous band of tissue that connects bones at a joint. Sprains can range from a mild stretching of the ligament to a partial or complete tear. One of the most common injuries to affect the wrist is a wrist sprain, which happens when the wrist is forcefully twisted or bent, often by falling onto an outstretched hand.
There are different grades of wrist sprains:
- Mild (Grade 1) Sprain: Here, the ligaments are stretched but do not tear.
- Moderate (Grade 2) Sprain: In a moderate sprain, the ligaments are partially torn. A grade 2 sprain may involve some loss of hand or wrist function.
- Severe (Grade 3) Sprain: A severe sprain occurs when the ligament is torn or is pulled off from where it attaches to the bone. This tearing may also pull a piece of the bone away, which is called an avulsion fracture. A grade 3 sprain may require surgery.1
Symptoms of Hand and Wrist Sprains
Hand/Wrist sprains and strains may cause a range of symptoms, including:
- A sensation of popping or tearing
- A feeling of warmth near the injury
- Joint contracture
In some cases, these symptoms may be caused by an unrecognized fracture. For this reason, if you suspect you have a hand or wrist sprain or strain, it is important to have your injury examined by a hand expert who can properly diagnose and treat the injury.
What is a Hand Strain?
While a sprain is an injury to a ligament, a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, the fibrous cord that attaches a muscle to a bone. Like sprains, strains can vary in severity, ranging from a stretch of a muscle or tendon to a partial or complete tear. Hand strains are common in sports where extensive gripping is required, like gymnastics, golf, rowing, and tennis.2
Symptoms of Hand Strains
A hand or wrist strain may cause symptoms such as:
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness
Treatment for Hand Sprains and Strains
Conservative treatment for hand sprains and strains is the same, and can be remembered by the letters “RICE”:
Physical therapy is often recommended as treatment after a sprain or strain and splinting may be recommended for a period of time.
In cases of a severe sprain or strain, hand or wrist surgery may be required to alleviate symptoms and preserve functionality.
Contact the Institute for Hand Surgery
If you have suffered a hand or wrist injury that may be a sprain or strain, it could be more severe than you think. Put ice on the area, then contact the hand experts at The Institute for Hand Surgery at Long Island Plastic Surgical Group (LIPSG) to schedule an examination.
1 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Wrist Sprains. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/wrist-sprains/. Accessed September 10, 2021.
2 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Sprains, Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/sprains-strains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/. Accessed September 10, 2021.
3 National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Sprains and Strains. Available: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/sprains-and-strains. Accessed September 10, 2021