Dislocated wrist

A dislocated wrist might involve any of the carpal bones. The bones are secured in position and allowed to move by a network of ligaments. A tear in any of these ligaments can cause 2 or more carpal bones to be driven out of the normal position, resulting to a dislocated wrist.

What are the causes?

Any form of traumatic injury to the hand or arm might result to a dislocated wrist. Some of the common causes of the injury include:

  • Vehicular accidents
  • High-impact sports such as hockey or football
  • Breaking a fall with the hand

What are the signs?

Dislocated wrist

Any form of traumatic injury to the hand or arm might result to a dislocated wrist.

The main sign of a dislocated wrist is intense wrist pain, especially if attempting to move the wrist upwards, downwards to sideways.

Other symptoms include:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Bruising or discoloration

Management of a dislocated wrist

For a mild case of dislocated wrist, it is managed with reduction. During the procedure, the doctor gently repositions the bones into their position. The procedure can be quite painful depending on the seriousness of the injury. The pain can be relieved with either local or general anesthesia before.

After the procedure, a splint or cast is worn to prevent the affected wrist from moving as it recuperates. In addition, a sling should also be worn.

In severe cases, surgery is required to realign the wrist bones or fix any torn ligaments. This oftentimes involves the placement of screws or pins to secure the bone in place.

Length of recovery

The healing time for a dislocated wrist is based on its seriousness. If only reduction is needed, recovery might take only 2-3 months. In case surgery is performed, it might take 6 months up to a year to recover.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a dislocated wrist is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.

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