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Torn Ligament in Wrist: Symptoms, Treatment, Surgery

Wrist injury[1] is a common occurrence and torn ligament in wrist can be experienced by many people. Those involved with repetitive hand functions, which demand various movements of the wrist and sports persons are at greater risk of having a torn ligament in wrist. It is important to understand the symptoms of a torn ligament in wrist and ways to treat it, to avoid further complications and joint problems.

Torn Ligament in Wrist

Torn Ligament in Wrist

Wrist has eight small carpal bones that together make the wrist joint, making it more complicated. Occurrence of torn ligament in wrist involves the cobweb of many bones held together with the help of ligaments. In case, any of the ligaments gets injured, the movement of the wrist also changes as a unit. Due to this troublesome movement, a torn ligament in wrist can cause problems, and pain with wrist movement is the commonest symptom of it.

Due to the faulty maneuvers of hands and daily wear and tear, there can be a trouble in the ligament of wrist. Torn ligament can also be a result of an injury and the symptoms of it may remain dormant for years. Wrist injury can be quite serious if left untreated for a long time and it is not only the ligament, but there are tendon, nerves and bones as well which are joined together to provide for a smooth movement.

There are generally two types[2] of injuries which can result in a torn ligament in wrist, which includes:

When the ligaments (which are basically the elastic tissues that help in holding together the bones) get injured then it is termed as sprain. Also, sprains are quite painful and may get severe when left untreated so medical help becomes quite necessary. Strain involves the damage in tendon and when muscles get overstretched to the point, it becomes unbearable for it to withstand the pressure caused. This too can be painful and needs to be treated in time to avoid further problems. Knowing the symptoms of torn ligament in wrist and ways to treat it can help to manage the condition.

Symptoms of Torn Ligament in Wrist

The main causes of torn ligament in wrist include the accidents or lifting of some heavy weight or applying pressure on something more than your capacity or being involved excessively in sports. Recognizing the symptoms of torn ligament in wrist is necessary for early diagnosis and treatment.

  • Pain and Swelling – Some of the commonest symptoms of torn ligament of wrist or an injured wrist include pain and swelling. Wrist pain and swelling due to torn ligament in wrist may eventually worsen, if appropriate ways to treat it are not applied.
  • Ecchymosis – Ecchymosis is another problem which signifies some damage like a torn ligament in wrist. In this, the common symptoms include discoloration and bruising, which can last up to several weeks.
  • Difficulty in Wrist Movement – Another common symptom of torn ligament in wrist is lack of flexibility in wrist movement, which makes performing daily tasks difficult.

Other symptoms of torn ligament in wrist can include clicking sound when moving the wrist in a particular direction, difficulty in holding or grasping objects and a discomfort when using the wrist joint. You may also feel that the wrist bones are not moving properly and are not in alignment which indicates the severity of the injury or the torn ligament.

Torn Ligament in Wrist and Osteoarthritis

When torn ligament in wrist remains untreated for long, it increases the risk of other troubles like wrist osteoarthritis[3]. This usually is a serious stage of the torn ligament in the wrist and calls for an immediate medical help and diagnosis. It is characterized by symptoms of severe wrist pain, trouble in making wrist movement due to loss of cartilage resulting from torn ligament in wrist.

Gradually, if wrist movements are discontinued due to pain, it can result in stiffness of bones, which further worsens the condition and causes more pain. Eventually it affects the wrist functions, makes holding of objects difficult and result in persistent swelling, stiffness and pain. These symptoms of a torn ligament in wrist are the important signs, which should be treated at once.

Treatment of Torn Ligament in Wrist

Treatment of torn ligament in wrist depends on the severity of the injury and the duration for which it has lasted. Treating the torn ligament in wrist is essential because it may lead to trouble later on which can be hard to diagnose.

The commonest ways to treat torn ligament in wrist include

  • Surgical
  • Non-surgical

Based on the history, complaints and clinical examination, it is possible to identify the possibility of a torn ligament in wrist. Wrist injuries can be acute in nature, while some injuries may go unnoticed and result in chronic wrist injuries.

In case of acute wrist injury, the problem may be diagnosed within few weeks but in case of the chronic injury, the problem may be months-old. In such cases, the severity of the injury and the complaints will help to decide the most appropriate ways of treatment.

Non-surgical treatment for torn ligament in wrist usually include application of ice packs to reduce swelling and immobilization of the wrist joint. A cast or splint may be advised to restrict wrist movements, control pain and promote healing. In mild sprains or wrist injury[5], it may take few weeks to heal from torn ligament in wrist.

Surgical Ways to Treat Torn Ligament in Wrist[4]

If you are being recommended the surgical treatment then it calls for the multiple surgical procedures which are being conjoined together to treat the torn ligament or wrist injury. Surgical procedure for treatment of torn ligament in wrist is usually recommended when the wrist injury is a long standing one. In such cases, wrist pain and other symptoms of torn ligament in wrist are ignored or remain unnoticed, resulting in further complications affecting the wrist joint. Surgical ways to treat torn ligament in wrist help to treat conditions in which all ligaments of wrist are torn or when the bones and other structures of the wrist joint are damaged.

The surgical ways to treat torn ligament in wrist include reconstructing the ligament and fusion, which help in a quick healing. The choice of treatment and the specific ways to treat torn ligament in wrist depend on the type and severity of the wrist injury or the presence of osteoarthritis and bone deformation.

Hence, it is important to attend to the symptoms of torn ligament in wrist and provide treatment at the earliest.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 29, 2020

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