Wrist Dislocation

Wrists dislocations and the potential of an accompanying wrist fracture are common to athletes who participate in activities such as gymnastics and contact sports. This can result in a number of months away from sports.


The wrist will be painful and is likely to be inflamed. There may be an obvious bone deformity where the injury has occurred, and the area will feel tender when touched. The affected hand might feel considerably weaker as a result of the injury, and numbness can also be present. In some cases it will be very difficult and detrimental to twist or in any way move the wrist joint.


The dislocation is usually caused by falling onto an outstretched hand, which can often occur while trying to break your fall. The fall may well involve high speed and heavy impact, such as from bearing the body's full weight; this can lead to hyperextension of the wrist, causing the dislocation and a possible scaphoid fracture (see our article for further details). Falls of this nature typically occur during contact sports like football and rugby, due to the great impacts involved, while sports such as gymnastics carry the risk of wrist dislocation because the hands are so much a part of the intricate movements. Any sport with the potential for high falling accidents, such as skating, cycling and horse riding, can also lead to the injury.

Medical Treatment

As soon as you have identified the dislocation, cease all strenuous activity and do not put pressure on the wrist. See a medical professional in order to obtain a diagnosis. They will assess the severity of the condition, which can alter the course of treatment depending on whether the injury necessitates surgical treatment for procedures like realignment or bone repair. They can also identify any accompanying fractures.

The doctor will talk you through the suitable treatment. In all cases it is also important to rest the wrist, compress and elevate the area, and apply ice a few times per day to reduce pain and swelling. Your doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medication and other methods to alleviate the symptoms. Appropriate therapies might be implemented to repair damaged tissue. After surgery the arm may be placed in a cast for 1 or 2 months.


When the doctor has treated the dislocation and it has started to heal, with the pain diminished you can begin a program of maintaining movement in the area with the assistance of a physical therapist. This will incorporate a gradual build-up of stretching and strengthening the surrounding muscles in order to restore full motion to the joint. During this time it is important to be patient and refrain from participating in activities that could hinder the wrist's recovery. A doctor or physical therapist will advise you on the appropriate length for rehabilitation and how to modify your training routines to benefit the wrist if your injury has resulted in reduced wrist motion.

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