Wrist Injury Treatment

Dr. James - Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore

Written by Dr James Tan

Contents

    Wrist injury is defined as any injury or damage to the wrist joint and can involve the bones, ligaments, and tendons in that region. The wrist joint comprises two sets of four bones each, one towards the hand, and the other towards the arm. These sets of bones are connected with each other at the wrist through ligaments and tendons. All these bones and connecting soft tissues help control the wide range of motion of our hands, fingers, and thumb.

    If any part of this network gets inflamed, torn, fractured, or damaged, it can cause wrist pain. Some wrist pains are mild while others may be debilitating and significantly affect your normal activities. Read along further to find out about the causes of wrist injury, symptoms and diagnosis, and wrist injury treatment in Singapore.

    Causes Of Wrist Pain

    There could be different conditions that can result in wrist pain. These conditions include:

    Traumatic Wrist Injury

    Traumatic wrist pain is caused by an acute injury to any of the bones, ligaments, and connective tissues in the wrist. Falling on one’s outstretched hand is the most common cause of fractures and injuries to the ligaments that result in wrist pain. The pain may be accompanied by loss of function of the hand, especially while grasping and pushing.

    Repetitive Strain Injuries of the Wrist

    Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are usually caused by tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons that connect the wrist joint with the fingers and thumb and control their movement). These injuries are caused by repeated bending and twisting actions of hands and wrists. During these repetitive movements, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves may get damaged resulting in wrist pain. A common RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of bones, muscles, and connective tissues of the wrist due to wear and tear because of old age. It can also be caused after a traumatic injury of the wrist that could lead to early degeneration and consequently, post-traumatic arthritis. Arthritis can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of movement or function in the hand or fingers.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s defence system starts attacking its own tissues resulting in inflammation and damage. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur in a person of any age and is not associated with any trauma or old age.

    Signs and Symptoms of Wrist Injury

    A wrist tendon injury can cause a number of different symptoms that may include:

    • Pain and tenderness in the wrist.
    • Tingling sensation and numbness in the hand.
    • Weakness in the hand and fingers.
    • Reduced range of motion of the hand.
    • Stiffness of the hand and fingers.
    • Trouble grasping objects and holding on to them.
    • A clicking sound while moving the wrist.
    • Pain while doing certain activities and in worse cases, pain even at rest.
    • Instability of the wrist.

    Wrist Injury Types That Can Cause Pain

    Wrist injuries that can cause pain may include:

    anatomical diagram of hand and wrist

    Anatomical Diagram of Hand and Wrist- Image Credit: Orthopaedics Today

    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Wrist tendonitis
    • Wrist bursitis
    • De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Post-traumatic arthritis
    • Wrist sprain
    • Ganglion cyst
    • Simple Lacerations
    • Triangular fibrocartilage complex injury (TFCC)
    • Cartilage injury
    • Repetitive motion syndrome
    • Trigger digits
    • Paronychia

    Apart from these above-mentioned conditions, there could be other wrist injuries that might cause wrist pain. If you experience wrist pain, it is advised to see a healthcare professional within 48 hours and have your condition assessed.

    Grades Of Wrist Sprains

    Depending on the severity, wrist sprains are categorised into three grades:

    • Grade 1: A grade 1 wrist sprain occurs when the ligaments are only stretched with no tears. The person may feel pain while moving the joint with minimum inflammation or bruising around the wrist.
    • Grade 2: This is a moderate form of wrist sprain where the ligament and tendons might be partially torn. This type of wrist sprain may cause pain, swelling, and bruising while affecting wrist stability.
    • Grade 3: Grade 3 wrist sprain happens when the ligament or tendon is completely ruptured resulting in severe pain, tenderness, and bruising. The wrist may hurt even while at rest and it significantly affects the range of motion of the wrist. The affected wrist may also become unstable.

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    What is A Ganglion Cyst?

    Ganglion cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that appear on the wrist or fingers. Ganglion cysts usually develop due to joint or tendon irritation. If they become painful, treatment options can include:

    Reducing the load on your wrist joint

    Taking anti-inflammatory medication

    Wearing a wrist splint

    Do not attempt to remove a Ganglion cyst by yourself as it can lead to an infection, injury or recurrence. It is advised to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect a Ganglion cyst.

    Find Wrist Injury Treatment in Singapore

    If you have been suffering from acute or chronic wrist pain, you don’t want to delay treatment for too long.

    Ready to start your treatment for wrist pain? We are here to help! The specialists at Ray of Health will create a treatment plan for wrist injury that will help relieve your pain. We also offer treatment for sports injuries like rotator cuff injury and meniscus tears treatment.

    Why live in pain another day? Chat with us online, call +65 6235 8781, or message WhatsApp at +65 8028 4572. You can also talk to us by clicking the button below.

    Locations

    Camden Medical

    1 Orchard Boulevard, #09-06

    Singapore 248649

    Mount Alvernia Hospital

    820 Thomson Road

    Medical Centre D #05-60

    Singapore 574623

    Book an Appointment

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    Treatment Process With Our Wrist Injury Specialist

    Dr James Tan, our wrist specialist at Ray of Health, deals with various orthopaedic conditions of the body. He advises his patients to consult him in case of any pain or injury at the earliest so that the condition can be assessed and diagnosed properly.

    1. Registration: First, register with Dr James' team and book an appointment here.
    2. First appointment: At the first appointment, Dr James Tan will carry out a thorough physical exam for your wrist injury, and evaluate your medical history.
    3. Diagnosis: Typically, additional diagnostic tests are required to assess the causes of the problems accurately. This usually comes in the form of MRI or X-ray scans.
    4. Personalised Treatment Plan: Dr James will then create a personalised treatment plan based on your specific condition and needs, which could include undergoing surgery, and recommend the necessary treatment modalities to you.
    5. Follow-up sessions: Dr James will schedule additional follow-up sessions to monitor the recovery process until you fully recover.

    Disclaimer: Treatment plans may differ for different patients. Please contact Dr James for more information.

    dr james tan

    Accreditations

    1. Mount Elizabeth Orchard
    2. Mount Elizabeth Novena
    3. Farrer Park Hospital
    4. Mount Alvernia Hospital
    5. Aptus Surgery Centre
    6. Novaptus Surgery Centre

    Medisave & Insurance Shield Plan Approved

    If you are a Singaporean or a Permanent Resident of Singapore, some of our orthopaedic procedures can be claimed under Medisave. The claimable amount will vary based on the procedure's complexity.

    For other situations, please consult our friendly clinic staff regarding the use of your Integrated Shield Plan insurance.

    Personal Insurance

    1. Great Eastern
    2. Prudential
    3. HSBC Life

    Corporate Insurance

    1. MHC
    2. Fullerton
    3. Adept
    4. Alliance
    5. IHP
    6. iXchange
    7. Parkway Shenton
    8. Bupa
    9. Cigna

    How Is Wrist Pain Diagnosed?

    If you have wrist pain, Dr James Tan will conduct a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor may move your wrist around to check for any limited range of motion. He may also check for any swelling or tenderness in the wrist. Lastly, the doctor may assess the strength of your wrist and forearm.

    Apart from the physical exam, Dr Tan may order some other tests that include:

    Imaging Tests

    The most common imaging test for diagnosing wrist pain is an x-ray. X-rays can be used to detect osteoarthritis or fractures in bones. For a more detailed picture, an MRI or CT scan may be used to diagnose the cause of wrist pain.

    Electrical Impulses Test

    If the doctor suspects some nerve involvement, such as a median nerve problem in the wrist, he may order an electromyogram or EMG. In this test, a small electrode is inserted into the muscle and electrical impulses and signals are calculated when the muscle is at rest and when it is activated. This helps identify nerve compression due to carpal tunnel syndrome or spinal problems.

    Surgical Tests

    If the imaging tests are inconclusive, the doctor may carry out a minimally invasive surgical procedure called arthroscopy to view the wrist injury and identify its causes. During arthroscopy, a small camera is inserted through a tiny incision in the wrist. This camera allows the doctor to have a clear picture of the inside of the wrist and reach a diagnosis of the problem.

    Wrist Injury Singapore Treatment

    Depending on each patient’s symptoms and causes of wrist pain, our wrist injury doctor, Dr James Tan, may advise non-surgical or surgical treatments.

    Non-Surgical Wrist Pain Treatment

    Non-surgical wrist pain treatment in Singapore comprises physical therapy, home remedies, and medication. Just like most injuries, the doctor will advise you to avoid doing wrist-specific activities and give the wrist rest for a few days to allow the injury to start healing. Applying ice on the pain point for 15-20 minutes several times a day can also help with the pain and inflammation.

    To help manage pain, the doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain medicines like Tylenol and Ibuprofen or stronger prescription drugs if the pain is excessive. Along with rest and medication, the doctor may advise physical therapy in almost all cases. The targeted wrist injury exercises and stretches can help relieve tension in the muscles and tendons to allow them to heal more effectively. Moreover, he may advise you to wear a splint to protect the injured tendon or ligament in the wrist. A splint is quite helpful in repetitive strain injuries of the wrist.

    Surgical Wrist Pain Treatment

    For some cases of wrist injury, surgical treatment is the only option. A specialist doctor or orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore will carry out surgery for the specific injury. In case of bone fractures, the surgeon will connect the bone fragments together and stabilise the bones through metal rods to allow them to heal over the next few weeks and months. After surgery, physiotherapy may be required to further strengthen the muscles and regain the normal range of motion.

    Surgery for wrist pain in Singapore may also be carried out for some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome and tendon and ligament repair and reconstruction. In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, the surgeon may cut the ligament on the roof of the tunnel to relieve pressure on the nerve, which in turn can reduce the pain, stiffness, and numbness.

    In cases where a tendon or ligament in the wrist is torn, the doctor may carry out an arthroscopic surgery to repair or reconstruct them. Physiotherapy is typically carried out a few weeks after surgery to further strengthen the wrist.

    Who is more at risk of getting wrist injuries?

    Typically those activities that cause you to make repetitive movements with your wrist will put you more at risk of suffering from wrist injuries. Sportsmen and people who use their wrists in repetitive movements are more at risk of getting wrist injuries. People who play tennis, golf, table tennis, hockey, and boxing are also more prone. Lifting heavy weights or doing heavy workouts where the wrist experiences repetitive strain also puts you more at risk; for example, while doing push-ups.

    Moreover, some people are naturally more loose-jointed and their wrists can get injured relatively easily. New mothers who hold their babies for long and cradle and swing them may also get carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive usage and stress.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises

    If you're looking for exercises to relieve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, check out this video below.

    Frequently-Asked Questions About Wrist Injuries in Singapore

    Wrist sprain symptoms are different depending on the extent of the injury. For mild wrist sprains where the ligaments are strained or torn mildly, you will feel pain while moving the wrist joint. For more severe sprains, you may feel pain even at rest.

    If you're experiencing this in your ankle, it could be a sign of ankle sprain as well. Also, there is a possibility of it being a pain in the heels, for which we recommend seeking heel pain treatment

    Disclaimer

    The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult your healthcare provider or specialist doctor regarding any medical condition that you might be facing and act on the doctor’s recommendations.

    References:

    1. "Overview: Wrist injuries", National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2024, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK563103/
    2. "Wrist sprain - aftercare", National Library of Medicine, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000568.htm
    3. Douglas D. May Jr; Matthew Varacallo, "Wrist Sprain", National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2023, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551514/

    About The Author

    dr james tan

    Dr James Tan Chung Hui

    Dr James Tan is a skilled orthopaedic surgeon at Quantum Orthopaedics located at Camden Medical and Mount Alvernia Hospital, known for providing specialised medical services. Dr Tan has more than 10 years of experience in sports surgery and exercise medicine in Singapore. Apart from partnering with the industry to introduce various treatment techniques, Dr Tan has treated athletes from the Singapore National Teams and professional footballers from the Singapore Premier League and the Young Lions.

    Dr Tan specialises in treating sports injuries of the knee, shoulder and elbow joints, as well as cartilage and meniscus surgery. He is a member of the elite Asian Shoulder and Elbow Group and a founding member of the Singapore Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Society.

    Medical Education and Affiliations
    MBBS - National University of Singapore (NUS), Faculty of Medicine
    Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCS)
    MMed - Master of Medicine in Orthopaedic Surgery (NUS)
    Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh)
    Adjunct Assistant Professor | NUS, LKC
    Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports and Exercise Medicine
    Head of Department | Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Centre
    Awards
    Principal Investigator of Tissue Engineering
    National Medical Research Council grants
    Collaboration with Scientists at NTU, TUM, A*Star, Osteopore & Trendlines Medical Singapore

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