Sprains occur when one or more ligaments have been stretched, twisted or torn by excessive force. Common sites for sprains are the wrist and thumb and are often cause by an awkward fall or collision or by over-reaching.
The main symptoms are pain around the affected joint, an inability to use the joint normally or put weight on it, along with swelling, bruising and tenderness.
A doctor will need to know how the injury happened and will then examine the hand. The doctor will check for tenderness around the injury site, inflammation and bumps not usually present and bruising or bleeding around the joint. An X-ray may be needed in severe cases.
Many sprains and strains can be managed at home with over-the-counter painkillers and recovery protocols that include rest, icing and compressing the injured site and protecting it from further damage.
An orthopaedic consultant is best placed to decide the extent of an injury and recommend the correct treatment pathway as self-diagnosing a condition can lead to further damage. A medical expert can advise if a sprained joint needs immobilizing or should be used gradually to restore function.
A series of progressive exercises in combination with follow-up consultations can ensure a speedy recovery and, in certain cases, a physiotherapist may be recommended for more advance exercises.
Surgery is rarely carried out on sprains because less invasive treatments are viewed as being successful but severe muscle strains in professional sports people often require operations to restore muscle function and strength.
Recovery times vary and patients can experience pain and intermittent swelling for months after the initial injury.
To ask a question, make an enquiry or book an appointment, contact our specialist team on 0207 078 3887 or firstname.lastname@example.org, the team are available between Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm and on Saturday from 9.00am to 3.00pm. Our elbow team have a dedicated and caring approach and will seek to find you the earliest appointment possible with the correct specialist for your needs.
If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.