Hand & Wrist Ligament Injuries

The bones within the wrist move carefully in combination with the other bones in predetermined ways to ensure the mechanics of the wrist work well. A complex set of ligaments within your wrist keep the motion in check. If you put enough force on your wrist, it is possible to injure these ligaments. Sometimes it is possible to fracture your wrist as well as injure the ligaments, or the ligaments may be injured in isolation. Arguably the most important ligaments are those between the scaphoid and lunate called the scapholunate ligament. If these are injured, there will be a significant effect on the use of your wrist, along with pain and reduced function. If you have a severe scapholunate ligament injury, it is unlikely that your wrist will return to normal in the long term, regardless of treatment. Having said that, treatment often leads to a significant improvement to the wrist.

 

It can be quite difficult to diagnose ligament injuries in the wrist. Often x-rays may appear normal, and even MRI scans do not always diagnose the problem. It is advisable to see a hand surgeon like Mr Jarrett for specialist diagnosis. Please be aware that Mr Jarrett will need to arthroscope your wrist to ensure a correct diagnosis.

Wrist Ligament Injury Treatment Options

 

Milder injuries may be treated with a splint for approximately 8 weeks. Patients with moderate or severe injuries ligament repair or reconstruction will usually require two operations around 8 weeks apart. The ligament will be repaired and reconstructed in the first operation. The second operation is needed to remove supporting metal wire or wires from the wrist.
Patients with milder chronic issues will gain improved wrist function and decreased pain from our special proprioceptive exercises program supervised by our hand.

 

Post-operative care

 

If surgery is undertaken, a splint is required full time for 8 weeks and part time for a further 4 weeks. Hand surgery will be necessary to rehabilitate your wrist over several months. As mentioned earlier, your wrist is unlikely to return to normal after treatment, but should give you an improved outcome compared to undertaking no treatment.

Ligament Injury In The Hand

 

 

There are some ligaments within the hand which can be injured. Sometimes the injury may be a mild sprain, and no treatment may be necessary, although mild injuries can take months to recover maximally. If the ligament has been torn significantly then often a splint from our hand therapists will be required for six weeks. If the ligament is torn or avulsed from its insertion and there is a gap present between the ends of the tendon, or the tendon and its insertion, surgery may be required to repair or reconstruct the ligament followed by a period of six weeks in a splint and rehabilitation with our hand therapists.

 

At times clinical examination by your doctor or Mr Jarrett will be enough to establish a diagnosis. On other occasions x-rays, ultrasound or MRI scanning may be required to make the diagnosis sufficiently clear and to predict the outcome of treatment.