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The wrist is a complex joint and often injured in sports and falls. All wrist injuries benefit from an accurate assessment as there are many joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles that can be involved.

Your rehabilitation may include a protective splint to help rest the tissues (as it is very hard to avoid using your hand and wrist!), soft tissue treatments, and exercises for movement and strength. The wrist has particular mechanics of joint and muscle co-ordination which need to be restored after injury. Your hand therapist will show you graded exercises to work on stability and strength as you recover.

Find one of our hand clinics near you.

We have clinics in Merivale, Papanui, Moorhouse Ave, Halswell and Kaiapoi

Wrist Injuries

Wrist injuries in adults are often more complicated than you expect and it can take many months to return to normal activity. Hand therapy will support you through your rehabilitation and give you realistic guidelines on returning to work and sport. Read more below and see our Information Sheets and Resources for more details about common wrist injuries and how they are treated.

Common wrist injuries and conditions include:

  • Distal radius fracture and scaphoid fracture – A break to your radius or scaphoid usually happens after a fall or a high force injury. Some fractures may need surgery to put the bone into a good position. Initial treatment will involve a plaster cast or splint. It is important to start safe movement as early as possible. Your wrist may feel stiff and sore when the cast is removed. Recovering from a wrist fracture can take longer than you expect.

  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) injury – Injury to the joint complex at the little finger side of your wrist. This can happen after a fall or forceful twisting injury. Twisting movement of your wrist is often painful and restricted, and it is hard to put weight through your wrist and hand.

  • Extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) tendinopathy – Pain and swelling in the tendon on the little finger side of your wrist. This is painful with gripping, lifting and twisting movements. You may feel the pain and inflammation gets worse over time.

  • Scapholunate ligament sprain– Injury to a strong ligament that supports the small bones in the wrist. Pain is usually felt in the middle on the top of your wrist. You can feel reduced movement and strength in your wrist and hand.

  • Ganglion cysts – a common benign cyst that often form in the soft tissues around the wrist. You may see or feel a small bump. Pain can be aggravated with wrist movement and putting weight through your wrist and hand.

  • De Quervains tenosynovitis – Pain and swelling in the tendons that run across your wrist and into the thumb, caused by pressure in the tunnel they pass through at the wrist. Pressure in the tunnel makes the pain and inflammation worse the more you move and may continue to get worse over time. It is a common condition in new mothers.

Wrist Injury FAQs

It is best to attend hand therapy early to make sure your injury can recover as quick as possible!

A wrist fracture will need support in a cast or splint for at least 6 weeks, it can then take another 6 weeks before you feel you are ready to return to normal activity. Wrist fractures in children usually heal a lot quicker.

Scaphoid fractures can take 8-12 weeks to heal because the scaphoid has a limited blood supply.

The muscles in your forearm are the ones that make your wrist strong. The primary function of the muscles is to make the wrist stable so you can grip and lift.

Information Sheets

These information sheets include more details about particular conditions and how they are treated.

You are in good hands with our team.

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Merivale Hand Clinic

Resource hub

Visit our Resource hub for more informative articles and useful factsheets.

Healing and Recovery

Scaphoid Fractures

The scaphoid is one of eight carpal bones in the wrist. It is a commonly fractured bone in the wrist, accounting for over 85% of

Read More

Rehabilitation of the Hand, Wrist And Elbow

Contact us with any questions

Our team of 12 hand therapists have undergraduate degrees in physiotherapy or occupational therapy and have all completed a post graduate qualification in hand and upper limb therapy. Together we have a total of over 150 years of experience in hand therapy!