Wrist injuries are common in sport related type activities. If a wrist injury causes significant damage to any ligament surrounding the arm or hand, it can cause serious problems. Going uncorrected, these damages can continue to cause problems later in the future.
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, one in four of all fractures involve the hand or wrist, including all sports injuries. The way in which the hand and wrist are used during sports related activities could affect the way they may become injured. In basketball, netball, volleyball, and handball the moving ball is struck directly by the hand, which can therefore place considerable risk on the hand or wrist becoming injured. In golf or tennis, the wrist movements needed to strike the ball in a continuous motion, can over time create issues through wrist pain or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Falling on an outstretched hand is a major risk while playing sports – jumping, gymnastics, climbing, skating and skiing are several sports that pose this risk. When practicing, or being taught a sport such as this, the athlete should be taught how to properly fall in the safest way, continuously rolling as they hit the ground. In some sports, the hands and wrists provide the movement of the main catalyst or machine, such as rowing. This repetitive motion can cause irritation to ligaments in the hand, wrist and forearm.
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, aside from football. Hand and wrist injuries occur often from falling on the hands, making contact with another player, and striking the ball with the hand.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine stated that the “right hand is the most injured hand in soccer, three times more often than the left. Most of the injuries consist of fractures rather than joint or ligament injuries. Fractures of the phalanges are the most common, with fractures of the metacarpals following after. A significant number of soccer players sustain a fracture of the scaphoid, which tends to be more serious. Ligamentous injurious may occur in the carpus, leading to carpal instability later.”
Wrist strains and injuries are common in those who play golf regularly and seasonally. Overuse and a poor golf swing can often lead to unwanted injury.
Overuse can occur particularly with the “seasonal golfer”. These golfers play during the warm months, taking a break during the colder months, and return to the course again when warmer months arrive. Many golfers will spend their day at the driving range for the first time and hit many balls in one session, causing strain to the wrist, arms and hands. Also playing several rounds of golf a week after taking the cold months off can result in wrist injury or strain.
A poor golf swing may be to blame for wrist injuries. If a golfer is swinging his or her golf club poorly, it could lead to unwanted pain. With time, if this issue is not addressed, the pain could escalate and result in chronic wrist pain.
Injuries related to the wrist during tennis are, unfortunately, a very common issue. The dominant hand more frequently can be associated with tendon, ligament, and bone and nerve injuries. Tendon injuries are typically the most common with tennis. Radial (thumb) or ulnar (pinkie) pain are the typical locations for pain. It can be localized to one side of the wrist or palm, and can result in several different types of symptoms ranging from numbness, tingling and pain. Overuse is typically the main reason for wrist injury in tennis players.
The most common hand injury in skiing is a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb, as reported by the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Due to incorrect handling of the ski stick, the thumb can be pulled sideways and tears the ligament off at its distal end where it is attached to the base of the proximal phalanx. Sometimes this ligament remains intact but can be pulled off the bone, where it is supposed to remain attached.
A report from the Mayo Clinic in 1972 reported 17 bowling patients with pain and numbness over the “ulnar digital nerve” of the thumb. These individuals were advent bowlers and played at least five times a week. It was originally thought that the location of the thumb in the bowling ball caused these symptoms, but other nerve damages led professionals to believe that constant wrist motions could have caused it during play.
Utilizing Wrist Braces for Sports Related Wrist Injuries
Wrist support braces can be extremely useful in treating and alleviating sports related injuries. Common conditions that wrist braces can address include carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury, fractures, sprained wrists and radius and ulna issues. Wearing a wrist brace during play may aid in preventing any injuries associated with certain repetitive movements. Made from absorbent material, the wrists allow the skin to breathe all the while protecting from injury.