How to Relieve Wrist Hyperextension Pain
Wrist hyperextension is a type of wrist sprain that typically occurs when you suffer a severe impact on your outstretched hand. People most commonly experience wrist hyperextension when they suffer a fall and land on one of their hands. This pushes the wrist backward toward the top of the forearm, overextending it and even breaking the ligaments in the wrist in some cases.
You’ll usually notice wrist hyperextension by the sudden sharp pain that accompanies the injury when it first happens. Other symptoms of wrist hyperextension include stiffness, tenderness, bruising, tingling, swelling, a reduced range of motion, and wrist spasms. There are several things you can do to help ease the pain associated with a wrist hyperextension injury.
Use the R.I.C.E. Method
The R.I.C.E. method is your first line of defense when you’ve suffered a wrist sprain. This well-known treatment involves the following steps:
- Rest: Stop the activity immediately and rest the injured wrist. This is especially important if you’ve suffered wrist hyperextension during a sporting event. Don’t attempt to play through the pain, as you could make the injury much worse. You should rest your wrist and avoid putting any pressure or weight on it for 24 to 48 hours.
- Ice: Apply an ice pack to your wrist for a period of 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this process every two to three hours during the initial 24- to 48-hour period when resting your wrist and actively treating the fresh injury.
- Compression: Wrap your wrist in a bandage or use a compression sleeve to help reduce any pain and swelling. Proper compression will also reduce your range of motion and prevent you from straining your wrist further.
- Elevate: Hold your wrist above the level of your heart as often as possible while you’re resting it to help to reduce inflammation and minimize pain and throbbing. Laying down flat on your back and raising your arm slightly by propping it up on a pile of pillows can help keep your wrist comfortably elevated as you relax.
Implementing R.I.C.E. immediately after your injury can help it heal successfully without further intervention. However, you may need to proceed to some of the following treatments if you have a more serious injury.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help reduce pain and swelling associated with wrist hyperextension. Some common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are Motrin, Advil, and Aleve. You should take these medications as directed on the bottle. Using NSAIDs can increase your risk of ulcers and bleeding. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need to take NSAIDs long-term for pain and swelling. Your doctor can recommend the proper dosage and schedule for your needs.
Apply Kinesiology Tape
Properly applying kinesiology tape to an injured wrist can provide some immediate pain relief and allow you to perform essential everyday tasks more comfortably. To tape your wrist :
- Place one piece of tape over the back of the wrist with 80% stretch. Press the middle of the tape down while stretched.
- Adhere the ends of the tape on either side of the wrist with no stretch.
- Apply a second piece of tape to the underside of your wrist in the same manner, with 80% stretch in the middle.
- Lay the ends of the tape down so that they overlap the first piece of tape with no stretch.
- With your wrist in a flexed position, secure a third piece of tape to the top of your hand so that it extends up the arm. Apply the tape to the top of the forearm extending up to the elbow with 25% stretch.
If you’re unsure how to properly apply the tape, ask your physician or physical therapist to demonstrate how to do so.
Use a Wrist Splint
If you’re experiencing severe pain from your hyperextended wrist, you may want to use a splint for a brief period. An over-the-counter wrist support may provide adequate support and protection for a moderate injury. However, if you’re suffering from a severe injury and believe you need to completely immobilize your wrist, you should seek medical attention and advice.
Know What To Avoid
Immediately following a wrist injury, you should avoid anything that could increase blood flow and thus create more inflammation and pain. This includes avoiding hot water on the injury, such as getting into a hot tub, shower, or bath. You should also abstain from alcohol for the first 48 hours after your injury.
Certain foods can also worsen inflammation. Red meat, processed meats, refined grains, processed snack foods, sodas, sweetened beverages, and fried foods can all cause excess inflammation in the body. When you’re already battling inflammation from an injury, it may help to avoid these types of foods and focus on things that naturally reduce inflammation instead, such as berries, broccoli, avocados, and fatty fish.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s important to know when to see a doctor with suspected wrist hyperextension. If you experience severe pain or see significant swelling or a noticeable wrist deformity following an injury, you should seek medical attention immediately. You may have a broken wrist or a more severe injury than a sprain. You should also seek medical attention if the R.I.C.E. method doesn’t provide substantial relief within the first few days of your wrist injury or if the pain worsens with time rather than getting better.
Your doctor may perform an X-ray or MRI to get a better look at the injury and determine whether you’re suffering from a fracture or dislocation. After diagnosing the injury properly, your doctor can recommend if any further treatment is necessary, such as surgery or physical therapy.
Your hands and wrists are vitally important to your everyday activities. If you’re suffering from ongoing pain, you shouldn’t let it linger. Our team at The Hand and Wrist Institute specializes in diagnosing and treating a variety of wrist problems, including wrist hyperextension, wrist fractures, and more. Contact us today to make an appointment and address your wrist pain. We’ll help you get the relief you need.