wristMany of us would breathe a sigh of relief if we heard that our wrist was only sprained instead of broken, and would look forward to a less arduous and painful treatment process. So we might be shocked to discover that we would still need to wear a cast that will immobilize our forearm for weeks.

Casts are just for breaks, right? Not always. While most sprains are relatively minor and can be treated with home care and avoidance of risky activity, some sprains are severe enough that even slight movement of the affected ligaments can cause severe pain and impede proper healing.

First, let’s dispel the myth that severe sprains are in any way less serious than broken bones. Sprains damage the ligaments that hold your bones together and are as essential to your skeletal system as the bones themselves. While minor sprains can and do heal on their own, severe sprains can cause permanent changes in the function of the wrist if not treated with due care.

A cast is designed specifically to prevent you from moving your wrist during the healing process. This allows the damaged ligaments to heal and prevents you from bending your wrist in such a manner that would further stress them and slow the healing process. While several weeks without the ability to use your wrist might sound like a long time, imagine having to spend twice as long recuperating simply because you were a bit too enthusiastic when you opened the refrigerator.

Even once your wrist has healed sufficiently for the cast to be removed, you need to remember that the job of healing is not finished. You will need additional time for these wrist ligaments to return to normal strength. Many people use wrist guards when they exercise to improve wrist alignment and help prevent hyperextensions that cause sprains and muscle strains.

We can work with you to develop an exercise and home care routine for your wrist that will help you resume your full lifestyle—quickly and completely.

Download the November PTeDigest