Hand & wrist dislocation, fracture and sprain

Person with hurt wrist or hand

​A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones come together. Dislocations occur when the ends of the joint are forced from their normal position, which temporarily immobilizes and deforms the joint. 

Fractures are a partial or complete break in your hand or wrist can occur at any spot in the bone, as opposed to dislocations that only happen in the joint. Fractures typically result from an injury or trauma but can also be a result of bone diseases like osteoporosis.

A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament in the hand or wrist.

Hand & wrist dislocation, fracture or sprain symptoms

Symptoms of dislocation or fracture include: 

  • Bruising 

  • Deformity 

  • Extreme and immediate pain 

  • Inability to use joint or limb normally 

  • Numbness 

  • Redness 

  • Swelling 

  • Weakness 

Hand & wrist dislocation, fracture or sprain diagnosis

At your appointment, your doctor will look at your health history and conduct an exam of your hand or wrist. He or she may order one of the following tests: 

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—a diagnostic test that provides detailed images of the patient’s organs, soft tissues and other body structures. Typically, MRIs are only used if surgery is being considered. 

  • X-ray—a diagnostic test that provides images of internal bones and tissue of the hand or wrist.

Whether you’ve experienced a serious injury, a recent fall or an overuse injury, our orthopedic specialist team will quickly evaluate and diagnose the source of your hand or wrist pain.

Hand & wrist dislocation, fracture or sprain treatment 

Treatment for hand or wrist dislocation, fracture or sprain varies depending on the severity of the injury. If the wrist or hand is dislocated, your doctor will put the joint back into place and immobilize it so it can heal. If the injury is a fracture, the bones will be reset and casted. 

The pain of a mild sprain can be reduced with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. In general, medical intervention for a sprain isn’t necessary; however, severe sprains often need to be evaluated and immobilized. 

Treatment for your dislocated or fractured wrist or hand includes: 

  • Anti-inflammatory medications—treatment for pain.

  • Cast—helps to keep the injury in place while it heals. 

  • Limiting activities—to rest the injured area.

  • Physical therapy—to stretch and strengthen the area around the dislocation or fracture. 

  • RICE—rest, ice, compression and elevation. 

  • Splint or sling—to keep the injured hand or wrist immobilized while it heals. 

  • Surgery—may be needed if the dislocation happens repeatedly, or a muscle, ligament or tendon is badly injured or torn, or to repair a serious wrist fracture. 

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we have the experience and skill to treat your hand or wrist sprain, dislocation or fracture.

Find a hand and wrist specialist near you.