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Lt Col Jerman
As with other orthopedic injuries, a severe wrist injury requires immediate evaluation and treatment. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about these treatments?

Dr. Patel
I sure can, Dr. Jerman. For minor injuries, the suggested treatment follows the acronym P.R.I.C.E., which stands for protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If an injury affects the normal function of your wrist, or does not look normal after 24 to 48 hours, you should contact your provider. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sprain or strain and a fracture, so a provider’s evaluation is necessary to determine the appropriate treatment.

After an examination by a provider, you may be given a splint or a cast, depending on the severity of the injury. In many cases, providers may choose to use a splint first, until the swelling has decreased. After the swelling has decreased, a cast may be required, especially if you’ve suffered a fracture. In severe cases, surgery may be required to realign the bones of the wrist.

For repetitive motion injuries, your provider may suggest a brace for your wrist, and in some cases, surgery may be required.

Regardless of what treatment you receive immediately after a trauma or for a repetitive motion injury, physical therapy or occupational therapy often plays an important role in recovery.