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Common Hand and Wrist Injuries While Playing Sports




The movement of the human body is possible due to the joints, ligaments, tendons, and bones. Our hands allow us to do numerous tasks involving strength and skills. Injuries that occur during sports, training sessions, or exercises are sports injuries. Most injuries can occur during sports due to negligence, overtraining, lack of knowledge of sports and body techniques, etc. Experts believe that at least 25% of sports-related injuries involve the hand or wrist.


Introduction to Common Hand and Wrist Injuries While Playing Sports


There are more than 25 muscles and 27 bones in the hand and wrist, along with numerous blood vessels, nerves, and ligaments. Sports injuries involving hands and wrists are common ailments in athletes and trainers. Hand or wrist injuries can significantly impact physical and mental well-being if neglected. Knowledge of hand and wrist injuries can help doctors or physiotherapists to diagnose the problem and plan an effective treatment. Precaution and care are crucial during the injury period, not to stress or worsen the injury.


Types of Common Hand and Wrist Injuries While Playing Sports


The common hand and wrist injuries can be either

  • Acute (traumatic) injuries
  • Chronic (overuse) injuries


The severity of the injury depends on various factors such as the force of the fall, type of sports, injured area, etc. Sports requiring a high level of contact with other players, such as boxing, kabaddi, football, handball, wrestling, etc., result in acute hand and wrist injuries. These may include:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Joint dislocations
  • Inflammation
  • Ligament tears
  • Fracture injuries in the fingers, forearm, wrists, etc.

Hand and wrist injuries can worsen and turn into long-term problems without timely treatment.


Chronic injuries are caused due to repetitive motions in sports such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, cricket, golf, etc. Chronic hand and wrist injuries are less likely to result in long-term disability, unlike acute injuries. These include:

  • Tendonitis - tendon inflammation and tear
  • Tendon dislocation
  • Ligament dislocation and tear
  • Nerve injuries
  • Stress fractures


Chronic and acute injuries can negatively impact performance and hinder the possibility of potential sports scholarships in academics.


In case of persistent pain or discomfort in the hand and wrist, book an appointment with an orthopedic for proper consultation and treatment plan.


Some specific hand and wrist issues include:

  • Finger fractures
  • Hand fractures
  • Wrist dislocation
  • Wrist sprain
  • Scaphoid wrist fracture
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Distal radius fractures
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • De Quervain’s tendinitis


Risks factors of Common Hand and Wrist Injuries While Playing Sports


Sports activities involve numerous risks. It is crucial to recognize the risks and avoid unpleasant accidents and injuries to yourself and other teammates. Certain risks include:

  • Wearing jewelry while participating in sports or training sessions
  • Overuse of muscles during minor sprain or injury
  • Inability to master sport-specific skills
  • Negligence or refraining from wearing safety gear in sports such as cricket, football, boxing, etc.


Prevention of Common Hand and Wrist Injuries While Playing Sports


Sports injuries are preventable by learning sport-specific skills from an expert. It is crucial to understand the skills and the use of hand and wrist muscles in all kinds of sports. Here are a few tips to take care of your hand and wrist and prevent sports injuries:

  • Wear safety gear such as gloves, guards, and wrist braces
  • Warm-up before sports activities or training is essential to avoid muscle injuries and shock
  • Take breaks in between and stretch your hand and wrists
  • Maintain a good posture while training or engaging in sports
  • Avoid exercises if you have muscle pain or minor injury to prevent long-term disability.


Treatment for Common Hand and Wrist Injuries While Playing Sports


The treatment plans for hand and wrist injuries depend on the type of injury and its severity. Typical treatments usually include:


  • Medication

The doctor may prescribe you painkillers, anti-inflammatory ointment, pills, or steroid injections.


  • Physiotherapy

Along with medications, the doctor may recommend physiotherapy sessions for effective recovery from fractures and sprains.


  • Hand and wrist support

Braces, splints, casts, and taping ensure minimal movement of the injured part and faster recovery. Taping refers to taping the injured finger to the neighboring one for support. The doctor usually puts in a cast/plaster if you have a sprain or fracture.


  • Surgery

Surgical procedures are opted for when the other treatment methods are less effective. Under general anesthesia, the doctor will repair the bone dislocation, ligament, and tendon tear or place internal splints for support. You have to take precautions to avoid exerting pressure on the affected hand or wrist.


In case of persistent pain, swelling, or discomfort in the hand and wrist, consult an orthopedic to discuss an appropriate treatment plan.




Hand and wrist injuries are frequent amongst athletes. It is crucial to follow precautionary steps before engaging in sports to avoid acute and chronic injury. As an athlete, one should understand the sports technique and how to avoid potential injury to the hand and wrist. If you experience instant swelling, pain, and difficulty moving your wrist or hand, consult an expert doctor immediately to receive proper and timely treatment. The recovery period depends on the severity and the injured part.


Dr. Ashok Rajgopal
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