The wrist is made up of eight small bones (carpals) that support a narrow passage called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel, supported by a ligament, carries through it the tendons that control the motions of the hand and fingers as well as the nerve that causes such great pain in the condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The wrist primarily is designed to provide range of motion and versatility, but is built in a way to provide stability as well.
Sprains can range from mild to severe, and are graded according to the amount of damage to the ligament. A sprain by definition is damage only to the ligaments when they are stretched beyond normal range, and not to the bone. In some cases bone may be torn away resulting in what is called an avulsion sprain. Grade I: ligaments are stretched but not torn, and mild to moderate pain exists Grade II: partial tears of the ligaments exist and range of motion is decreased; pain is generally moderate and discoloration is present Grade III: complete tears of the ligaments exist that require immediate medical intervention; pain is generally severe and discoloration is certainly present Wrist sprains or instability can be caused by many factors. Overuse activities such as typing, cutting hair, or racquet sports can cause inflammation of the carpal tunnel and the resultant pain. Trauma such as falling on an outstretched hand can tear or even rupture ligaments that hold everything together.
The blunt force during this type of trauma can also cause fractures and bruising that make it very difficult to move the wrist. Other modes of injury include being pushed into something, extreme twisting of the wrist, or mis-hitting something with only a portion of the fist. Contact sports, recreational downhill activities, and occupations at heights create situations common to wrist sprains. Pain ranges from mild to severe based on the grade of sprain and the damage done to the ligaments and bones. The pain is recreated with almost any movement of the wrist, especially extension. Swelling, discoloration, and radiating pain into the arm and hand are common symptoms. Often times the wrist will be warm to the touch as well.
KT Tape is appropriate for Grade I and II sprains, and Grade III sprains after seeking medical attention. KT Tape provides stability through proprioceptive feedback and mechanical support. Additionally, KT Tape is very comfortable and allows for slight healthy range of motion in order to speed the healing process. Other treatments include rest, ice, NSAIDs, and in very severe cases surgery. It is very important to get an accurate diagnosis is moderate to severe cases in order to avoid complications in the future.