Physical Therapy for Wrist Injuries

Wrist injuries can cause damage to ligaments, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited mobility of the wrist. Left untreated, problems with the wrist joint may occur and arthritis may develop within the joints. Whether the wrist bone is broken, or joints are damaged, any kind of injury to the wrist joint can alter how the joint works. After the initial injury has been treated and healing begins, physical therapy can be beneficial for helping patients to regain range of motion, strength, and function to the wrist.

Non-Surgical Rehabilitation

The patient may wear a splint or cast for three to six weeks, while the wrist heals. Initial physical therapy treatments may include ice, electrical stimulation and massage, to help control pain and swelling. As the healing begins, exercises may be used to increase movement and mobility. Physical therapy exercises focus on improving strength and regaining range of motion and mobility to the wrist and hand. Exercises may include the use of exercise bands or small weights that provide added resistance for the hand and wrist.

Rehabilitation After Wrist Surgery

In severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition bones that have been severely damaged from a fracture. After surgery, the hand and wrist will be bandaged, and a splint is used for support. Initial physical therapy treatment focuses on controlling the pain and swelling after surgery. As the injury heals, exercises are introduced to help strengthen and stabilize the muscles around the wrist joint. Additional exercises may be used to improve fine motor control and movement of the hand. The physical therapist also works with the patient to perform activities without straining the wrist joint. Physical or occupational therapy sessions may be required for two to three months after surgery.

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