Understanding wrist instability
Wrist instability refers to a condition where the wrist joint can no longer maintain its normal position and stability. It can occur due to ligament injuries, fractures, or other underlying issues, leading to excessive motion and discomfort.
Causes of wrist instability
Several factors can contribute to wrist instability:
Ligament injuries: Damage to the ligaments that support the wrist joint, often due to trauma or repetitive stress, can result in instability.
Fractures: Wrist fractures, especially those involving the scaphoid bone, can disrupt the joint's stability.
Arthritis: Degenerative joint conditions like osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis can weaken the wrist's supporting structures, leading to instability.
Connective tissue disorders: Conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome can affect the strength and stability of ligaments and joints.
Symptoms of wrist instability
Common signs and symptoms of wrist instability include:
Pain: Persistent pain, especially when moving the wrist or bearing weight.
Swelling: Swelling around the wrist joint.
Weakness: Reduced grip strength and difficulty performing daily activities.
Popping or clicking: Sensation of clicking or popping in the wrist during movement.
Instability: A feeling that the wrist is giving way or not properly supporting weight.
Diagnosis of wrist instability
To diagnose wrist instability, an Accredited Hand Therapist will typically:
Review medical history: Discuss your symptoms and previous wrist injuries or conditions.
Physical examination: Examine the wrist for pain, swelling, and signs of instability.
Imaging: X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound may be used to assess the wrist's structure and identify any underlying issues.
Specialised tests: In some cases, additional tests such as arthroscopy or stress tests may be performed to evaluate ligament function.