Medicine
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

How do I Treat a Dislocated Wrist?

Treating a dislocated wrist requires immediate medical attention to avoid long-term damage. First, immobilize the wrist and apply ice to reduce swelling. Do not attempt to realign it yourself, as this could worsen the injury. Seek professional care where a doctor can safely reposition the bones. Wondering what the recovery process involves? Let's explore the steps to regain full wrist function together.
Marlene Garcia
Marlene Garcia

Treatment for a dislocated wrist requires immediate first aid measures followed by various care options depending on whether or not surgery is needed. It is important to ensure the patient does not go into shock when an accident causes wrist pain. The wrist should be immobilized as soon as possible. Some dislocated wrists can be manipulated back into place, while others need surgery to align the bones properly. Medication is often prescribed to address pain or discomfort.

Manipulation of a dislocated wrist should be done as soon as possible, preferably within six hours. A doctor will attempt to get the bones back into place without surgery. The patient should be kept calm and ice applied to reduce swelling until medical care is available. Elevation of the injured area is also recommended. If the injured wrist cannot be corrected with manipulation, surgery will be required.

Pain relievers may help treat discomfort associated with a dislocated wrist.
Pain relievers may help treat discomfort associated with a dislocated wrist.

Once the wrist has been realigned, it should be soaked in ice water three or four times daily. After 24 hours have passed, heat may be applied if it reduces pain more effectively than ice. An elasticized bandage keeps the wrist in place in between ice or heat applications. Gentle massage can be added to reduce swelling, and light exercise of the surrounding muscles in the hand and arm may promote quicker recovery.

Rehabilitation might be necessary after the wrist has healed. It is important to keep the muscles and ligaments strong through movement. A physical therapist can help a patient regain full motion in the wrist joint.

Surgery may be required to treat a dislocated wrist.
Surgery may be required to treat a dislocated wrist.

Sports injuries are a common cause of dislocated wrists. The wrist bones can become misaligned from a fall onto an outstretched hand, especially if the full weight of the body lands on the hand. Football and rugby players risk this type of injury because they are tackled or fall while running, causing a greater impact on the wrist. A dislocated wrist is also seen in gymnastic enthusiasts, but not as often as in people who participate in contact sports.

Gymnasts may experience dislocated wrists.
Gymnasts may experience dislocated wrists.

Pain is usually the first symptom of a dislocated wrist. There may or may not be visible deformity of the bone. The hand could become numb and weak, and the pain will usually increase when the hand is touched. If numbness, swelling, vomiting, or signs of infection occur after treatment, a doctor should be consulted. Drugs used for pain or inflammation might also cause side effects.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

anon936787

I had a weird accident yesterday. I fell on my wrist and popped it out. But when I grabbed it, it popped back in. I had bad swelling and pain. and it feels numb. Should I still visit the doctor? I know it was a dislocation but it's back in. Does it still need medical attention?

gigges

My wrist was dislocated when I was playing football four weeks ago. After treatment, now I can use my hand normally. There is no swelling, but how long will it be until I can play football again?

ZipLine

I had a wrist realigned yesterday. I actually thought that I had broken my wrist but it turned out to be a dislocation. My orthopedic doctor realigned it right away. It wasn't too bad, there was a sharp pain when the bone went back into place but that's it. I felt considerably better right afterward. I have to wear a splint for a while though.

turquoise

@burcidi-- Is your wrist also swollen and tender? Can you see any physical deformity in your wrist? If so, it's probably dislocated. Don't move it and apply ice immediately. Keep your hand above the level of your heart to prevent further swelling. Finally, see a doctor right away so that it can be realigned and treated.

If you don't have swelling or deformity, it might just be a sprained wrist. The immediate treatment is same for that, apply ice and keep it immobilized.

Regardless of what it is, you need to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. I might be totally wrong and you could be as well, so see a medical professional.

burcidi

How do I know if I dislocated my wrist and what if it is dislocated, what is the first thing I should do?

I fell about an hour ago while playing basketball and landed on my wrist. It hurts a lot but I'm not sure if it's dislocated.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Pain relievers may help treat discomfort associated with a dislocated wrist.
      By: gordo25
      Pain relievers may help treat discomfort associated with a dislocated wrist.
    • Surgery may be required to treat a dislocated wrist.
      By: freepeoplea
      Surgery may be required to treat a dislocated wrist.
    • Gymnasts may experience dislocated wrists.
      By: roibu
      Gymnasts may experience dislocated wrists.
    • Soaking a wrist in ice water can help with pain.
      By: Dmytro Smaglov
      Soaking a wrist in ice water can help with pain.
    • Wrist pain may be a sign of a dislocated wrist.
      By: Gajus
      Wrist pain may be a sign of a dislocated wrist.
    • Treatment for a dislocated wrist includes a doctor working to get the bones back into alignment as soon as possible.
      By: laurent dambies
      Treatment for a dislocated wrist includes a doctor working to get the bones back into alignment as soon as possible.
    • Rugby players have a high risk of getting a dislocated wrist by falling or getting tackled.
      By: Alison Bowden
      Rugby players have a high risk of getting a dislocated wrist by falling or getting tackled.
    • Getting tackled during a football game might cause a dislocated wrist.
      By: John Johnson
      Getting tackled during a football game might cause a dislocated wrist.
    • Applying an ice pack on a dislocated wrist can ease pain.
      By: michelaubryphoto
      Applying an ice pack on a dislocated wrist can ease pain.