What are the chances that two NFL players would have surgery for the same injury? Pretty good if it’s a dislocated wrist. That’s exactly what happened with Dre Bly of the Detroit Lions and Derrick Gibson of the Oakland Raiders. Both had surgery this week for dislocated wrists. Who would have thought you could dislocate your wrist?
Actually, it’s a pretty common injury for defenders in the NFL. Look at the bones (check out the picture on the left. Click for a larger look.) in your wrist, they look pretty sturdy, right? They are, but they are also flexible. This wrist flexibility is what allows the dislocations. The purpose of your wrist is to allow movement of your hand and fingers. Without a wrist you’d be unable to turn your hand or move your fingers. When you dislocate your wrist you’re actually knocking on the wrist bones out of position.
How do you dislocate your wrist? There are two primary methods. The first involves repetitious activities, and leads to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In some cases the over use is so great that the wrist bones slip. The second, and most popular, is trauma. It makes sense that defenders would experience this, as they are trying to stop oncoming forces with resistance. Sometimes that resistance is too great and the wrist dislocation occurs. Most normal people dislocate their wrists when they attempt to try to brace for a fall. The force of the body landing on the palm forces the wrist issue.
What are the symptoms of a dislocated wrist?
- Extreme pain at the time of the injury that continues
- Loss of wrist and hand mobility
- The wrist bones may actually be contorted or otherwise deformed upon inspection.
- Tenderness around the wrist and hand area.
- Swelling is usually immediate
- When the hand is used numbness is experienced.
How do you treat a dislocated wrist? If the injury isn’t that severe the wrist bones may align themselves properly with time to heal. You should also incorporate rest, ice, compression and elevation to increase the chances of healing.
In extreme cases surgery is called for. The surgeon opens the hand and wrist area to align the bones properly. If there is major damage other devices such as surgical screws may be used.
How you recover from a dislocated wrist? Physical therapy is usually called for, including exercises designed to build up the muscles in the wrist and hand.