Wrist Ligament Tear

Wrist Ligament Tear

The wrist facilitates all the complex mechanics of the hands necessary for daily life. In order to do so, the wrist must be flexible which makes injuries such as wrist ligament tears common. When a tear occurs to one or more ligaments in the wrist it can be excruciatingly painful and can negatively impact the ability to carry out daily activities. Fortunately, there are effective treatments to help with recovery. 


Ligaments are the soft tissue that connects bones in the joints, allowing for the required combination of stability and flexibility. Although ligaments are designed to be very strong and withstand a high degree of wear and tear, they are still prone to injury if they undergo too much stress. 

In more severe cases, ligaments can become torn if there is too much force placed on the wrist or if a minor sprain does not receive timely care. A sprain occurs when the wrists are stretched too far out of their normal range of motion. Frequent cases of wrist ligament tears include:

  • Falling directly onto the hand when it is outstretched
  • A forceful push or pull on the wrist
  • Sports-related injury
  • Repetitive motion sprains that are allowed to worsen

Conservative Treatment

If the case is not severe, then wrist ligament tear is treated without surgery. Smaller tears heal on their own with time so the primary goal of treatment is to limit wrist motion and manage symptoms. Common treatments include:

  • Rest
  • Changes to daily activities to limit wrist motion
  • Over the counter medication
  • Splinting or a brace to stabilize the wrist
    Cold compression

In more severe cases, physical therapy may be needed to mobilize soft tissue and develop better wrist biomechanics. 


In most cases, symptoms of a wrist ligament tear are prominent but in others, it may be less easily recognizable. In order to reduce the risk of the injury worsening it is important to seek professional help. Some symptoms of a wrist ligament tear include: 

  • Localized pain in the wrist
  • Limited range of motion
  • Visible swelling 
  • Tenderness

If any of these symptoms are persistent, especially after an injury, seek a qualified physician for diagnosis. 

How Wrist Ligament Tear is Diagnosed

Diagnosing wrist injuries consist of the following:

  • Discussion of symptoms and activities that may have led to injury
  • Review of medical history and any previous injuries
  • Hand-on examination
  • Diagnostic testing (x-ray or MRI)

Once diagnosed with wrist ligament tear the initial step is to attempt conservative forms of treatment. 

When to Consider Surgery

There are a variety of surgical procedures that may be necessary for the most severe tears or for tears that don’t heal properly. Wrist ligament tear surgery can involve a surgeon carefully reattaching the ligament to the bone or in other cases grafting the muscle tendon to serve as a replacement. 

Wrist ligament tear surgery is more often than not performed in an outpatient surgery center as a result of advancements in minimally invasive surgery techniques and microsurgical technology. The recovery period normally takes a few weeks for the ligament to heal followed by a rehabilitation period where the patient will undergo physical therapy to carefully strengthen and mobilize the wrist. 

Reach Out to the Experts at BEST Health System

If you’re dealing with wrist pain and mobility problems related to wrist injury such as ligament tear, it is important to take a proactive approach to treatment. At our state-of-the-art centers, BEST Health System helps patients of all ages and activity levels overcome pain and get back to a better quality of life. To learn more, contact our caring and dedicated team today.  

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or recieved a diagnosis and need treatment, BEST can help. Take the first step towards relief today.

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