Wrist Dislocation; Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

The wrist joint connects the two bones of the forearm (ulnar and radius) to the smaller bones of the hand. There are eight carpal bones in the hand which are held together and connected to the other bones by ligaments. The eight carpal bones that form the wrist joint are named as the Capitate, Trapezoid, Hamate, Pisiform, Trapezium, Lunate, Scaphoid and Triquetrum. Displacement of any of these bones may result in Wrist Dislocation. The condition may also be accompanied by ligament and nerve damage.


  • Fall on an outstretched hand
  • Sports injuries
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Physical combat
  • Direct hit on the wrist with a ball while playing or any other object may cause dislocations and fractures
  • Past injuries or hand fractures make the wrist prone to dislocations
  • Workplace accidents


  • Severe pain
  • Visibly deformed wrist joint
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • The joint may feel tender when touched
  • In case of nerve damage, a tingling sensation in the thumb or the fingers may occur
  • Bruising
  • Range of motion may be affected


  • Detailed observation of the injured hand by an orthopedic doctor
  • Palpation may be used to check for exact point of dislocations and swelling
  • The mode and time of injury may be taken into consideration besides the symptoms, past medical records and injuries, if any
  • X-ray imaging may be required to assess the damage to the bone structure
  • MRI scan may be required in some cases for a better view and if damage to nerve or ligaments is suspected
  • Neurovascular examination of the joint may be done


  • Application of ice packs may help to reduce swelling
  • Pain killers may be prescribed
  • Use of a soft bandage for compression and support may be helpful
  • Splinting the wrist and fingers
  • The injured hand should be rested on an elevated surface
  • Simple bracing and cast may be used to reduce the dislocated bones and restore functionality of the joint in case of minor injuries
  • Surgical reduction (putting the displaced bone back in place) may be carried out and the process may involve use of pins, wires and screws to hold the bone in place
  • The hand may be secured using a cast for a few weeks
  • The surgical procedure may be followed by a physical therapy plan to promote strength, stability and restore range of motion
  • Some changes at the work place may be suggested by an occupational therapist for recovery and prevention of future damage to the joint

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