Demystifying Wrist and Ligament Injuries

Ankle and knee injuries certainly top the list when it comes to the most common injuries in basketball and football players.  However, wrist injuries, such as the one plaguing the University of Kansas depth chart  should not be overlooked.

Frequently, wrist injuries such as fractures can be quickly diagnosed by an xray.  However, it is common for injuries not to be identified until an MRI of the wrist is obtained.  MRI imaging allows the orthopedic surgeon to identify injuries to the soft tissues as well as injuries to the bone that may not be apparent on the x-ray alone.

In the most recent publicized case, X-ray alone was not able to identify the injury of concern, and an MRI was needed.

I would argue that, in addition to a high quality x-ray reviewed by an orthopedic wrist specialist, a detailed examination is essential to pick up the necessity of higher resolution imaging such as an MRI.  It is the combination of X-ray imaging and high quality examination that provides for the best screen for the athlete with a wrist injury.

The anatomy of the wrist is complex, and its ligament names are not as famous as that of the “anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow (UCL).  The most frequently injured ligament requiring surgical management is called the scapholunate ligament.  An orthopedic wrist specialist is best suited to evaluate for this injury clinically, and provide appropriate management.  Treatment of these injuries could include casting, splinting, hand therapy or surgery.

Beware of self-diagnosing a wrist injury as a “sprain”. Even wrist fractures can behave like a “sprain”. Best to be safe and not sorry and get a high quality x-ray and thorough wrist evaluation by an orthopedic wrist specialist.

Dr. Kenneth P. Unruh

Supported By Contact Form 7 Errors Support Desk

At KCOI the health of our patients and staff is paramount.

Designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, you will be asked to follow these guidelines when visiting our hospitals and clinics:

Sanitize Hands
Mask Requirement
Symptom Check
11/15/22: PLEASE NOTE THAT MASKS ARE STILL REQUIRED FOR ALL STAFF, PATIENTS & VISITORS IN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES. Please exchange any cloth masks, gaiters, bandanas, masks with valves or vents, face shields or sheer/mesh masks with a hospital grade mask.  These are available at each entrance.  Thank you for your compliance. 
KCOI Hospital and Physical/Occupational Therapy Visitor Policy:

Physician Clinics and Hospital Outpatient Departments and Physical/Occupational Therapy Locations – One person (and a healthcare associate if indicated) may accompany the patient to the clinic.

Hospital Surgery Patients – One person may accompany the patient to the Pre-Operative area on admission and until they are taken back to the Surgery suite. The family or companion will then be escorted to the surgery waiting area.

  • Outpatient Surgery Patients – The family or companion will be notified to return to Post-Operative area to receive outpatient discharge instructions just prior to patient discharge.
  • Inpatient Surgery Patients – The family or companion will be notified when they may visit with Patient in the Inpatient Unit after recovery. Visitors to the Inpatient Unit are not restricted unless medically indicated.

Hospital Surgery Waiting Room – The hospital waiting room on the second floor has been reopened and due to space we ask that one visitor per patient may remain in the waiting room while the patient is in ISS, surgery or recovery.

Exceptions may be made for legal or special need such as:  Accompanying a minor (one parent/guardian), Assisting patients with cognitive or communication needs, Wheelchair assistance, Work comp Nurses.
 

Please note the above policies are subject to change pending public health recommendations.