While a sprain is technically a lesser injury in comparison to a proper break, it can still be incredibly painful. It’s also an injury that is fairly common amongst victims of car accidents, as all it really takes is a wrong movement or twist at the right angle. As we instinctively reach out when we are about to suffer a hit or get knocked off balance, it makes it all the easier to subject your wrist to a nasty sprain.
If you learned this the hard way, and especially if this is the first sprain you’ve experienced, you may have some questions on what to expect — and what to avoid. While your healthcare provider should be your primary source of medical advice, there are still some tips around that may quell some of your fears.
Dangerous symptoms that could indicate your sprain is getting worse
Your sprained wrist should be getting better over time, not worse. The worsening of your symptoms, whatever they may be, should be an automatic call for concern as it indicates a possible complication in your recovery. It may be tempting to try and ignore anything new or brush off a sudden increase in pain, especially if you have financial concerns about further treatment, but this can only make things worse for you in the long run. Complications left unchecked do not go away by themselves. This means more cost to you and further health issues — such as arthritis and chronic pain — down the line.
In general, wrist sprains can take anywhere from two to ten weeks to heal, depending on the severity of the sprain and the quality of care given to it. If you are within that time period and worry about your progress, there are some specific signs to look for. These signs should warrant immediate medical attention:
- New symptoms suddenly appearing
- Any symptoms that either won’t improve or seem to get worse
- Fever of 100 degrees or higher
- Numbness, severe cold, or discoloration in your hand or fingers
- If you’ve had surgery, any redness, bleeding, drainage, or swelling at the site of the incision
How can I avoid making my wrist sprain worse?
As long as you take proper care of your injury and follow all instructions given by your healthcare provider, complications in sprains are relatively rare. Going to all follow-up appointments is another important way to ensure the healing process runs as smoothly as possible, so that your doctors may catch any problematic symptoms you might have missed since your last appointment.
Your doctor will probably give you a list of care instructions, and can certainly answer all your questions and provide all the advice necessary. But in the meantime, you should know what not to do with your sprain.
- Do not try to rush recovery. It may be frustrating to deal with that cast on your wrist and you may feel tempted to try and brush off the pain, but the fact of the matter is that all you’ll be doing is aggravating it further. Your joint needs to rest to recover, and that is simply going to take some time. If it doesn’t get that time, or if too much pressure is put on it, you face not only lengthening your recovery time but also making the sprain worse.
- Avoid overmedicating. You may also be tempted to take more painkillers than required, especially if your wrist sprain is on the severe side. While you may succeed at temporarily dulling your pain, overmedicating also increases the risk of further side effects and even addiction. Not only that, but less pain isn’t always best — it may be your only indicator of an underlying problem. Dulling that can mask a complication.
- Take proper precautions (as instructed by your healthcare provider) once your sprain is healed. The cause of your original sprain isn’t always the same cause of continuing damage. For example, if you sustained the injury in a car accident, you may be at risk for re-injuring the joint at your job, or while doing chores around the house, or in myriad unrelated ways. Make sure to follow your doctor’s directions.
Recovering from any severe injury is no easy task, and is seldom cheap to boot. Not only do you have to worry about medical bills and physical therapies, you may also have to worry about time missed from work. If another driver, an unsafe walkway, a defective product, or the negligent actions of another person caused you harm, a skilled Alabama personal injury attorney can help take some of that worry and hardship away. Having a professional to deal with the insurance companies and legal complications means less work for you during this difficult period of your life.
With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Florence, Gadsden, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa, the Alabama car accident attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm are experienced and tenacious in getting you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form today to learn all the ways we are proud to help.