Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-02-2005, 01:30 PM
Crowbar of Irony +3 Crowbar of Irony +3 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Tropics, not in US
Posts: 3,615
How long does it take for a sprained wrist to heal?

Hi all,

About 2 years ago, while during basic military training, I sprained my right wrist. Till now, there is still pain if I try doing anything with it, such as turning the doorknob, lifitng up heavy stuff and etc.

The specialist I am seeing insists that sprains take an awful long time to heal. But 2 years? Is that a bit tad too long? Beside being given a gel to rub over my wrist, I recieves no other form of treatment. Could something more be done?
Old 06-02-2005, 02:03 PM
irishgirl irishgirl is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Belfast, Ireland.
Posts: 6,380
A sprain is just the muscles and ligaments being pulled in directions they're not so keen to go in. If there was no fracture, tendon injury or compartment syndrome, I would say that it should have healed itself by now.

HOWEVER, if during the time it was injured you didn't move it around, and "babied" it for too long, the muscles might have stiffened up and will continue to cause you pain, simply because they're not accustomed to being used.

Alternatively, you could have overstrained the injured muscles while they were still healing, and never really given them a chance to settle down.

If the gel (which I assume contains an anti-inflammatory painkiller, like ibuprofen) isn't working, physiotherapy might help. Other than that, there isn't much that can be done.

This is all assuming that you've been checked out sufficiently to rule out more serious injury.
Old 06-02-2005, 03:51 PM
Xtapolapocetl Xtapolapocetl is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: 2BRM Stucco, Hrdwd flrs
Posts: 6
First of all, I'm not a doctor, but I've injured myself a lot in the past. You can use that as a gauge of my intelligence if you like...

I'm surprised the person in charge didn't immobilize the strain for at least several days. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory treatments are important, but it isn't going to heal unless you go real easy on it for a while. Sure it may get a little stiff, but once it's healed you can slowly work on increasing the flexibility (and I mean BABY STEPS here).

Like I said, I'm no doctor, but in my experience the same thing should work on an old injury that never quite healed, unless there's some really bad damage in there that you don't know about. Keep in mind it might take a lot longer to heal than it would have if this were right after the original accident.

And it's probably never going to be as healthy as it was before the original sprain. You'll probably always going to have to careful with it.

I suggest you go see a doctor, who will hopefully refer you to a physical therapist, and start inventing a story about how you hurt your wrist valiantly saving a whatever from a whatever and that's why you can't carry the heavy groceries in from the car.

One more thing: Recently I just recovered from a wrist injury that flared up every two to four weeks. (I stopped a closing door flat-handed -- a very heavy, very quickly closing door with a very heavy spring. Essentially I bent my hand back way too far. I don't know if that qualifies as a sprain or not -- I didn't see a doctor for it.) Immobilizing it for a few days after each re-injury helped temporarily, but what seemed to do the trick was strengthening the forearm muscles used to move the hand. If you weight train with free weights you'll strengthen them automatically, but if your wrist hurts in the slightest, DON'T DO IT. Wait until you can do it with no pain.

Maybe this will work for you. Maybe not.

Good luck!
Old 06-02-2005, 04:37 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,581
The cuboidal bones in the wrist can fracture and cause problems. Often the fractures are hard to see radiographically. Have you had any diagnostics? It may be 2nd opinion time.
Old 06-02-2005, 05:27 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
Right Hand of the Master
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago north suburb
Posts: 16,078
Folks, please remember the Registration Agreement:
Users should be particularly wary of medical, legal or other professional advice posted on the message board and recognize that it is no substitute for in-person consultation with a competent professional.
ExtraKun, your best bet is to find and ask another doctor, to get a second opinion. Note, of course, that a statement about the average time it takes for a sprain to heal depends on many, many variables, including the age of the patient, the amount of use/exercise it gets, whether physical therapy is involved, the patient's occupation (a boxer or pianist, for instance, might have a different healing time for a sprained wrist than a radio announcer.) There's lots of variables, and the only way to find out what's going on with your particular situation is to consult a doctor. Not to ask on the internet. [/statement of obvious]
Old 06-03-2005, 02:44 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,504
I fell about 2 years ago and whacked the side of my wrist on the edge of a stair. Wrist hurt for a few days then got mostly better, but it still aches around the general location whenever I overexert it. I can't bowl, for example, and lifting heavy things is problematic; overuse of the computer bothers me in ways it never did before.

My doctor suggested that there's a chance I might have done some damage to the nerve that runs through the wrist. Not precisely carpal tunnel syndrome, but something of that variety. She recommended that at some point I see a neurologist for a consult.

Anyway - after 2 years, a sprain should have long-since healed unless you did somehow do some permanent damage; perhaps the sprain was worse than they originally thought.

What sort of specialist are you seeing?
Old 06-03-2005, 07:11 PM
Crowbar of Irony +3 Crowbar of Irony +3 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Tropics, not in US
Posts: 3,615
He's an Orthopaedic specialist.

I understand that I shalln't take medical advice anywhere on the Internet at face value. Just want to check if my case is a common occurence, for a few people I have asked did insist that sprains take a while to heal. I, well, couldn't quite accept that.

What happens is, vocation-wise, I am a clerk, but the unit I am posted to is servely lacking in manpower. So when it comes to logisitic, many times I have to chip in and help. The officers know about the problem, but the few remaining men are rather unhappy about that. So just to be diplomatic, I have to help out. Nothing extraordinary strenous - chairs, tables and etc.
Old 06-03-2005, 08:40 PM
treis treis is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 9,219
2 years is an awful long time for a simple sprain to heal. If nothing else you should be at least getting some physical therapy for it or exercises to do. I would definately recommend a second opinion if you can get one.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:08 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017