Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone that are caused by overuse and repeated use of force. These fractures usually occur in the lower leg and the bones of the foot. Among runners, the bones in their legs and feet carry most of the weight, thus long repetitious exercises such as jogging can cause stress fractures. In some cases, stress fractures can also occur in the wrists.
A stress fracture is an injury where the muscles are exhausted due to repeated physical stress. These tiny cracks in the bone are called stress fractures. Individuals who play tennis, gymnastics, basketball and diving face the highest risk of overusing their wrist, thus they can suffer from wrist stress fractures. There are eight tiny bones in the wrist and a hairline crack can happen in any of these bones.
A hairline crack found in the wrist usually occurs among women above the age of 40 years old or in menopausal women. Even women who play sports and athletes are also prone to stress fracture of the wrist due to eating disorders such as anorexia, osteoporosis and irregular menses.
Symptoms of a stress fracture
- Pain in the joint of the wrist when there is hairline fracture. In a severe stage, the pain is sharp and gradually reduces and becomes dull and achy. The pain becomes worse when moving the wrist joint or working on certain activities such as writing or holding an object.
- Bruising in the wrist area is the next common symptom. This occurs due to a leak in the blood vessels of the bone or other tissues. In most cases, the bruise appears bluish or greenish in color. After a few days, the color turns black and will remain for a few days and then steadily vanish.
- There is swelling of the joint of the wrist and palm that can be seen in hairline fractures of the wrist joint. This occurs due to the inflammatory reaction of the bone and the tissues.
- There is accumulation of fluids in the first two days of the injury.
- A tingling or loss of sensation on the affected area.
- A limited movement of the joint of the wrist.
Treatment and home remedies of stress fracture of the wrist
- Rest the affected wrist at least three weeks and avoid activities that cause stress fractures of the wrist.
- Apply an ice compress over the affected area since this helps in minimizing the swelling and pain.
- Apply a compression bandage, splint or a cast since these can help promote faster recovery from cracks of the hairline.
- Elevate the wrist in order to minimize swelling for the first two days.
- Drink warm milk that is mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric powder every day to promote faster healing.
- Eat foods that are rich in calcium during this period in order to strengthen the bones and accelerate the callous formation.