Jock Doc

Wrist injury from fall may not show up on X-rays; MRI may be needed

Michele Benz is a veteran athletic trainer. She wraps a football player’s wrist before practice.
Michele Benz is a veteran athletic trainer. She wraps a football player’s wrist before practice. Miami Herald File Photo

Q. Three weeks ago I fell on my right wrist. I felt a pop and it swelled and hurt. I went to the emergency room where they took X-rays and I was told nothing was broken. I wore a splint for a couple days. My wrist felt better and I was entered in a slot tournament. Just pushing the buttons was so painful I had to drop out. My wrist still hurts when I bend or rotate it. What should I do?

A. When you fell on your wrist, you could have injured a bone, cartilage or a ligament. Since X-rays only reveal abnormalities of the bone and they were normal, it is likely that you have an injury to the soft tissues. I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon or hand specialist ASAP. The doctor will examine your wrist and if the diagnosis is not certain, an MRI scan may be necessary to confirm the injury. Ligament or cartilage injuries may require bracing or surgery. A bone contusion or mild sprain may require rest or physical therapy to get better.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.

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