The wrist is a complex joint that biomechanically transmits forces generated at the hand through to the forearm. The radial side of the wrist carries 80% of the axial load and the ulnar side the remaining 20% of the load.
The injuries are divided into 4 categories: overuse, nerve (and vascular), traumatic, and weight-bearing injuries:
- Overuse injuries are common in sports involving the hand and wrist, such as racquet sports, netball, basketball and volleyball.
- Nerve injuries are more commonly compressive neuropathies, and are seen with cyclists who may compress the ulnar nerve in Guyon’s canal. Vascular injuries are uncommon and usually result from a high velocity impact from balls.
- Traumatic injuries are the most common and are due to either a fall on to the wrist, a direct blow, or combination of a rotatory and torsional force.
- The weight-bearing injuries are more specific to gymnastics, and result from repetitive excessive compressive and rotational forces across the wrist.