Broken wrist?! no. Whew! Just a severe sprain...now what?
A couple weeks ago my son fell from the basketball hoop and landed on his wrist. Ugh.
Of course being a 16 year old macho man, he insisted that he was fine. Double Ugh!
So, I took at look at his wrist and it was already starting to swell pretty good and although he denied pain, he was having some trouble moving it and said it "felt tight."
Off we go to get some x-rays. I called in a few favors from friends and was able to rush over and get some films taken. Turns out he was lucky- no fracture. However, I knew it was going to be a bad sprain. We started him on Arnica and Ice, wrapped it in an Ace bandage and got him ready for a long night.
What happens during a "sprain?"
A sprain refers to tearing of the tissues that make our ligaments. Ligaments are pretty robust tissue that hold bones together.... so pretty important.
A "STRAIN" refers to tearing of muscle fibers.
So you can have a muscle STRAIN without necessarily having a ligament SPRAIN but a ligament sprain always involves muscle strain. Got it?
Why is this the case?
Because when you have an injury, especially a fall like the one my son had, your body is put in a position of significant force and instability. Your body will try to correct for that instability and deal with the force by using your muscles first. When the force is too much, it tears muscle fibers and then transfers that force to the ligaments. Then it's the ligaments job to try and deal with that force. And again, if the force is too much, then ligaments tear.
What to do with a sprain/strain injury
The care program, in general, is quite simple. Remember RICE.
C- Compression (like a wrap or brace- to minimize swelling)
E-Elevation (try to lift above your heart to allow better drainage)
Recovery from this sort of injury is typically 6 weeks.
We don't have 6 weeks!
Of course my son had a baseball game the following weekend. Triple Ugh!
He is a pitcher and luckily it was his non-pitching hand. But still, you need that hand to properly pitch AND you have the catch the ball. So we had 2.5 days to see what we could do.
First of all, let me say that I am NOT a supporter of putting athletes back into the game BEFORE they are ready or stable. If we were not able to get him stable and functional, I would not have allowed him to pitch.
First day following initial injury
He had a rough night and little sleep due to the pain and swelling that is normal following this sort of injury.
I am rubbing Arnica gel to the area.
(Notice swelling is severe enough so you cannot see any of his wrist bones).
Followed by 10 minutes of ice in each region of swelling. Gentle range of motion exercises during the ice protocol.
(There is a pronounced supplement protocol that I will include at the end.)
My goal is to move the fluid out of the area as quickly as possible. I also want to move the area (very gently) as quickly as possible to maximize healing and tissue repair.
Day 3- evidence of muscle tearing shows up as bruising
Here is quick video of him pitching. This is the same day. Doesn't look like he is injured at all, right?
He was able to pitch with NO PAIN.
Same protocol before and after the game.
At game time, we wrapped his wrist in athletic and kinesiotape to maximize stability and function.
Is there any more we could do to accelerate healing?
We wanted to test red light therapy to see what sort of difference it would make.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Basically, it is a light in the infrared spectrum (not laser) that is supposed to stimulate faster healing and penetration of heat to improve blood flow. If you are interested, you can do some follow up research but here is the brand we chose.
Here is the Amazon link if you are interested:
At this point, our rehab program is pretty intense:
5 treatments per day. Alternating between Arnica, movement, ice AND Red light therapy, gentle foam ball squeezing exercises and range of motion.
Walking and/or running daily
Supplement regimen twice a day
Improvised exercise program
Day 5- There is a significant reduction in swelling, bruising, range of motion and strength!
Remember that this type of injury, at this initial severity, takes an average of 6 weeks MINIMUM. This was day 5!
10 days later
His baseball season has officially started and he was again able to pitch his season opener with no pain. He is also able to catch balls in the outfield now.
You can see his blue tape and wrap on his left wrist on this video.
The only thing we are still working on is hitting, which may take some time. The impact of ball on bat is pretty high and I am not ready to clear him for that. Will keep you all posted.
If you have questions about how you can improve your soft tissue injury rehab, feel free to reach out.
Supplement protocol: (Of course, all Standard Process stuff ;-))
Ligaplex I- 6/day (repair ligament tissue; acute injury)
RNA- 4/day (repair tissue)
Cardioplus-6/day (repair and support muscle tissue)
Protefood- 1/day (complete protein supplement)
Tuna Omega 3- 6/day (reduce inflammation and support cellular repair)
Tumeric Forte- 6/day (reduce inflammation)
Chlorophyll Complex- 4/day (reduce pain and reduce inflammation)
Bio-dent- 6/day (support proper bone health; used for tissue repair)
Calcium lactate- 4/day (proper muscle contraction and healing)
Vitamin D- 1/day (for obvious reasons)
Cataplex B Core- 2/day (support proper energy production)
Cyruta Plus- 6/day (support vascular health and repair)
Drenamin- 6/day (support stress from injury)