Do I need to address this?
August 3, 2012 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Worth getting an X-ray?

About two months ago, I tripped over a subway grate at the end of a run and landed on my left wrist. It hurt a LOT at the time, but I didn’t think it was sprained, and it certainly wasn’t broken. It stopped hurting after a few hours, so I let it go.

Two months later, I have full range of motion and full use of my wrist and left hand/arm, but when I’m doing yoga, I can’t do plank or side plank without my left wrist hurting a LOT from the pressure. I realize this is pretty stupid, but I’m wondering if I did something to it when I fell, and that if I fell on it again, or continue to use it in a way that strains the bone, that it might break?

Is this worth trying to get an X-ray to look at? Or can a bruised wrist really hurt for months and months?

(I have read this)
posted by roomthreeseventeen to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
What's your health insurance situation?
posted by no regrets, coyote at 12:42 PM on August 3, 2012

I am not a doctor.
Yes, it can hurt for about ever, really. Especially if you caused damage along the ranges of motion for the tendons and ligaments. Or it can be unrelated.

If it's point specific pain, or if you see or hear anything move or click or feel out of place, you should have it looked at.

Otherwise it's the old rest/ice/compression/elevation/naproxen or ibuprofen thing. Splint it and avoid using that range of motion for a couple weeks and it'll probably be ok.

I am not a doctor, but I was an EMT.
posted by TomMelee at 12:43 PM on August 3, 2012

If it was just a bruise, no, it won't hurt months later. Any evidence of a bruise is gone by then. It sounds like you probably did more than just bruise it. As TomMelee points out, there are ligaments and muscles in there and damage to those can be bothersome for a longer time period. It doesn't sound like it's the bone that's the problem, but if it's bothering you after this long, you should have it looked at. Let your primary care doctor decide if you need an x-ray after they examine you.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:46 PM on August 3, 2012

I did something similar with an ankle years ago, and waited about that long to have it looked at. All the X-ray did was confirm that yes, I had broken it. It had since healed, and there wasn't much to be done. That joint has since developed mild osteoarthritis which sounds really scary but has been pretty easy for me to manage without much day-to-day thought.

You'd probably want to see an orthopedist, and a sports-med person with a focus on hands/wrists if possible. Find out which practice treats the local high-school or college teams and have it looked at.
posted by jquinby at 12:48 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, we have pretty good insurance under my husband's plan. Co-pay wouldn't be awful.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:51 PM on August 3, 2012

If you have insurance and it's not too arduous to get a referral, you should see an orthopedist. (I know that primary care docs should be able to handle ortho stuff, but I have not found that to be the case.) Even if it's not broken, you might end up with a physical therapy prescription. (I'm a huge PT cheerleader. Really helped my recovery from a damaged knee ligament.)
posted by purpleclover at 12:53 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

See a hand specialist if you can. It's possible that you formed a ganglion cyst that is causing your current pain. Although cysts are generally considered idiopathic, I have always formed them after traumas to my hands.

A hand surgeon will find a cyst using palpation during an office visit.
posted by workerant at 1:11 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, and in case you're worried that this is too trivial (is plank pose really that important?) I offer an anecdote: Toward the end of my first round of PT, I told the therapist that the knee was so much better, that the only time it hurt was when I wore high heels. I meant it as sort of a joke, like, ha ha, who needs high heels?, but she took me completely seriously, and told me I should be able to wear high heels. She extended my prescription for three more sessions until I was pain-free.
posted by purpleclover at 1:19 PM on August 3, 2012

Since you have the insurance thing covered, I would recommend just going and seeing someone about it. My osteopath was great when I had a skiing fall that we were pretty sure wasn't a fracture, but just wanted to check. Most docs agree to the better safe than sorry on that (or if you are working with a specialist can just poke around and tell you what's up). Your doc will also probably know just how to write up the x-ray script to make sure it is covered by your insurance.
posted by Feantari at 2:16 PM on August 3, 2012

Def have it looked at, and don't be surprised if an x-ray shows nothing and you are sent for another scan. And I agree to try to see a hand orthopedist.

Similar to your injury, I hurt my knuckle, felt much better after a few days, and then would randomly have pain and swelling doing random things for the next 7 months. I had torn a tendon that was never going to heal and I had to get a pin to put everything back together. It really didn't hurt that much at each recurrence...but it feels so much better not to have random pain.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 3:11 PM on August 3, 2012

I rescind my answer that I probably shouldn't have even given without looking at your wrist, if insurance isn't an issue, have it looked at.
posted by TomMelee at 6:35 PM on August 3, 2012

It's 10 years since I did any orthopedics, but I wonder if you might have a scaphoid fracture. See your doctor!
posted by roofus at 7:10 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hand surgeon here but not yours. Definitely get it xrayed. An untreated scaphoid fracture can lead to a lifetime of wrist misery.
posted by karlos at 12:25 PM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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