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Laura Robson admits she will have to start her career all over again after she recovers from major wrist surgery. Robson said she ‘felt like a child again’ in the aftermath of her operation, struggling to dress herself and cut her own food. Itching to return to action, Robson said she has been reduced to tears, at times frustrated with rehabilitation while her peers train and compete.

Sky Sports, 20 June 2014

The wrist is frequently injured during sport.1 Distal radial fractures are common, as are scaphoid fractures and tendon problems. Carpal instabilities are less frequent but often career threatening.

Men are more likely to sustain a hand or wrist injury2 and children/adolescents are more likely to have a wrist injury compared with adults.3 Injuries to the wrist range from acute traumatic fractures, such as occur during football, hockey and snowboarding, to overuse conditions, which occur more commonly in racquet sports, golf and gymnastics. If wrist injuries are not treated appropriately at the time of injury, they can lead to future impairments that may affect not only sporting endeavours, but also activities of daily living.4

In this chapter, we will assess wrist injuries from an anatomical viewpoint, based on the site of pain. They are:

  • radial-sided wrist pain, both acute and chronic

  • central wrist pain, including volar and dorsal

  • ulnar-sided wrist pain.

The differential diagnoses of wrist pain are listed in Table 26.1.

Table 26.1

Causes of wrist pain divided into regions


The wrist joint has multiple axes of movement: flexion/extension and radial/ulnar deviation occur at ...

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