What is a Scapholunate Tear?
Monday, 21 August 2017
Athletes and active people tend to be at a higher risk of tears, fractures and other injuries in their body, and even in an area as small as the wrist there are a multitude of possible injuries. Since the wrist is full of so many tiny bones and ligaments, the possibilities for injury are almost endless. Here at WristSupports.co.uk, we're committed to educating our customers about their wrists, and today we'll cover a common injury among athletes: the Scapholunate Tear.
What is a Scapholunate Tear?
The scapholunate (SL) is an important ligament that connects two of the small carpal bones of the wrist together: the scaphoid and the lunate. These tiny bones, located near the centre of the wrist structure, are responsible for making sure the rest of the bones move together in unison. When the scapholunate is functioning properly, the wrist moves smoothly, but, when it is torn, wrist function is heavily affected. Without a healthy scapholunate, the bones can separate in different directions, leading to pain and an eventual loss of grip strength, which can drastically affect an athlete's performance.
What are the Symptoms of a Scapholunate Tear?
For those suffering from a Scapholunate Tear, the symptoms will be fairly obvious and unavoidable. Athletes will experience a distinct lack of performance due to their decreased grip strength and wrist movement, making normal aerobic function painful, and, in many cases, impossible. Some of the most common symptoms of a Scapholunate Tear can include:
Athlete being examined for a Scapholunate Tear
What Causes a Scapholunate Tear?
Scapholunate Tears are most common in athletes, as they are usually caused by a sudden impact on the scapholunate, as can happen during a fall. This usually occurs on an outstretched hand, where the thumb is fully extended from the hand and is bent backwards to an unnatural degree. Due to the complex nature of the wrist, this injury is often accompanied by other injuries, such as a scaphoid fracture or a lunate dislocation. There are four degrees of Scapholunate Tear that may be diagnosed:
Treatment of a Scapholunate Tear
While Static and SLAC injuries to the scapholunate will often require surgery, less severe varieties can be treated with immobilisation and anti-inflammatory painkillers. Your physician may have to conduct an x-ray on the area for a proper diagnosis.
For injuries that are less severe, a brace should be worn for 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the speed of recovery. Activities that cause pain, such as gripping objects tightly or pushing, should be minimised or cut out entirely. Once recovery has progressed, the immobilising splint can be replaced by a removable brace, protecting the area while allowing movement to slowly commence once again.
Splints and Braces for a Scapholunate Tear
Here at WristSupports.co.uk, we stock a wide variety of splints and braces for Scapholunate Tears. We have splints designed to completely immobilise the area, suitable for the first stages of treatment, as well as less restrictive braces to allow the athlete to begin moving the area and slowly return to activity. To check out our entire range of splints and braces for Scapholunate Tears, click the yellow button below.