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Wrist Injuries in Rugby

by Katherine Henry ATC LAT

Rugby is a full collision sport where you tackle, grab, throw, catch, lift, ruck, maul and so on…

Many of the hand, wrist and elbow injuries need immediate medical intervention. Injuries such as fractures of the hand, wrist and forearm, elbow dislocations, etc. Some though, can be managed on your own.

So first off, here are some suggestions of when to seek immediate medical attention:

  • If you see a deformity.

  • If you have numbness, tingling or burning.

  • If you can’t move at all.

  • Or if you try to move, such as, try to straighten your finger from a bent position, and you just can’t do it.

Injury: Wrist sprains and strains

The Rundown: An injury when you stretch the ligaments and/or tendons in your wrist. You can sprain your wrist by landing awkwardly in a tackle, getting your wrist stuck in a maul or stiff arming someone. The weight room is a common place where people can suffer minor wrist injuries while catching clean or front squatting.

Symptoms: Pain in your wrist. You may have limited movement up (extension), down (flexion), rotation (pronation and supination).

My Clinical Experience: Wrists can be frustrating when they get injured and they can be easily re-aggravated. The key is to protect the injury while it heals and as you return to activity by splinting or taping during your activities.

What you can try: While playing rugby, you are not allowed to wear any brace or protective equipment so it will be important to tape using a stronger tape than regular white tape. Use leukotape or elastikon to tape your wrist when you’re playing. But when you’re not on the pitch think about wearing a wrist wrap in the weight room and a stiffer splint while you sleep. Like this one:

These can easily be found at your local pharmacy, sporting goods store or on amazon.

When to contact your athletic trainer:

Contact your athletic trainer if your wrist isn’t feeling better in a couple of days. You have sharp, focused pain, you hand or fingers go numb. Your athletic trainer can help you strengthen your wrist and the surrounding structures, help you tape your wrist for activities.

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