FanPost

Wrist injuries (we've earned this)


Instead of writing about any of the good suggestions I got, I'm going to post on something that actually worries me this time. As of this writing we've got two starters (Boog and Dero) and one guy who was slated to be a starter (Mather) all with some degree of wrist injury. I'll try to avoid the cliches (I think we all have heard a wrist injury saps a player's power for a pretty long time).

The wrist is made up of the distal ends of the bones of the forearm and eight carpal bones. It's encased in a series of ligaments that form a layer of connective tissue wrapping around the wrist, along with a series of ligaments that connect the carpal bones to one another. The ligaments really do most of the work, and this allows for a huge range of motion.

Wrist injuries come in a few main types. Bone fractures are breaks in the bones that make up the wrist. Sprains are injuries to the ligamentous sheath of the wrist (usually an incomplete or complete tear). Strains are injuries to the muscles, however since the primary muscles are further up the forearm, there aren't really any common wrist strains.

A broken wrist usually means one of a few specific bones. The most common fracture is to the distal forearm.

45_image1_medium

via www.orthosupersite.com

Depending on the exact nature of the fracture, the distal forearm fracture is actually the best wrist break to have. This is because it's actually an arm bone that is broken, and it often heals just fine and in a relatively short amount of time with a caste. More severe forearm fractures require some form of fixation either a plate and screws attached directly to the bone itself or an external fixator. Evan Longoria had a similar fracture (pictured above is a Colles radius fracture, his was a fracture of the tip of the ulna, even less serious) late last season and he was back in time for the playoffs. Yadier Molina probably had a similar injury in 2007 when his wrist was broken by a foul ball.

More significant problems arise when you break bones in the jumbled bunch (the carpals) above the forearm. These bones are tightly connected to one another, and a break rarely occurs without some amount of displacement. Pain during movement is what limits players' power and it can last for a long time after the original break.

Xray_medium

via www.ucgc.org  

(The first metacarpal is the base of the thumb, the tip of the ulna is that bump on the outside of your wrist)

This is is exactly what happened to Joe Mather, who broke the hamate bone of his wrist in 2008 and had surgery to remove it (probably the whole bone). Apparently this surgery didn't do the trick as he had a second less specific wrist surgery to end his 2009 season. The removal of a broken wrist bone is necessary in some cases to avoid complications resulting from the lack of blood supply to the carpal bones. Even if this isn't the case, the bones usually take longer than normal to heal because of this lack. Mather's wrist is scary because of the lingering nature of his problems. For all we know he could have nerve damage or necrosis.

Wrist sprains occur in any of the four main ligaments that form the sheath of the wrist (one is on top, one bottom, and one on either side), or in one of a number of smaller ligaments that stabilize the joint. They are just like other sprains and are treated with wraps and time.

As an aside, Brendan Ryan hand a cortisone injection in his wrist. Cortisone is a corticosteroid that suppresses the immune system and is used to combat inflammation (a painful immune response). I really can't find any information on Ryan's reputed history of wrist problems, but cortisone doesn't exactly cure anything, so depending on if this is arthritic or ligamentous, it could easily crop up again.

Mark DeRosa strained a tendon in his wrist (tendons connect muscle to bone, ligaments connect bones to other bones), and has not played in just under a week. This injury is probably of a lingering nature as even the day after the trade (June 28) he had his left wrist heavily taped.

Mark_derosa_on_june_28_2c_2009__281_29_medium

via upload.wikimedia.org

In any case it's probably nothing too scary and should be fine in a few days.


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