Ligament Injuries/Instability

Ligaments are short, fibrous bands of tissue that connects the bones together at joints and promotes stability during movement. Ligament Injuries may occur at any level throughout the wrist and hand.


  • Blunt trauma, such as forceful lifting, a fall from a significant height or injury may cause severe damage to the ligaments that a dislocation of the joint is likely to occur.
  • Digital ligament injuries are mostly the result of certain sports injuries or falls that cause the finger to bent backward or sideways. The collateral ligaments, which provide stability to the finger joints along the sides, are generally injured.
  • Injuries caused by fractures on the joint surface.
  • Laceration located over a joint can also result in direct injury to the ligament.


  • Swelling and persistent aching pain
  • Reduced range-of-motion
  • Stiffness
  • Clicking and snapping of the wrist

Diagnosis and treatment

Radiographs and MRI studies are often required to diagnose specific ligament injuries. In the early stages of an injury, the condition can often be treated with splinting, applying ice, elevation, consuming anti-inflammatory medication and hand therapy.

However, if the symptoms of wrist ligament injury persist for a longer period of time and become chronic and disabling, surgical reconstruction would be recommended to address the problem. Postoperative care generally involves a period of casting or splinting followed by formal hand therapy for faster recovery of mobility and restoring hand function. If chronic ligament problems remain untreated for a prolonged period, then there is a higher possibility of developing post-traumatic degenerative arthritis.