Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky
Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky
975 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Wrist Ligament Tear Treatments

Wrist ligament tears can significantly impact wrist function and mobility, leading to pain, instability, and reduced quality of life. Fortunately, several treatment options are available to address wrist ligament tears and promote optimal recovery. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various treatment modalities, including conservative management and surgical interventions, to help you make informed decisions about your wrist health.

Common Wrist Ligament Tears Treated

Wrist ligament tears encompass a spectrum of injuries, each with its unique characteristics and implications for wrist function and stability. Understanding the common types of wrist ligament tears can help individuals recognize potential injuries and seek appropriate treatment promptly. Some of the most frequent wrist ligament tears treated at HSSI:

  • Scapholunate Ligament Tear: The scapholunate ligament, located between the scaphoid and lunate bones, is susceptible to injury due to its central role in wrist stability. A tear in this ligament can lead to wrist instability, pain, limited range of motion, and progressive arthritis.
  • Lunotriquetral Ligament Tear: Tear in the lunotriquetral ligament, which connects the lunate and triquetral bones, can result in similar symptoms as scapholunate ligament tears, including wrist pain and instability.
  • Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Tear: The TFCC is a complex structure composed of ligaments and cartilage that stabilize the ulnar side of the wrist joint. Tears in the TFCC can cause pain, clicking sensations, and weakness in the wrist due to instability of the distal radioulnar joint.
  • Ulnar Carpal Ligament (UCL) Tear: The UCL supports the ulnar side of the wrist and is commonly injured in athletes or individuals engaged in gripping and twisting activities. UCL tears can result in pain, swelling, and diminished wrist strength.
  • Radiocarpal Ligament Tear: Tears in the radiocarpal ligaments, which connect the radius to the carpal bones, can lead to wrist instability and reduced joint function.

Recognizing the symptoms and signs associated with these common wrist ligament tears is essential for prompt diagnosis and treatment. If you suspect you may have experienced a wrist ligament tear, consult with a qualified wrist surgeon for evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations.

Wrist Ligament Tear Treatments

Conservative Management

Conservative management strategies are often the initial approach for treating mild to moderate wrist ligament tears. These may include:

  • Immobilization: Immobilizing the wrist with a splint or brace can help reduce stress on the injured ligament and promote healing. Immobilization may be recommended for a period of several weeks to allow the ligament to heal properly.
  • Occupational and Physical Therapy: Occupational and physical therapy exercises and modalities, such as range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and therapeutic ultrasound, can help improve wrist stability, flexibility, and strength. Your hand surgeon and a skilled therapist can design a customized rehabilitation program tailored to your specific needs and goals.
  • Activity Modification: Temporarily avoiding activities that exacerbate wrist pain or instability can help prevent further damage to the injured ligament. Your healthcare provider may recommend modifications to your daily activities or sports participation to facilitate healing.


  • Corticosteroid injections may be considered for individuals with persistent wrist pain and inflammation despite conservative measures. These injections deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly to the affected area, helping reduce pain and swelling. However, corticosteroid injections are typically used judiciously. 
  • Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications may be used when tolerated to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a regenerative treatment that utilizes the patient’s own blood components to promote tissue healing and regeneration. During a PRP injection, a sample of the patient’s blood is processed to isolate platelets, growth factors, and other bioactive substances, which are then injected into the injured area. PRP therapy has shown promising results in accelerating tissue healing and research is still being done to determine its usefulness in the wrist.

Surgical Intervention for Wrist Ligament Tears

In cases of severe or refractory wrist ligament tears, surgical intervention may be necessary to restore wrist stability and function. Surgical procedures for wrist ligament tears may include:

  • Arthroscopic Ligament Repair: Arthroscopic surgery involves using a small camera and specialized instruments to visualize and repair the torn ligament. This minimally invasive approach allows for precise treatment of the injured ligament while minimizing trauma to surrounding tissues.
  • Ligament Reconstruction: In cases where the ligament is severely damaged or irreparable, ligament reconstruction may be performed. The ligament is repaired whenever possible During this procedure, the damaged ligament may be replaced with a graft tissue, such as a tendon from the patient’s own body, a donor tissue, or a synthetic to restore stability to the wrist joint.
  • Joint Stabilization: In some cases, additional procedures may be necessary to stabilize the wrist joint and prevent further damage. This may include procedures such as wrist fusion or joint replacement, particularly in individuals with advanced arthritis or complex wrist injuries.

Rehabilitation and Recovery from Wrist Ligament Tears

Following surgical intervention or conservative management, rehabilitation plays a crucial role in promoting optimal recovery and restoring wrist function. A structured rehabilitation program, supervised by your hand surgeon and a skilled therapist, may include:

  • Range of Motion Exercises: Gradual mobilization of the wrist joint to improve flexibility and prevent stiffness.
  • Strength Training: Progressive strengthening exercises targeting the muscles surrounding the wrist joint to enhance stability and support.
  • Functional Training: Activities and exercises designed to simulate daily tasks and activities to improve functional independence and confidence in using the wrist. This may be directed towards 

Prevention Strategies

While not all wrist ligament tears can be prevented, certain strategies may help reduce the risk of injury. These may include:

  • Proper Ergonomics: Maintaining proper wrist posture and ergonomics during work and recreational activities to minimize stress on the wrist joint.
  • Gradual Progression: Avoiding sudden increases in activity intensity or duration to allow the wrist to adapt gradually to new demands.
  • Protective Gear: Using appropriate wrist guards or braces during sports or activities that carry a risk of wrist injury to provide additional support and protection.

Do you think you’ve suffered a wrist ligament tear?

If you suspect you may have experienced a wrist ligament tear, it’s essential to seek prompt evaluation and treatment from a skilled wrist surgeon. Our team at HSSI specializes in diagnosing and treating wrist injuries, offering comprehensive care tailored to your unique needs.

Take the first step towards recovery by contacting us at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced wrist surgeons. Alternatively, you can use our convenient online appointment scheduling form to book your consultation. Don’t let wrist pain or instability hold you back—let us help you regain confidence in your wrist health and functionality.