The difference between a good and an excellent outcome following wrist injury comes down more than rest & repair.
Wrist function involves a complex interplay between wrist ligaments & stabilising muscles. And we increasingly understand that proprioceptive ability plays an important role in hand control and injury prevention.
Proprioception is the sense of joint position in space.
For example; knowing where your is hand even when you aren't looking at it- when you catch a ball or tuck your shirt in.
It involves complex communications between the sensory, motor & central nervous systems.
And the ability of specific nerve endings to sense & react to different loads, tensions, speed & degrees of movement in our joints.
Following injury we usually rest to recover.
During this time normal proprioceptive messages are not sent & received, and proprioceptive ability decreases.
When movements and use are reintroduced, the wrist can feel uncoordinated.
Specifically designed exercises can be used to improve proprioceptive feedback.
Exercises we like to use include; balancing a marble on a plate, juggling, throwing a ball against a wall and balancing a slosh pipe. There are also some great apps available.
These exercises give immediate feedback and are fun to do!
Hagert, E. Proprioception of the Wrist Joint: A Review of Current Concepts and Possible Implications on Rehabilitation of the Wrist. J Hand Therapy. 2010;232-17.