How to Treat Torn Cartilage in the Wrist

Torn cartilage in the wrist is painful and can cause immobility.

Treatment for torn cartilage in the wrist

Our wrist is very important to us like other parts of our body. However, most of us only realize this when our wrist is already injured and we can’t do our daily tasks effectively.

We use our hands to wash our clothes, carry heavy things, among many other tasks. When we overuse our hands, our wrists also get affected and the wrist cartilage might even tear up. This impairs our mobility and causes us pain.

Wrist Cartilage Overview

Our wrist is made of 8 small bones (known as or carpal bones), arranged in two rows of four bones each. The proximal row of carpals joins directly with the bones in the forearm called the ulna and radius. Each carpal form a joint with the bone next to it and the articular cartilage covers the end of each joint and bones.

Cartilage is a white tough tissue that allows the bones and joints to glide past each other without any damage. Even though the cartilage is tough, it can be torn and damaged when overused or injured.

Having torn cartilage in the wrist causes immobility to our hands. It is very painful to move the hands and causes us great discomfort.

Cause of a Torn Wrist Cartilage

  • Overuse of hands in heavy tasks
  • Rapid movement of the wrists
  • Direct injury in the area
  • Forceful repetitive movement
  • Constant rotation
  • Too much pressure on wrists
  • Falling and landing with the hand outstretched
  • Having conditions like arthritis or gout

Symptoms of a Torn Wrist Cartilage

  • Pain when wrist bends or rotates
  • Swelling around the wrist area
  • Loss of grip or strength
  • Wrist clicks or pops painfully when moved

How is Torn Cartilage Diagnosed?

If you experience pain in your wrist, have it checked by your doctor. You may have to complete a physical examination. Your doctor will assess the grip and weakness of your wrist, including movement and range of motion. The alignment of the joint and their range of abilities will also be checked. You may need further testing through X-ray or MRI.

Treatment for Torn Cartilage in the Wrist

Treatment for torn cartilage can be surgical and non-surgical. If your wrist suffers serious damage, you may have to undergo arthroscopic surgery. It involves making small incisions in the wrist using an arthroscope. Open surgery is also possible, depending on the severity of your injury.

After surgery, you may have to use a cast for a few weeks and undergo physical therapy.


The treatment of torn cartilage varies from case to case. But the first thing you need to do is to rest the wrist so that it can heal with very limited interruption. All activities that involve your hand and wrist should be suspended.

Cold Compress

Ice compress or cold compress can help treat the torn cartilage.

Wrap ice cubes in a towel and place it on the affected area for about 15 to 20 minutes. Apply it 3 times a day. This may help get rid of the swelling and may alleviate the pain. You can also take non-steriod pain relievers while you do this.

Wrist Brace and Compression Bandage

Your doctor may recommend wrist brace or compression bandages. They limit mobility in the wrist, allowing the area to heal without much disturbance.


Some area-specific exercises may relieve the pressure from your wrist. Rotating your wrists is one example. Start slowly and do the exercises a few times a day.

Non-surgical methods may help heal the wrist within two weeks or more. If they don’t address the issue, see a doctor right away.

Who are at risk of having torn cartilage wrist?

All of us are at risk of damaging the cartilage in our wrist. But some people are more prone to others like gymnasts, golfers, tennis players, and anyone else who usually use their hands for forceful and repetitive physical activities.

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