Wrist Sprain

A wrist sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the wrist. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.

  • Causes

    The most common causes for wrist sprains are falling on an outstretched hand and repetitive motion.

  • Definition

    A wrist sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the wrist. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.

    Wrist Sprain
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your wrist. An exam of your wrist will be done to check the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.

    Imaging tests may include:

    • X-ray
    • MRI
    • CT scan
    • Bone scan

    Wrist sprains are graded according to their severity:

    • Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of ligament tissue.
    • Grade 2—Partial tearing of ligament tissue.
    • Grade 3—Complete tearing of ligament tissue.

  • Prevention

    Wrist sprains may not always be preventable. There are steps you can take to reduce your chance of getting a wrist sprain. These include:

    • Wearing protective equipment and using proper technique while playing sports
    • Keep wrists strong with regular exercises to absorb the energy of sudden physical stress

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance of getting a wrist sprain include:

    • Playing sports
    • Job- or activity-related repetitive motion of the wrist
    • Poor coordination
    • Poor balance
    • Reduced flexibility and strength in muscles and ligaments
    • Loose joints
    • Not wearing wrist guards during activities, such as in-line skating

  • Symptoms

    A wrist sprain may cause:

    • Pain, tenderness, and swelling around the wrist
    • Redness, warmth, or bruising around the wrist
    • Limited ability to move the wrist

    It can be hard to tell the difference between a wrist sprain and a fracture or dislocation of one of the small wrist bones. See your doctor if there is any deformity, swelling, or if you are unable to move your wrist or hand.

  • Treatment

    Treatment includes: