A sprain refers to an injury of the ligaments or the connective tissues joining the bones. The human wrist consists of many ligaments that can be stretched or torn leading to a sprain. It may be a result of forceful bending of the wrist, a sudden fall on an outstretched hand or any day to day activity that might injure the joint. Such injuries are most commonly seen in sportspersons involved in skateboarding, gymnastics, basketball, skiing etc. Wrist sprains can be classified on the basis of severity of the injury as follows:

Grade 1– involves mild stretching of the ligaments

Grade 2– moderate injury which may lead to partial tearing of the ligaments and some loss of function

Grade 3– severe injury which is accompanied by complete tearing and damage to the ligaments. The tear may involve breaking a part of the attached bone and is referred to as an avulsion fracture In most cases, wrist sprain can be treated by conservative methods and the time required to recover may vary from two to ten weeks.


  • A sudden fall on the hand that puts pressure on the forearm and the hand
  • Twisting the wrist
  • Direct trauma or hit to the wrist


  • Swelling and tenderness at the point of injury
  • Pain which can be mild to severe depending on the severity of the injury
  • Pain worsens with movement
  • A popping sound at the time of injury
  • A sense of heat or warmth may spread across the injured wrist and arm
  • Stiffness, redness, bruising
  • Loss of function which can range from partial to complete
  • The wrist joint feels loose
  • Discoloration of the skin around the wrist


  • Thorough physical examination by the orthopedic doctor
  • Detailed analysis of the patient’s previous medical records and injuries to the wrist or hand
  • Imaging tests such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI to determine the location and extent of damage that has occurred
  • Arthrography test may be conducted for a better view of the ligaments


  • Resting the injured wrist and arm on an elevated surface to reduce swelling and strain
  • Applying ice packs at regular intervals for the first 48 hours of injury or as suggested by the physician
  • Compression with an elastic bandage
  • Pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed
  • Immobilization of the wrist using a splint or a cast for about a week or more
  • Physical therapy and suitable stretching exercises to regain mobility and strength
  • Grade 3 injuries may require surgical intervention
  • Arthroscopy which may involve surgically repairing the torn ligament

For treatment of wrist sprain and other orthopedic conditions, visit OrthoTexas.