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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. This often occurs due to a fall on an outstretched hand which causes ligaments to stretch which can be very painful. Pain will be present around the wrist and there may be some redness and bruising. The patient will complain of limited range of movement. A wrist sprain can be classed in three different grades:
- Grade 1 Sprain: Micro tear of the ligaments
- Grade 2 Sprain: Partial tear of ligament and mid-joint instability.
- Grade 3 Sprain: Severe or complete tear of ligaments and significant joint instability.
- Accidental fall.
- Muscle weakness
- Inappropriate wrist guards
- Playing certain sports such as ice skating, football and basketball are higher risk sports associated with this condition.
- R.I.C.E: Rest (Avoid using your injured wrist and hand), Ice (Apply ice or a cold pack to the wrist for 15-20 minutes, 4 times a day for several days,click here to view the reusable hot and cold pack), Compression (Wrap your wrist in an elastic support. This will limit swelling and support your wrist) .and Elevation ( Keep the injured wrist raised above the level of your heart for 48 hours such as up on a pillow. This will help drain fluid and reduce swelling).
- Pain Killers (please refer to your doctor for advice regarding appropriate pain killers).
- Wrist Braces, view below
- Surgery may be required if the ligament is completely torn or their is an associated fracture.
- If the sprain is very severe the wrist may be casted for a weeks to immobilize the area to allow healing.
Rehabilation exercises and wrist braces will help speed up recovery and prevent further injury.You may need to wear a brace to immobilize your wrist. If you play sports, you may need to wear a wrist brace or tape your wrist when you return to play.