A wrist sprain is a problem with the ligaments in your wrist. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another to form the joints. Your wrist has many bones, muscles, and ligaments that connect your hand with your forearm. When a ligament is injured, it can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn.
A sprain is caused by a sudden activity that twists or tears a ligament. For example, this might happen if you fall onto your wrist or hand; if you are hit by something; or during a forced motion of the wrist, like swinging a bat or being grabbed by the wrist.
Symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, activities, and medical history and examine you. You may have X-rays or other scans.
You will need to change or stop doing the activities that cause pain until the ligaments have healed. For example, you may need to run instead of playing basketball.
Some serious wrist sprains that involve ligament tears may need surgery.
You may need a cast or splint to keep your arm from moving while it heals.
The pain often gets better within a few weeks with self-care, but some injuries may take several months or longer to heal. It’s important to follow all of your healthcare provider’s instructions.
To keep swelling down and help relieve pain for the first few days after the injury:
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions, including any exercises recommended by your provider. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Warm-up exercises and stretching before activities can help prevent injuries.
Follow safety rules and use any protective equipment recommended for your work or sport. For example, if you rollerblade, be sure to wear protective wrist guards.