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- Playing sports
- 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
- Pain, tenderness, and swelling around the wrist
- Redness, warmth, or bruising around the wrist
- Limited ability to move the wrist
- Images may need to be taken of the affected area. This can be done with:
- Stretching and small tearing of ligament tissue
- Partial tearing of ligament tissue
- Mild instability of the joint
- May affect function of the hand and wrist
- Severe or complete tearing of ligament tissue
- Significant instability of the joint
- Can be associated with fractures
- Rest—Do not use your injured wrist and hand.
- Ice—Apply ice or a cold pack to the wrist for 15-20 minutes. Do this four times a day for several days. This helps reduce pain and swelling. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
- Compression—Wrap your wrist in an elastic compression bandage. This will limit swelling and support your wrist.
- Elevation—Keep the injured wrist raised above your heart for 48 hours. You can use a pillow to do this. It will help drain fluid and reduce swelling.
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Brace—You may need to wear a brace to keep your wrist still as it heals. If you play sports, you may need to wear a wrist brace, or tape your wrist when you return to your sport.
- Cast—If you have a severe sprain, your doctor may recommend a cast for 2-3 weeks.
- Rehabilitation exercises—Begin exercises to restore flexibility, range of motion, and strength in your wrist as recommended by your doctor.
- Surgery—Surgery is rarely needed to repair a wrist sprain. However, surgery may be needed to repair a ligament that is torn completely, or if there is an associated fracture.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/
American College of Sports Medicine http://www.acsm.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Abraham MK, Scott S. The emergent evaluation and treatment of hand and wrist injuries. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2010 Nov;28(4):789-809.
Frontera WR, Silver JK, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Hanley and Belfus; 2002.
Parmelee-Peters K, Eathorne SW. The wrist: common injuries and management. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2006 March 32(1).
Renström P; IOC Medical Commission, International Federation of Sports Medicine. Sports Injuries: Basic Principles of Prevention and Care. Boston, MA: Blackwell Scientific Publications; 1993.
Sprains and strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Sprains%5FStrains/default.asp. Updated July 2012. Accessed March 12, 2013.
Wrist sprains. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00023. Updated September 2010. Accessed March 13, 2013.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 03/12/2013 -