What is Wrist Sprain?

By  , Expert Content
Feb 03, 2012

Wrist injuries occur commonly and may be quite annoying considering that one is dependent on functional wrists and hands almost every day. Wrist injury is common because when you are about to fall you extend your hands out to catch or break the fall by way of a natural protective reflex. This may cause wrist injuries such as wrist sprain, strain or fracture.

What is a wrist sprain?

If during a fall, the wrist gets suddenly and forcefully torqued or twisted, it may cause wrist sprain or strain.

  • Wrist sprain: In this type of injury, the ligaments of the wrist are stretched beyond their normal limits thereby, causing injury or tearing of the tissue. A ligament is a tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. It helps to control the motion around a joint.  The ligaments around the wrist joint make the hand stable and allow controlled motions.
  • Wrist strain: If a muscle or tendon is injured, the injury is called strain. Tendon connects the muscles to bones. The severity of an injury can vary from simple overstretch of the muscle or tendon to partial or complete tear of the muscle or tendon.

Who gets wrist sprains?

Anybody can get a sprained wrist, but the injury is more common in certain groups of people. Most wrist sprains occur after falls, but you can also get them if:

  • You strike or hit on the wrist.
  • You exert excessive pressure on the wrist or twist it.

Wrist sprains occur commonly in:

  • Athletes such as football players, basketball players, baseball players, gymnasts, skaters, skateboarders and other sportspersons.


Most cases of wrist sprain are managed conservatively by giving rest to the wrist for 24-48 hours, applying ice for the first 48 hours after injury for about 20 minutes at a time after every 3-4 hours, using compression bandage and elevating the limb above the level of heart. All these help decrease the swelling and pain. Simple analgesics such as acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen can help to decrease pain. If the injury is more severe, it may need immobilisation in a cast or surgery.



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