Munson Health
Wrist Sprain

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by Scholten A

(Sprain, Wrist)



Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your wrist. An exam of your wrist will be done to check the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.
Imaging tests may include:
Wrist sprains are graded according to their severity:
  • Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of ligament tissue.
  • Grade 2—Partial tearing of ligament tissue.
  • Grade 3—Complete tearing of ligament tissue.


Treatment includes:

Acute Care

Your wrist will need time to heal. Avoid activities that cause pain or put extra stress on your wrist.
Apply an ice or a cold pack to the area for 15-20 minutes several times a day after the injury. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel.
Pain Relief Medications
Your doctor may recommend:
  • Over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen
  • Topical pain medication—creams or patches that are applied to the skin
  • Prescription pain relievers
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
Compression can help prevent more swelling. Your doctor may recommend an elastic compression bandage around your wrist. Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tight.
Elevation can also help keep swelling down. Keep your arm higher than your heart as much as possible. A couple of days of elevation might be recommended for severe strains.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

American College of Sports Medicine



Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation



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: . Updated July 2012. Accessed September 10, 2013.

Wrist sprains. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: . Updated September 2010. Accessed September 10, 2013.

10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.


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