When a wrist sprain injury occurs, the ligaments of the wrist are stretched beyond their normal limits. A ligament is tough, fibrous tissue that controls the motion around a joint. The ligaments around the wrist joint help to stabilize the position of the hand and allow controlled motions.
Wrist sprains are graded according to the severity of the injury:
- Grade I: Mild injury, the ligaments are stretched, but no significant tearing has occurred.
- Grade II: Moderate injury, the ligaments may be partially torn.
- Grade III: Severe wrist sprain, the ligaments are completely torn, and there may be instability of the joint.
Causes of Sprained WristsWrist sprains are common injuries, especially in certain groups of people. Wrist sprains tend to occur after falls. In icy weather, wrist sprains are common as people fall to the sidewalk after slipping. Sporting activities are also common causes of wrist sprains. Sports in which wrist sprains commonly occur include football, basketball, skiing, snowboarding, rollerblading, and many other sports.
Some common symptoms of a wrist sprain include:
- Pain with movement of the wrist
- Swelling around the wrist joint
- Bruising or discoloration of the skin
- Burning or tingling sensations around the wrist
Your doctor will obtain an x-ray to ensure you have not broken the bones around the joint. In some cases a MRI can be helpful. This may be done if the diagnosis is unclear or if the symptoms do not resolve as expected.
R.I.C.E. treatment, consisting of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It is rare for a wrist sprain to require any type of surgery.