Wrist Sprain

A wrist sprain most often occurs from a fall on an outstretched hand.

Symptoms can include pain, swelling, restriction of motion and weakness.  Wrist sprains are graded according to severity.

  • A Grade I (mild) sprain occurs by a stretching injury to the wrist causing micro tears to the ligaments usually without causing instability to the wrist joint.
  • A Grade II (moderate) wrist sprain often occurs from a mild traumatic injury causing a partial ligament tear resulting in mild joint instability.
  • A Grade III (severe) wrist sprain usually occurs from a severe traumatic event causing complete ligament tears and significant joint instability.

Diagnosis and grade determination is based on the patient’s history and physical examination.

X-rays are often obtained to evaluate the wrist for any potential fractures.

An MRI will be obtained to evaluate the condition of the soft tissues, ligaments and joint capsule.

Treatment is based on the Grade of the sprain and the patient’s symptoms.  Often cast immobilization, followed by physical therapy is in hand.  Icing and antiinflammatory medications may be prescribed.

If severe, then surgery is usually indicated to repair the torn ligaments and capsule.  Complete recovery is usually 4-6 months.

Alfred A. DeSimone, MD
Director of Sports Medicine
Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon