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Wrist Sprain

A wrist sprain is an injury to its ligaments, the tough bands of fibrous tissue that bind bones together to form a joint. These can be torn by any extreme twist, bend or impact that suddenly forces the wrist into a position beyond its normal range of motion.

There are three levels of sprain:

  • Mild (Grade I)— The ligaments in the wrist are stretched or have microscopic tears.
  • Moderate (Grade II)— The damage is more severe with some wrist ligaments partially torn.
  • Severe sprains (Grade III)— One or more wrist ligaments are entirely torn or torn away from where they normally attach to bones.

A wrist sprain is commonly caused by a fall on an outstretched arm, causing a forced backward bending of the hand.

For athletes, sprains and other injuries to the wrist or hand are especially common amongst those who play football,  netball and basketball. Weightlifting also accounts for a proportion of wrist injuries. Wrists sprains also occur in racquet sports, wrestling and pole vaulting because the wrist is subjected to extreme twisting movements during these sports.


Mild wrist sprains may cause slight swelling and tenderness, with mild pain on movement. More severe sprains may show bruising and swelling, with any movement causing pain. In these cases, fracture of the bones needs to be ruled out with an X-Ray.


To prevent sports-related wrist sprains, wear protective equipment that supports the wrist. Kinesiology tape or wrist support braces can be used to limit excess movement.


For milder wrist sprains, initial treatment follows the RICE rule:

  • Rest the joint
  • Ice the injured area to reduce swelling
  • Compress the swelling with an elastic bandage
  • Elevate the injured area (can use a sling)

Arnica is a natural herbal remedy that is well known for treating injuries and trauma. Arnica has a stellar reputation for the speedy resolution of bruising, soft tissue trauma, muscle and joint injuries. Injurease products contain Arnica as the leading active ingredient,

For moderate wrist sprains, the wrist may be immobilized in a support splint or light cast for up to two weeks. Depending on the symptoms, it may be advisable to wear a wrist brace for support during sports or work activities. When a severe wrist sprain causes significant instability in the wrist, surgery may be required.

Consult a Professional

Call your doctor immediately if your wrist is deformed or severely swollen, or if pain prevents you from moving your wrist normally in any direction. For milder sprains, call your doctor if your wrist symptoms do not improve within two to three days after your injury.


In milder wrist sprains, symptoms usually improve within one week. More severe sprains can take a number of weeks or even months to heal properly. In these cases, wearing some type of wrist support is recommended.