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Wrist Sprains

Understand the Causes & Symptoms of Wrist Sprains

Ligaments are the strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. A sprain is an injury to one or more of these ligaments. The wrist contains several ligaments that can be stretched or torn, resulting in a sprain. This type of injury typically occurs when the wrist is bent forcefully or awkwardly. A sprained wrist is a fairly common injury, particularly among athletes and active adults.

Wrist sprains are graded according to severity, depending on the degree of injury to the ligaments:

  • Grade 1: This is a mild sprain, where the ligaments are stretched but not torn
  • Grade 2: This is a moderate sprain, in which the ligaments are stretched and partially torn. A grade 2 sprain may result in some loss of function to the wrist and hand
  • Grade 3: This is the most severe type of sprain and is a significant injury that may require surgery. With a grade 3 sprain the ligament is completely torn. In some cases, as the ligament is torn away from the bone it may take a chip of that bone with it. This is called an avulsion fracture.

Causes of Wrist Sprains

A sprained wrist is most commonly the result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. However, wrist sprains can also be the result of force being placed on the wrist and hand (as might occur when bracing one’s self against a dashboard in an automobile accident), or from a direct blow to the joint. Athletes are often at a greater risk for wrist sprains, especially baseball and basketball players, gymnasts, skiers, and skateboarders.

Symptoms of a Sprain

The symptoms most commonly associated with a sprained wrist include:

  • Swelling in wrist
  • Pain at time of injury
  • Persistent pain when wrist is moved
  • Bruising or discoloration of skin around the wrist
  • Tenderness at injury site
  • A feeling of popping or tearing inside the wrist
  • A warm or feverish feeling to the skin around the wrist

If you’ve suffered a wrist sprain, contact Fox Valley Orthopedics by calling (630) 584-1400 today. We also treat other types of sprains.