Wrist Sprains are common injuries that result when the wrist is forcefully bent or twisted beyond its normal range of motion, causing pain and instability in the joint. The majority of wrist sprains are caused when a person tries to break a fall with an outstretched hand. The impact forces the hand backward, stretching or tearing the wrist joint capsule and ligaments. Wrist sprains can also be caused by forceful flexion or twisting of the wrist.
The wrist is made up of eight carpal bones and the ends of the radius and ulna. The carpal bones are arranged in two rows between the radius and ulna and the metacarpals. Strong ligaments connect the carpal bones to each other and to the radius, ulna, and metacarpals. It is these ligaments and the joint capsule, a sac of tissue that encases the bones and ligaments of the wrist, that are injured in a sprained wrist.
The most common symptoms are pain, difficulty with wrist movement, and weakness. In some cases, swelling and bruising may also occur. If a ligament has been seriously injured, the bones of the wrist may pop or shift when the wrist is moved. Treatment includes rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and bracing. If these are not successful, surgery may be needed.