Symptoms and Signs of Sprained Wrist

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/21/2019

Doctor's Notes on Sprained Wrist

A sprained wrist is an injury to one or more ligaments (band of tissue that attaches to bones on each side of a joint) in the wrist. There are many ligaments in the wrist; injuries can be graded (grade 1 -ligament fibers are stretched, grade 2 - fibers are partially torn, grade 3 - ligament is completely torn). Signs and symptoms for wrist sprains are most often pain and decreased range of motion that happens almost immediately. Inflammation occurs often with swelling, tenderness, warmth and redness. Some people may have a popping, clicking or grinding in the wrist.

Falling forward with the hand outstretched is the most common cause of a wrist sprain. Other causes may be secondary and lead to falls such as poor eyesight, poor balance, muscle weakness, slipping on ice or other slick surfaces. Overuse wrist injuries can occur; for example, with tennis, golf or racquetball.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.