Sprained hand

The sprain of the hand is one of the most common injuries that have entrance into an orthopedic practice or hospital. Especially athletes are affected. A sprain can generally be seen as an overstretching of the joint, in which the ligaments involved and additional fibers in the joint and joint capsule were severely irritated.

The sprain of the hand is mainly the result of a fall, in which an attempt is made to cushion the fall with the arm stretched out. In most cases it is a painful but harmless injury. However, since more serious injuries than a sprained hand must also be considered, a medical examination of the wrist should be performed if the pain is persistent.


The extent of the symptoms after a sprained hand is independent of the severity of the injury. For example, even a mild sprain can cause pain similar to that of a fracture, just as a strain or torn ligament can be behind a suspected sprain. The symptoms therefore do not allow us to draw any precise conclusions about the type of injury.

The main symptom of a sprained hand is pain in the wrist. It occurs immediately after the application of force and is described as stabbing and sometimes extremely severe. After the injury, the pain remains with a dull, throbbing character.

In the further course of time, the wrist usually swells up within a few hours, sometimes not until the next day. In addition, there is often a blue discoloration caused by a bruise (hematoma) inside the wrist. This is caused by cracks in small blood vessels.

A severe sprain of the hand can even cause small tissue tears. In the case of a mild sprain, however, pain may be the only symptom. In all cases, however, there is a more or less pronounced loss of wrist function.

Movement is restricted due to the pain and a load, for example when supporting the wrist, is only possible to a limited extent. On the other hand, stability is retained in the event of a sprained hand, which is an important feature in contrast to a torn ligament or broken bone. How long the symptoms last varies. For example, a sprained hand can cause discomfort for days to weeks. The extent of the injury, the physical condition and the time needed for initial measures to be taken are decisive for the duration of the sprain until full recovery.