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Hand Sprain


A hand sprain is when a ligament in your hand is stretched or torn. Ligaments are the strong tissues that connect bones. A hand sprain is usually caused by a fall onto your outstretched arm. You may have bruising, pain, and swelling of your injured hand.


Rest your hand:

You will need to rest your hand for 1 to 2 days after your injury. This will help decrease the risk of more damage to your hand. Do not lift anything with your injured hand. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your normal activities.

Ice your hand:

Ice your hand to help decrease swelling and pain. Put crushed ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Put the ice on your hand for 15 to 20 minutes every hour. Use ice as directed.

Use compression:

Compression (tight hold) provides support and helps decrease swelling and movement so your hand can heal. You may need to keep your hand wrapped with an elastic bandage.

Elevate your hand:

Keep your injured hand raised above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease or limit swelling. You can elevate your hand by resting your arm up on a pillow.

Use a splint:

You may need to use a splint on your hand and wrist. A splint is a special device that keeps your hand and wrist from moving. Use the splint as directed.


  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are taking any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow up visits.

Exercise your hand:

You may be given exercises to improve your strength once you are able to move your hand without pain. Exercises will also help decrease stiffness. Start your exercises and normal activities slowly. Exercise your hand as directed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions you so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Call your healthcare provider if:

  • The skin of your injured hand looks bluish or pale (less color than normal).
  • You have increased swelling and pain in your hand.
  • You have new or increased numbness in your injured hand.
  • You have new or increased stiffness or trouble moving your injured hand.
  • You have questions or concerns about your injury or treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Hand Sprain (Aftercare Instructions)

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