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Hand Sprain, Ambulatory Care

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.

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Cold or numbness below the injury, such as in your fingers
  • Increased pain, even after taking pain medicine
  • New or increased trouble moving and using your hand, fingers, or wrist

Treatment for a hand sprain

may include a support device, such as a brace or splint. These devices limit movement and protect your joint. Treatment may also include pain medicine.

Care for a hand sprain:

  • Rest your hand for 1 to 2 days after your injury. This will help decrease the risk of more damage to your hand. Avoid activities that cause pain. Return to normal activities as directed.
  • Apply ice on your hand for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Use an elastic bandage as directed. An elastic bandage supports your hand and decreases swelling so it can heal. The elastic bandage should be snug but not tight.
  • Elevate your hand above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your hand on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Exercise your hand as directed to decrease stiffness and improve strength. You may be directed to exercise once you are able to move your hand without pain.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

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

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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