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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. You may have bruising, pain, and swelling of your injured hand.

Call your doctor 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.

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. 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 or her 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.

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. Ask your healthcare provider how to apply an elastic bandage.
  • 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 doctor as directed:

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

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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.

Learn more about Hand Sprain (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

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