A sprain is an injury to a ligament. Ligaments are strong bands of connective tissue that connect one bone to another.
A wrist sprain is a common injury. There are many ligaments in the wrist that can be stretched or torn, resulting in a sprain. This occurs when the wrist is bent forcefully, such as in a fall onto an outstretched hand.
Wrist sprains can range from mild to severe. They are graded, depending on the degree of injury to the ligaments.
Grade 1. These mild sprains occur when the ligaments are stretched, but not torn.
Grade 2. These moderate sprains occur when the ligaments are partially torn. Grade 2 sprains may involve some loss of function.
Grade 3. These severe sprains occur when the ligament is completely torn. These are significant injuries that require medical or surgical care. As the ligament tears away from the bone, it may also take a small chip of bone with it, called an avulsion fracture.