A man with a sprained wrist receiving injury treatment from a doctor

The complete care guide for a sprained wrist: do's and don’ts

Spraining your wrist can feel like a huge setback, but don't worry—we're here to guide you every step of the way. Whether you took a spill while out for a run or had a minor mishap at home, understanding the do's and don'ts, how long recovery might take and where to get the best treatment will have you back in action in no time. 

Let's talk about sprained wrists, how long they last and how to treat them.

Sprained wrist do's and don'ts.

Sprained wrist do's:

  • Rest your wrist. It's crucial to give your wrist a break. Avoid movements that cause pain.
  • Ice it up. Applying ice helps reduce swelling and pain. Use an ice pack wrapped in a cloth for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
  • Compression. Gently wrap your wrist with a bandage, but not too tight—it shouldn't cut off your circulation.
  • Elevate. Keep your wrist raised above your heart level to decrease swelling.
  • Use wrist splints. For mild wrist sprains, splints can support your wrist and ease discomfort.
  • Physical therapy. Strengthening and flexibility exercises can be a game-changer in your recovery.


Sprained wrist don'ts:

  • Ignore the pain. If your wrist hurts, it's telling you something. Don't push through the pain.
  • Skip the doctor. Visiting a healthcare provider ensures you get the right diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Heat initially. Using heat on a new injury can worsen the swelling. Stick to ice initially.
  • Use It too soon. Jumping back into normal activities too quickly can delay healing.
  • Underestimate a sprain. A "simple" sprain can involve damaged wrist ligaments and may need proper care.


How long does a sprained wrist last?

Recovery times can vary. A mild wrist sprain might feel better in a few days, while more severe injuries could take several weeks to heal fully.

Here's a quick guide:

  • Mild sprains. 1-2 weeks
  • Moderate sprains. 2-4 weeks
  • Severe injuries. 4-6 weeks or more

Listen to your body and your healthcare provider at your local CityMD. If your wrist starts to feel better, don't rush. Healing fully before resuming full activity is critical.


Does a sprained wrist require surgery?

When treating a sprained wrist, many wonder if surgery is on the cards. The good news? Most sprained wrists don't need surgical intervention. Surgery is generally reserved for very severe injuries, such as: 

  • Torn ligaments. If the wrist ligaments are severely torn, surgery might be necessary to repair them.
  • Associated injuries. In cases where the sprain is accompanied by other injuries, like a broken bone or damage that affects wrist stability, surgery could be considered.


Non-surgical routes.

For the majority of sprained wrists, non-surgical treatments are incredibly effective. These can include:

  • Rest and immobilization. Giving your wrist a break and using splints or casts to keep it still helps the healing process.
  • Ice and compression. These methods reduce swelling and pain.
  • Physical therapy. Rehabilitation exercises strengthen the wrist and restore flexibility.

Always consult a healthcare provider at CityMD for an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment plan for your situation.


Does a sprained wrist require a cast?

It depends. Although the thought of wearing a cast can be daunting, it's not always necessary for a sprained wrist.

The treatment approach depends on the sprain's severity:

  • Mild sprains. Usually, these don't require a cast. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.) are a typical recovery strategy.
  • Moderate sprains. A removable wrist splint might be ideal. It provides support and stability while allowing some movement for rehabilitation.
  • Severe sprains. Sometimes, a cast may be necessary to fully immobilize the wrist, ensuring proper ligament healing. However, this is more common in sprains with complications or associated injuries.

If you need a cast or splint, it’s just one part of the recovery journey. Physical therapy often follows to help regain strength and flexibility.

Remember, every wrist injury is unique, so it's crucial to follow your healthcare provider's advice tailored to your specific needs.


Treating sprains at CityMD.

At CityMD, we understand that wrist sprains can throw a wrench in your plans.

That's why we're committed to providing swift, comprehensive care for sprained wrists and all sorts of wrist injuries—from minor strains to carpal tunnel syndrome. Here's how we can help:

  • Expert diagnosis. Our team excels at diagnosing wrist pain. We can distinguish between a sprained wrist, wrist strain or even a broken wrist.
  • Custom treatment plans. Whether it's wrist splints for a mild sprain or a referral for physical therapy for more severe injuries, we tailor our approach to your needs.
  • Recovery support. We're here to guide your recovery journey and offer advice on managing symptoms and preventing future injuries.



  • If you suspect carpal tunnel syndrome or have severe wrist pain, it's crucial to get it checked out.
  • A broken bone requires immediate attention. If in doubt, visit us for an assessment.
  • Our team is here to support your recovery, providing advice and treatment to get you back to your best.

Sprained wrists are a common hiccup in life's journey, but with the proper care, they don't have to be a major roadblock.

At CityMD, we're your partners in health, ready to help you navigate the healing process with ease and expertise. Remember, taking care of your wrist today ensures it'll be ready for all of tomorrow's adventures.

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