If you have suffered a ligament injury, or sprain, to the hand or wrist, you can undergo treatment with Dr. Steven Bailey at The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery, serving the greater Atlanta, GA area.

What Are Sprains?

Sprains are the informal term for ligament injuries. The ligaments hold the bones together at the joint. When these connective tissues become stretched or torn, they are referred to as sprains.

Symptoms of Sprains

The symptoms of a sprain include pain, swelling, and bruising at the injury site. At the time of the injury, some patients notice a popping or tearing sensation. Sprains can result in some loss of movement or function.

Causes of Sprains

Ligament injuries can occur as a result of a fall or athletic activity. For example, if you fall, and break the impact with an outstretched hand, it can cause a wrist sprain. Or, if you are playing sports, and your thumb is hyper-extended by another player, sporting equipment, or the ground, it could result in a thumb sprain.

Types of Sprains

Sprains can be classified based on the degree of the injury:

  • Grade 1: Grade 1 sprains refer to minor sprains, in which the ligament is overly stretched.
  • Grade 2: Grade 2 sprains are moderate sprains, in which the ligament is partially torn.
  • Grade 3: Grade 3 sprains are the most severe. They result in a fully torn ligament.

Diagnosis of Sprains

Dr. Bailey will provide a visual exam and discuss the circumstances in which the injury occurred. He may also order X-rays to check for fractures, or an MRI to determine the extent of the soft tissue damage.

The arthroscopy procedure may be performed to diagnose and treat some ligament injuries in the hand and wrist. In this procedure, a camera can be used to provide a better view of the inside of the joint, cartilage, and ligaments. Dr. Bailey can then address damaged tissues or shift the bone into proper alignment.

Treatment of Sprains

For less serious Grade 1 sprains, the injury may be treated at home with use of compression bandages, rest, elevation, and ice packs.

For Grade 2 sprains, we may be able to place a splint or cast to immobilize the injured ligament throughout the healing process.

More severe sprains may require surgical treatment, which can vary based on the location and degree of injury:

  • Arthroscopic surgery: In this approach, a small incision is made, and a camera is inserted into the treatment area to provide a better view of the torn ligament. Dr. Bailey can then remove or repair damaged tissue.
  • Open surgery: Open surgery may be performed to place pins or screws to repair the torn ligament.
  • Ligament reconstruction: A tendon may be used to create a new ligament.

What to Expect after Surgery

It may take six to eight weeks for ligament tears to heal after surgery. During the healing period, the ligament will re-attach to the bone. It is important that the injury site remain immobilized during the healing period.

After the six- to eight-week healing period, patients may attend hand therapy appointments to help restore full function to the area.


To have your hand, wrist, or elbow sprain diagnosed, and for effective treatment, contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery today.