What is hand sprain?

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Hand sprain in children: Overview

A hand sprain occurs when a ligament gets stretched or torn in your child's hand. Ligaments are the tough tissues that connect one bone to another. Most hand sprains will heal with treatment at home.

How can you care for your child who has a hand sprain?

  • If the doctor gave your child a splint or immobilizer, have your child wear it as directed. This will help keep swelling down and help your child's hand heal.
  • Help your child follow the doctor's directions for exercise and other activity.
  • For the first 2 days after your child's injury, avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, or hot packs.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's hand for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to stop swelling. Try this every 1 to 2 hours for 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and your child's skin. Keep your child's splint dry.
  • After 2 or 3 days, if the swelling is gone, put a warm cloth on your child's hand. Some experts suggest that you go back and forth between hot and cold treatments.
  • Prop up your child's hand on a pillow when icing it or anytime your child sits or lies down. Have your child try to keep it above the level of the heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your child's doctor if you can give an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Allow your child to return to their usual level of activity slowly.

Hand sprain: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your pain is worse.
  • You have new or increased swelling in your hand.
  • You cannot move your hand.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your hand or fingers.
  • Your hand or fingers are cool or pale or change color.
  • You have a fever.
  • Your hand or fingers are red.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your hand does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.