Pain, stiffness, or weakness in your wrists can make everyday activities difficult and agonizing to do. Unfortunately, most individuals believe the nagging discomfort they feel is incurable, and choose to bear through the pain instead of looking for ways to alleviate their suffering. However, this isn’t true, and relief is possible by strengthening your wrists with some simple exercises. Before performing any of the stretches listed below, be sure to consult a doctor about the proper treatment for your wrist injury. An accurate diagnoses is your first true step towards recovery. While these exercises are useful after an injury, you can also perform them to prevent wrist strain from ever occurring.
A Quick Guide To Wrist Anatomy
You have 10 bones connected to your wrist joint. Two of them, the radius and the ulna, come in from your forearm, while the other eight come in from your hand. The eight from your hand are called the carpals. Unfortunately, normal wear and tear can weaken the bones, ligaments, and muscles in your wrists, leaving you susceptible to injury.
Why You Should Strengthen Your Wrists
Wrist strengthening is often overlooked until a persistent pain from overuse or awkward positioning is suddenly present. However, if you take a proactive stance and begin exercising your wrists solely to strengthen them and increase their flexibility, your chances of suffering from wrist pain, stiffness or weakness drastically decreases. Whether you’re performing stretches and exercises as a preventive measure or you’re completing them to help your recovery process, strengthening your wrist is key to keeping your bones, ligaments and muscles healthy.
Remember, if you have persistent wrist pain, talk to your doctor before performing any of the exercises provided below. Also, if you find the exercises cause you pain or they increase your pain, stop immediately and talk to your doctor before continuing.
While seated, rest your forearms and hands on your thighs with your palms facing the ceiling. Slowly close your hand and make a fist. Don’t squeeze your hands too tightly. With your forearms still resting on your thighs, curl your fists towards your body. Hold this position for 10 seconds. After 10 seconds have passed, slowly lower your fists and open your hands. Be sure to fully extend your fingers. Repeat this movement 10 times.
Praying Position Stretch
Stand up and place your palms together in a praying position. Next, bring your elbows together. At this point, your hands should be positioned in front of your face. Slowly pull your elbows apart while your hands remain pressed together. As you are separating your elbows, carefully move your hands down towards your waist. Once your hands reach your belly button or you feel a stretching in your wrists, stop your descent. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat the exercise 10 more times.
Upside Down Praying Position Stretch
With your fingers pointing down, hold the back of your hands together at your waist. Raise your arms towards your chin while pressing the tops of your hands together. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds before bringing your hands back down to your waist. Complete 10 repetitions of this stretch.
For this exercise you will need a rolled up towel and a table. While seated rest your forearm on the table with your wrist laying on the towel and your hand hanging off the edge of the table. Your palm should be facing the floor. Next, move your hand upwards. Your fingertips will end-up pointing towards the ceiling. Once you feel a slight stretching in your hand and wrist, hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat this motion 10 more times.
Tennis Ball Squeeze
This exercise is especially important for individuals who spend the majority of their day typing on a computer. All you need is a tennis ball and a minute or two. With the ball placed in the center of your palm, wrap your fingers tightly around it and begin to squeeze as hard as you can. Hold that position for at least five seconds before relaxing your grip. Squeeze the ball at least 10 times with each hand.
Wrist Extensor Stretch
While standing up raise your left or right arm in front of you with your elbow extended straight and your palm facing the ceiling. With your other hand grab the fingers of your raised hand and slowly pull them down towards the floor. You will begin to feel a mild stretching in your wrist and forearm. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat the stretch 3 times before switching arms.
Wrist Flexor Stretch
Like in the extensor stretch, the flexor stretch requires you to stand-up with one arm extended in front of you. However, instead of your palm facing the ceiling, it should be facing the floor. Once again, with your free hand, grab the fingers of your extended hand, but this time you will pull your fingers up towards the ceiling. Be sure to pull slowly. If you pull back too fast you could end up hurting yourself. When you feel that familiar stretching sensation in your arm and wrist, hold it for 10 to 15 seconds. Perform the flexor stretch 3 times in a row with both arms.
Wrist Flexion With A Resistance Band
Have a seat in a chair and place one end of your resistance band under your foot. Take the other end and wrap it around your hand. With your forearm resting flat on your thigh and your palm facing up, curl your wrist towards your body, then slowly return your wrist to the starting position. Complete 15 repetitions before switching arms.
Wrist Extension With A Resistance Band
While still seated with one end of the resistance band under your foot and the other end wrapped around your hand, turn your arm so your palm is facing the floor. Once again place your forearm on your thigh. Carefully, bend your wrist up towards your body while your forearm remains firmly rooted to your thigh. Perform the exercise 15 times with your right wrist and your left wrist.
Radical Deviation With A DumbBell
For this wrist exercise you’ll need two small dumbbells. To begin, we suggest using one pound weights. While seated hold the dumb bells firmly in your hands, and rest your forearms on your thighs with your palms facing each other. Curl your wrists upwards. Your forearms should never leave your thighs during the exercise. Perform 15 repetitions. If you feel the one pound weights are too light for you, try using a two or three pound dumbbell.
Wrist pain can turn a simple task, such as driving your car into a harrowing experience. Luckily, combating the pain isn’t an impossible feat. By following the stretches and exercises provided above, you can strengthen your bones, ligaments, and muscles and say goodbye to wrist discomfort. While exercising is key to your recovery, proper support for your wrist is also a major factor in your rehabilitation. At Mueller Sports Medicine, we have an array of braces that can help decrease your pain during the healing process. If you’re not sure which brace is right for your injury, please contact us today to schedule a consultation, where we will be happy to help you select the right brace for your wrist pain.