Wrist pain is often caused by symptoms such as tendonitis. Certified hand therapist Jesse DeFilippo from the Cleveland Clinic in the USA explains which exercises can help against wrist pain.
If the tendons of the wrist are overstressed, this results in inflammation, which can lead to pain and restricted range of motion, explains the expert. However, various exercises can help provide relief, according to DeFilippo.
Exercise and stretching for wrist pain
Through certain movements and stretches it is possible to lengthen and strengthen the muscles of the wrist, reports the expert. In this way, the range of motion of the wrist can be restored and the pain in the wrist can also be significantly reduced.
However, according to DeFilippo, the following stretches and exercises should only be carried out if the wrist pain does not exceed a four on a scale of one to ten. If the pain is severe, the expert recommends a medical examination.
How to stretch the wrist flexors
According to DeFilippo, most causes of wrist pain can be helped by a so-called flexion stretch of the wrist or an extension of the wrist.
To stretch the wrist flexors, hold your arm straight in front of you, then turn your palm up. Next, bend your wrist down towards the floor.
The stretch can be increased by gently pressing the fingers down with the other hand, where a slight to moderate stretch should be felt in the forearm. Such a stretch should be held for about ten to twenty seconds, reports DeFilippo.
How to stretch your wrist
First, the arm is held straight in front of you, then the palm is directed downward towards the floor. Next, care must be taken to keep the fingers straight, then the wrist is bent downwards. The stretch can be increased by gently pressing against the back of the hand with your second hand.
You should feel a slight to moderate stretch in your forearm. According to the expert, the stretch should last ten to twenty seconds. In general, it is advisable to complete three to five sets of such stretching exercises up to three times a day. The stretching should not be exaggerated; there should be no pain.
Improve wrist range of motion
Other exercises help improve the range of motion of the wrist. DeFilippo recommends bending your wrist forward and holding this position for five seconds. To stretch, the wrist must be bent backwards for five seconds.
In addition, the hand should only be moved slowly from side to side from the wrist. Each of the exercises should be performed for three sets of ten repetitions each, says the expert.
Extension of the wrist with weight
For example, to do a weighted wrist stretch, you could hold a can in your hand. Next, turn your palm down with the can in your hand. Now bend your wrist by lifting your hand and then letting it return to the starting position. Here too, the expert recommends three sets of ten repetitions each.
Tendon gliding exercises for range of motion
Tendon gliding exercises also help to increase the range of motion. To do this, the hand must be held high as if in greeting. Then bend the fingers at the middle joints and the upper joints down towards the palm of the hand.
This position should be held for five seconds before moving the fingers back to the starting position. Again, the expert recommends three sets of ten repetitions each.
“This stretch is particularly suitable for carpal tunnel and other nerve-related problems. It stresses the nerves that run from the neck to the hand,” explains DeFilippo in a press release.
Stretching the shoulders
First, the shoulder blades are pressed together, stretching the chest forward. This position is then held for five seconds. In this case too, three sets of ten repetitions should be completed, says the expert.
Strengthen your grip strength
According to DeFilippo, if you have de Quervain’s tendovaginitis (de Quervain tendinosis), exercises to strengthen grip strength and exercises for the range of motion of the wrist can help.
For grip strengthening exercises, you will need a rubber ball to hold in your hand. This is then squeezed for five seconds. Again, according to the expert, it is advisable to complete three sets of ten repetitions.
Do an opposition stretch like this
The palm is placed on a flat surface with the palm facing up, then the tip of the thumb is touched with the tip of the little finger. The remaining three fingers should remain as flat as possible on the surface. The stretch should be held for six seconds before moving the fingers back to their original position. DeFilippo recommends repeating the exercise ten times.
Flexion of the wrist with weight
First of all: This exercise is not suitable for everyone. “If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should generally avoid weighted wrist flexion. Excessive compression during wrist flexion can affect the median nerve,” explains the expert.
However, without carpal tunnel syndrome, the following weighted wrist flexion exercises can be performed. For example, a can is held in the hand with the palm facing upwards. Then the wrist is bent upwards and finally slowly returned to the starting position.
Two sets of 15 repetitions should be completed. Over time the weight used can be increased.
Radial deviation training
First, hold your wrist as if you wanted to shake someone’s hand. The hand should be supported on a hard surface. For example, while holding a can or other light weight, the wrist is tilted up and then down again. It is advisable to complete two sets of 15 repetitions each.
Another exercise involves placing a rubber band around the outside of the fingers and thumb. You stretch this by pressing your fingers and thumb outwards against the band. According to the expert, two sets of ten repetitions each should be completed.
Tips for wrist pain
According to DeFilippo, it is advisable to use ergonomic computer accessories and take regular breaks to stretch your wrists while working on the computer. If pain is present, activities that put strain on the wrists should also be limited and wearing a splint for the wrist at night may be appropriate, says DeFilippo.
When to go for a medical examination?
If there are signs of a fracture or sprain, or if the pain is so severe that it impairs movement or prevents you from performing normal daily activities, DeFilippo says you should seek medical evaluation.
This also applies if the wrist is swollen or bruised or if you have already performed exercises to treat wrist pain for two to three weeks without the symptoms improving. (as)