Wrist exercises are beneficial in maintaining pain-free movement. The wrist unites the hand to the forearm and is comprised of a cluster of eight carpal bones. It serves as a connection between the hand and the forearm by attaching the metacarpals, or knuckles where the fingers extend, and the forearm bones, the radius and ulna. The radius is the long bone in the forearm on the thumb side, whereas the ulna is the smaller ling bone on the pinky side.
Wrist problems and pain issues are common in the wrist and are typically related to overuse or repetitive motion. Inflammation, or pain and swelling, and difficulty with movement, are indications of a problem in the wrist area. Direct injury, arthritic conditions and sprains, strains or tendinitis may also cause painful wrists.
Often, wrist pain and dysfunction can be treated through conservative methods, such as ice and an initial rest period followed by a gradual return to normal activities. For chronic or recurring issues, the use of bracing may be beneficial. Bracing can be utilized at night or during activities, depending on the severity of symptoms. Occasionally, severe cases where muscle spasms and inflammation cause a nerve to be impinged, surgery may be necessary to relieve nerve restriction.
Wrist exercises are useful after an injury or repetitive strain issue, but the most important reason to perform regular wrist exercises is to prevent further pain and problems. Exercising and stretching the wrist will help maintain flexibility and strength and provide improved conditioning. Choosing the right wrist exercises depends on the symptoms experienced. For severe or chronic problems, it is best to seek professional advice from a physical therapist to design a stretching and exercise program best suited to restore flexibility and mobility. Wrist rehabilitation can also provide pain relieving modalities and lifestyle changes to prevent further pain issues.
Common wrist exercises to decrease and prevent pain include a general stretching program. Position hands in a prayer-like fashion at chest level, then gently press down while maintaining hands together. Keep hands together and turn fingers away from the body then towards the body. Position the backs of hands together and gently pressing against each other. Stretch the inside of the wrist and base of thumb by placing hands on hips, fingers pointing to the front and pushing into hip.
Once initial pain and dysfunction subsides, wrist exercises such as range of motion and strengthening will help condition muscles. A slight upward curvature of the wrist should be maintained during wrist-intensive activities. Changing poor posture habits, such as resting wrists on desktop during typing, will aid in the prevention of future wrist problems.