How do I Choose the Best Wrist Exercises?

Sandra Koehler

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.

The wrist is comprised of eight carpal bones.
The wrist is comprised of eight carpal bones.

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.

Repetitive motion may cause injury to the wrist.
Repetitive motion may cause injury to the wrist.

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.

Wrist exercises help maintain flexibility in the wrist.
Wrist exercises help maintain flexibility in the wrist.

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Discussion Comments


I use a stress ball to do wrist exercises wherever I may be. It's easy to carry around and I just have to grip and release repeatedly to strengthen my wrists. I suffer from wrist arthritis and my doctor recommended these exercises for me. I travel a lot, so I carry the stress ball with me wherever I go and use it when I work or when I'm resting. It really is great for stress too.


@discographer-- I think the stretching exercises will benefit you the most. But you should also do resistance and strengthening exercises when you can.

To stretch your wrists, rotate them clock wise and counter clock wise. Then extend your arm and hold your hand with your fingers facing upward. Push your hand backward with your other hand to stretch your wrist. Repeat this in the other direction with your fingers facing down and push your hand back.

You can also hold your hands together in the namaste position in front of you and move them up and down to stretch your wrist muscles. Try to do these several times a day, preferably when you take a break from typing. I'm sure they will help.


I suffer from wrist pain from typing. What type of wrist exercises should I do to treat and prevent this?

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