The wrists can be prone to strain and injury from a variety of activities, including sports and heavy computer use. Many common wrist problems, including carpel tunnel syndrome, can be treated or prevented with strengthening exercises. Wrist strengthening exercises such as wrist curls and using a gripping device can help to increase strength and flexibility in the wrists, hands, and forearms.
As with any exercise, stretches should be done prior to beginning wrist strengthening exercises. This can help to warm up muscles and tendons in the wrists and prevent further strain or injury. These stretches also can be done throughout the work day to relieve wrist or arm pain caused by computer or mouse use.
First, slowly move both hands in a circular motion clockwise, and then counter clockwise. Second, fully extend one arm with the hand pointing down, and push the hand downward with the other arm. Repeat on the other side. Finally, extend the arm again with the palm facing forward. Pull the fingers back using the other hand; repeat on the other side.
One of the wrist strengthening exercises is called a wrist curl. It is used to strengthen the muscles in the forearm and wrist, and a light hand weight could be used to make this exercise more effective. Rest the forearm on a flat surface such as a table, with the wrist and hand hanging over the edge. Using the hand weight, lift upward, bending at the wrist. Reverse wrist curls can be done by turning the forearm over and moving the weight in the opposite direction.
Gripping exercises are another way to help increase wrist and hand strength. These exercises can be done any time throughout the day using a grip ball, which also is called a stress ball. A grip ball is lightweight and portable, so the exercise can be done during work, travel, or while watching TV. To do the exercise, simply squeeze the ball repeatedly for a few minutes in each hand. A grip lever is a similar device that also can be used for this type of activity. A tennis ball also works well for this exercise.
It may be necessary to adjust the number of repetitions to better address the individual problem when doing either of these wrist strengthening exercises. Developing strength in the hands and forearms for heavy lifting and other activities may require more repetitions than trying to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome stemming from computer use. The exercises can be easily modified to fit any routine and need.