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Sore wrists?

7 Essential Exercises for Wrist Pain

Are you stuck wondering, ‘why does my wrist hurt?’ Or, ‘how can I relieve my wrist pain?’

Wrist pain is frustrating. It goes away, but as soon as you spend a few hours or more at your computer, it’s back.

Your hands and wrists are responsible for an array of tasks throughout your day - from typing on your keyboard to helping you hold the steering wheel.

Even if you don’t spend your whole day at a desk, lots of on-your-feet jobs can cause pain issues. Pain often happens after repetitive use or after holding your wrist in the same position for a long duration. Like any other part of the body, your wrists need rest and proper care.

Why You Should Strengthen Your Wrists

  1. Help prevent osteoarthritis in the wrist caused by cartilage breakdown overtime.

  2. Help prevent breaks and fractures in your wrist. 1 out of 10 osteoporotic fractures occur in the wrist, so by strengthening the associated muscles, you will also help to protect your bones.

  3. Improves grip strength which makes life easier (lifting things, opening things) and increases our bone density, allowing us to avoid future injuries.

  4. Help prevent tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome by strengthening the muscles that would cause this pain.

7 Exercises to Help You Manage Wrist Pain

1. Wrist Stretch On All Fours

Stretches are all about improving the flexibility and mobility of your wrists, as well as relieving tight muscles or tendons. This wrist stretch on all fours does this in many ways.

Body Position: Begin on all fours. This means your knees should be under your hips and your hands should be under your shoulders. Your back should also be in a neutral position.

  1. Flip your right hand so that your fingers are facing you and your palm is facing up.

  2. Slowly shift your body weight backward or until you feel a gentle stretch on the side of your right wrist facing away from you.

  3. Once you feel a stretch, hold for 20-30 seconds.

  4. Then, switch sides.

  5. After this version, place your hand back so that your palm is on the ground.

  6. Gently shift forward, or until you feel a gentle stretch in the part of your wrists closest to you.

  7. Hold here for 20-30 seconds. (For this one, you can stretch both wrists at the same time.)

2. Praying Wrist Stretch

This is another way to stretch the wrists. It may prove to be a more comfortable way for some who find the all-fours position uncomfortable.

Body Position: Begin with your hands in a prayer position in front of your chest. You can be sitting or standing, but ensure there are no armrests that are in the way of your elbows.

  1. Your fingers should be pointing up in the prayer position and your palms resting against each other.

  2. Gently and slowly lower your hands to about waist height. You should feel a gentle stretch.

  3. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

  4. Release and repeat if needed.

3. Tennis Ball Squeeze

Body Position: Sitting or standing with your arms free of obstructions.

  • Hold a tennis ball in your hand.

  • Gently squeeze the tennis ball.

  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.

  • Release and repeat for 8-10 repetitions each day and for each hand.

  • When you release, spread the fingers wide.

Note: If this is difficult or if it causes pain, leave the tennis ball out of the equation. Instead, squeeze your hand into a fist and hold for 5-10 seconds.

4. Wrist Flexion

If you work any job at a computer, you are likely spend about 8 hours or so sitting at a desk. This is an easy exercise to do a few times thoughout your day.

Body Position: Sit in a chair and place your arm so that your hand is just off the edge (your wrist should be just at the edge of the desk).

  1. You can choose to hold a small dumbbell (if you don’t have one, a water bottle does the trick).

  2. Begin by holding your weight or bottle with your hand facing up.

  3. Slowly curl your wrist up and toward you.

  4. Pause, then slowly move your hand back to the start.

  5. Repeat 10 times and for 2-3 sets per side.

5. Wrist Extension

This is the exact opposite of the exercise above. Instead of the wrist flexors, this one is all about strengthening those wrist extensors.

If you’re just starting out, you may have never exercised this muscle, so we would suggest taking it slow and starting with just the motion until you are comfortable with the movement.

Body Position: Begin sitting in a chair with your arm placed on your desk so that your hand is just off the edge.

  1. Start with your palm facing down.

  2. Hold a weight or water bottle in your hand.

  3. Gently and slowly lift your hand up toward you.

  4. Pause, then slowly lower.

  5. Repeat 10 times and for 2-3 sets per side.

6. Wrist Circles

Movement always helps. It encourages proper circulation, which brings all those good nutrients and cells into the affected area to help it heal. This helps stretch the tendons running through the wrist, relieving pain.

Body position: Sitting or standing with room to hold your arms our in front of you.

  1. Hold your wrists out in front of you.

  2. Gently create circles one way with your wrist, then the other.

  3. Do this for at least 10 circles each way.

  4. Aim to do this 2-3 times a day.

7. Thumb Touches

All of the tendons that control your hands and fingers run through your wrists. By performing thumb touches, you can relieve pressure on certain parts of the wrists and these tendons.

Body Position: Sitting or standing with your arms free of obstructions.

  1. Gently touch your thumb to your index finger.

  2. Then, touch your thumb to your middle finger.

  3. Then, touch your thumb to your ring finger.

  4. Lastly, touch your thumb to your pinky finger.

  5. Do this about 5 times on each hand.

Begin with the 7 exercises above and be cautious: if any of the exercises cause pain, ease off and come back to them when your pain levels are subsiding or more tolerable. If the pain persists, book an appointment with your physio. Information courtesy of

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