A wrist strain is an injury to the muscles, ligaments or tendons of the wrist that can result in significant pain making it difficult to perform even the most basic tasks. Although you should see a doctor regarding any sharp or sudden pain, some wrist pain can be alleviated at home. Certain stretching and strengthening exercises can help repair the muscles and tendons of the wrist, which, in turn, can help you get back to your daily routine.
Stretching and Flexing
Wrist strain exercises usually involve bending and flexing the wrist in several different directions in order to increase flexibility and stretch out the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the wrist. Stretching also increases blood flow to your muscles, giving them a better opportunity to heal. As you begin to regain range of motion in your wrist without pain, you can increase the intensity of the exercises and even use increased resistance or weights to help build and tone your wrist muscles to prevent future injury.
Simple flexion and extension exercises may be the most effective immediately following a wrist strain since you will have lost much of your range of motion depending on the severity of your injury. To do simple flexion and extension exercises, hold your hand up so your fingers are facing the ceiling, with your palm open. Curl your fingers in and bend your wrist slowly backwards – called extension – as far as you can without significant pain. Hold for three to five seconds, then bend your wrist forward – called flexion – as far as you can and hold for another three to five seconds. Repeat this process three to four times, attempting to bend your wrist farther each time.
Advancing to Stretching
After regaining initial range of motion in your wrist, you can begin doing more intense stretches to help increase blood flow to the area and stretch out your wrist muscles. Start by holding your hand out in front of you with your palm open, facing away from you and your fingers close together. Grab the fingers of your injured hand with your other hand and slowly and gently pull backwards, bending your wrist as far back as possible without significant pain. Turn your hand around and pull forward on your fingers, bending your wrist forward. Rest your wrist for a few minutes, then find a table or other hard surface. Place your injured hand flat on the table and lean forward, bending at the wrist. Hold for five to 10 seconds, then rest.
Strengthen Your Grip
To help strengthen the muscles in your wrist, try the ball grip exercise. Find a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Hold it in your injured hand and squeeze as firmly as you can using all your fingers. Hold the squeeze for five seconds, then release and let your wrist relax. Repeat 10 times, eventually building up your strength so you can do three sets of 10 squeezes.
If you feel sharp, stinging pain in your wrist when you try to do any stretching or strengthening exercises, it may be a sign you’re not ready to begin physical therapy on your wrist. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate amount of rest time for your grade of injury. If you feel popping or snapping while doing wrist exercises, stop and talk to your doctor. It may be a sign of a more serious injury.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.