While the function and structure of the wrist is one of the most complex in your body, the purpose of your wrists are to be able to support a wide range of movement. The wrist is made up of many joints, bones, ligaments, and tendons that work together for the wrist to be able to move side to side, forward and backward, up and down, rotate, and bend. There are many complex components made up of the hand and wrist anatomy.
The are several types of hand and wrist issues that may arise. Injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, trigger finger, and a broken wrist, fingers, thumb or hand. These injuries can be complex and can cause difficulty with work and your day-to-day activities.
With many problems that can cause pain in the hand and wrist pain, as well as numbness, and tingling, there are a variety of treatment options. Depending on the problem, from basal joint arthritis to traumatic injury, there are several options for treatment that may provide a solution.
Some noninvasive treatments can include physical therapy, oral medications and pain creams. Other treatments for more serious problems can include steroid injections, splinting/casting, and surgical correction possibly including plates, screws, and pins.
However, there are various ways to increase the strength of your hands and wrists through exercise to help prevent injuries.
Hand and Wrist Exercise
The strength and stability of the wrist does not just depend on the muscles that move the
wrist but also the muscles that cross the wrist line and finish in the fingertips. Performing exercises that keep the wrist still while moving your fingers will develop good wrist stability and strength.
Hand and wrist exercises can strengthen the muscles around the joints as well for better support. The exercises can improve blood flow to your hands, warming the muscles and ligaments. It can also increase the circulation of synovial fluid which lubricates and helps cushion the joints to keep them moving smoothly.
Hand and wrist exercises will also strengthen your wrists, keep your hands and fingers flexible, and help lower the risk of injury.
Exercises to Try at Home
Exercises at home should be performed with minimal discomfort, however you should feel effort during the process. After stopping exercise, you should feel that the areas you worked are little tired, and this should disappear within 15 minutes of stopping the exercises. Over the period of several weeks of regular exercises you should notice a definite improvement in your functional ability. Lifting a small box, a skillet for cooking dinner or a rake for some yard work should feel easier.
If you are looking to improve or maintain strength in your wrists, a good exercise program is necessary. There are simple things you can do at home to improve or maintain strength.
Wrist exercises only require a few things:
- A small 2 – 5 lb. weight (or a can of soup or water bottle).
- A table or ottoman for resting your forearm.
- A resistance band (as an alternative to weights).
Stretching exercises are recommended for prevention and to ease slight pain. Stretching your wrists can offer many wellness benefits.
- Activate muscles, blood flow, and stimulate your forearm and hand muscles.
- Increase your short-term range of motion.
- Increase long-term flexibility
- Relieve muscle soreness.
When doing hand and wrist exercises you should monitor your pain levels, especially in the beginning. You may find that these exercises can increase your symptoms, so start at a reasonable pace. However, the exercises should get easier over time and with regular practice will help to improve movement.
Other Conditions Requiring Exercise
Wrist and hand exercises will greatly benefit you if you have chronic wrist pain due to injury, surgery, aging or arthritis.
The joints in the fingers, thumbs, and wrists can become stiff and swollen from certain types of autoimmune arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis. Everyday tasks, such as opening car doors and brushing teeth, can become challenging and painful. Hand exercises will help stretch and strengthen muscles and tendons, relieve symptoms, and improve hand function.
Sports that involve throwing and overhead motions can place athletes at risk for wrist injuries. If you are a weekend athlete of a professional player in a sport like baseball, tennis, golf, or volleyball, then you may wish to incorporate wrist strengthening exercises in your injury prevention program.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs due to pressure on the median nerve because of repetitive and long-term motion. Approximately 8 million people suffer from this condition. It can cause numbness in your fingertips, tingling sensation, and weakness in the hand. Stretching is the best exercise to help with pain from carpal tunnel syndrome. This includes hand, finger, and thumb stretching. Also, the “prayer” stretch where you press your palms together with resistance is helpful. Wrist rotations can benefit as well.
We Are Here to Help
If the exercises you do cause some discomfort, consult AOA Orthopedic Specialists about taking prescribed medication to help keep you exercising. Or, if you have suffered an injury and require physical therapy or surgery to help you return to your previous level of function consult AOA Orthopedic Specialists for advice on strengthening exercises to help you regain normal wrist and arm function.
Q: Can I strengthen my hand and wrist?
A: Yes. Simple hand exercises can help stretch and strengthen muscles and tendons, help relieve symptoms, and improve hand function.
Q: How can I strengthen my hands and wrists for arthritis?
A: Yes. Hand exercises for arthritis include mobility, strengthening with equipment, a stress ball or putty, and functional training.
Q: How can I strengthen my hands and wrists if I have carpal tunnel?
A: Yes. Gently bend and stretch your wrists throughout the day. There are many stretch exercises that strengthen your arm muscles and relieves carpel tunnel syndrome.
Complexities of the wrist means that we highly advise you to leave any hand and wrist treatments to an expert. AOA Orthopedic Specialists has a complete team of Orthopedic Hand Specialists available to help treat all your hand and wrist issues, as well as a comprehensive list of procedures available. Check this page for more information.
AOA Orthopedic Specialists
If you want to learn more about effective hand and wrist exercises, reach out to the experts at AOA Orthopedic Specialists. Our doctors have years of experience to address all of your needs to help you live a healthier life! Contact us today to learn more.