A lot of people have been telling me about experiencing discomfort in their wrists when performing weight bearing exercises in class. Other stories about repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel and myriad wrist troubles, as well as Marja’s recent workshop showcasing ‘Wellbeing in the Office’ have acted as inspiration to blog on another often overlooked joint.
We tend to take the flexibility and mobility of our wrists for granted; whether it is tying shoelaces, throwing a frisbee, or cradling our newborn we expect our wrists to perform. However, long periods at a keyboard, playing certain sports or doing a job that involves repetitive tasks can take its toll.
This diagram shows the movements your wrists and fingers should be able to do.
The wrist joint is a complex joint involving bone, ligaments, connective tissue, muscles and nerves. Rather than turn this into an anatomy lesson, I am going to focus on functionality.
Consider the implication of the following:-
Do you make up for lack of motion in your wrists with your elbow or shoulder?
Do you compensate for lack of scapular and shoulder mobility with your elbows and wrists?
5 Simple Exercises *
*These exercises are designed to increase flexibility, ease discomfort and help reduce the risk of injury. They are not recommended for people with inflammation or joint damage unless advised by a healthcare professional. I am not a doctor; and this blog is not intended as a substitute for being seen by a healthcare professional.
Wrist Rotations – make a loose fist, hold your forearm with your other hand and move your wrists first clockwise, then anti-clockwise for a few seconds. Repeat for the other side. Do this throughout the day.
Wrist Flexion – Extend your arm in front of you at shoulder height, palm facing the floor. Flex your wrist so that your fingers point down and apply weight across the back of your hand with your free hand. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat for the other side.
Wrist Extension – Extend your arm in front of you at shoulder height, palm facing the floor; Extend your wrist so that your fingers point up. Gently pull your fingers back towards your body with your free hand and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat for the other side.
Prayers – Place your hands, palms together in front of you, as if in prayer. Press your palms together and lower your hands to stretch your wrists.Reverse, and have your fingers pointing downward, and raise your hands back to the starting position. Repeat five times.
Lifted Fists – While seated place your forearms on your thighs so that your palms face up. Close your hands into fists (not clenched) and raise your fists off your thighs towards your body, bending your wrist. Hold for 10 seconds. Lower your fists and open your fingers wide. Repeat 10 times.
When you have mastered the above exercises, try these to strengthen:-
Desk Press – While seated, place your palms face up under the desk. Press upwards against the bottom of the desk; hold for 5-10 seconds.
Ball Squeeze – Squeeze a stress ball firmly for 5-10 seconds.