The soft tissues in the wrists can be injured if stretched beyond their limits or if the hand is used to break a fall. Whether it’s due to sports, housework, or occupational duties, a wrist injury can arise from just about any activity.
One of the most common wrist injuries is a wrist sprain, which happens when there is damage to the ligament in the wrist. Wrist exercises, when performed under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist, can help you quickly recover from a sprained wrist.
Here are examples of the most common exercises used to help restore mobility to a sprained wrist.
Grip strength is an important part of wrist function. For this exercise, use a small ball. Wrap your fingers around the ball and squeeze as hard as you can for five seconds. Release and repeat the exercise at least 10 times.
Range of Motion
The closed fist circle exercise involves bending your arm at the elbow and moving your wrist in round movements as if you’re drawing circles in the air with your fist. Do this gently and slowly. Start with a clockwise motion and then switch to a counter-clockwise motion. Make sure that only the wrist is moving and not the arm. As you build wrist strength and mobility, you can progress to a more challenging range of motion exercises.
Radial and Ulnar Deviation
For radial and ulnar deviation exercises, hold your affected hand in front of you. Slowly bend the wrist as far as you can from side to side. With each bend, hold the position for at least six seconds and then switch to the other direction. Repeat at least 8 times.
Resistance Extension and Flexion
For resistance wrist extension and flexion exercises, you will need to use an exercise band. Sit on a chair, keep your legs apart, and lean forward with the forearm resting on your thigh and the hand in front of your knee. Grab one end of the exercise band, wrap it around the affected hand (with your palm facing down), and step on the other with your foot. For a wrist extension exercise, slowly bend your wrist upward and hold the position for a couple of seconds. Then, bend it downward and hold it for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise at least 8 times.
For the wrist flexion exercise, wrap the end of the exercise band with your palm facing up. Bend the wrist upward and hold for a couple of seconds, then bend it downward for another few seconds. Repeat at least 8 times.
These exercises can also be done without resistance with the affected arm resting on a table and the hand and wrist placed over the edge of the table. Move the hand upward and slowly close it into a fist. Hold for a few seconds, then lower the hand and allow fingers to relax. Repeat at least 8 times.
It is usually recommended that patients begin exercise and physical therapy only once they’ve gotten past the initial recovery stage and wrist pain has started to fade. Understanding how to start with exercise is very important. For your safety and to maximize your recovery, consult with a licensed therapist before beginning any exercise regimen.
Hand Therapy Services in North Dakota
The therapy services at The Bone & Joint Center focus on helping patients get back their strength and range of motion following injury. Our state-of-the-art hand therapy services are provided by licensed physical therapists with advanced training and extensive experience in hand therapy. We routinely help patients rehabilitate and regain the use of their hands through manual or guided training.
Your hands deserve the best possible care from an experienced therapist. To schedule an appointment with a hand therapist, call 1(800) 424-2663. We look forward to serving you in one of our several locations in North Dakota.