January 14, 2022

Have three minutes? That’s all it takes to relieve wrist strain and increase joint mobility.

Many of us experience discomfort or fatigue when we place stress on our wrists during certain activities. Repetitive movements are a major culprit behind pain and stiffness, whether typing on a keyboard all day, or through our hobbies such as knitting, weight lifting or gardening.

If everyday activities are leaving your wrists aching, stretching them can help. “Stretching the wrist flexors and extensors is important if you want to prevent or treat wrist issues,” said Wendy Hurst OTR/L, CHT, a certified hand therapist and occupational therapist specializing in hand therapy at Vanderbilt Orthopaedics. “Because we spend so much of our day repetitively using the wrist and fingers, such as when we are driving a car, holding a phone or typing on a computer, we must counter the shortening of the connective tissue with stretching into extension and flexion. If these stretches are done consistently, they can help reduce the risk of common wrist conditions such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Here are some basic movements that you can perform daily to stretch your wrists. These exercises can help get rid of wrist pain, improve joint mobility in stiff wrists and increase wrist strength overall. They are relatively simple and don’t require any equipment. You can easily do them at your desk, while watching TV, as part of your fitness routine or whenever you have a minute or two to spare.

Simple wrist pain exercises

  1. Wrist rolls
    • Keeping the wrists in a neutral position, form a fist and roll your wrists clockwise 20 times
    •  Repeat, counterclockwise.
  2. Prayer stretch
    • Stand with your palms together, fingertips facing up, hands at the center of the chest.
    • Begin to move your hands down toward your stomach, keep the palms together while the elbows move up and away.
    • Stop when you begin to feel a moderate stretch in the forearm, and hold for 30 seconds.
  3. Wall stretch
    • Place a hand against the wall with your arm parallel to the floor.
    • Begin to twist your body away from the wall, keeping your hand flat on the surface.
    • Hold for 30 seconds, then switch to the other arm.
  4. Straight arm stretches
    • With your arm extended out in front of your body at chest height and palm facing down, gently use your other hand to stretch the wrist down toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
    • Flip your hand over. With your palm now facing up, use the other hand to bend your wrist toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.