March is National Athletic Training Month. Spearheaded by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, their 2017 slogan is “Your protection is our priority.” At the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, we share these sentiments as the protection of your hands are our number one priority. After all, they are your most valuable tools! Strengthening your wrists is a great way to prevent potential issues down the road, whether you have ever suffered a wrist injury or not. With a proactive approach in mind, here are our top four strengthening exercises specifically for wrists.
Tennis Ball Squeeze
This exercise is one you can perform in the convenience of your own home. All you need is a tennis ball. Take the tennis ball, place it in the palm of your hand, and squeeze it as hard as you can without pain. Hold the tennis ball in this position for five seconds and do 10 repetitions. Perform the exercise three times daily or as often as you can fit it into your schedule.
If squeezing a tennis ball with any intensity causes you pain, this may be an indication of an underlying issue. Experiencing wrist pain can be quite disruptive to your day-to-day. If you are experiencing symptoms like wrist pain, swollen wrist, or wrist popping, consult a hand specialist before your symptoms worsen.
Did you think that putty was just something you played with as a kid? If you have suffered a fracture to any of the small bones in the wrist or a torn wrist ligament, these exercises are particularly relevant. You have several options at your disposal. One exercise entails gripping the putty in both hands and pulling it apart. This works on wrist deviation strength. Another exercise you can try is to hold the putty in one hand and twist it with the other. This works on wrist extension. Lastly, similar to the tennis ball squeeze, squeezing the putty might improve grip strength.
A torn wrist ligament is a severe type of wrist sprain where the wrist ligaments are stretched beyond their range of motion to the point where they tear. Some of the symptoms include pain in the wrist at the time of the injury, pain while moving the wrist after the injury, swelling of the wrist, bruising of the skin around the wrist, and/or a feeling of popping or tearing in the wrist. For more information on a torn wrist ligament, visit our dedicated page on the topic.
If you go to your neighborhood gym or have access to dumbbells or resistance bands at the home, this is a solid exercise to strengthen the wrist flexor muscles. Rest your forearm on a surface such as a bench with your palm facing upwards. With a dumbbell or resistance band in your hand and your wrist bent downwards, slowly pull your wrist upwards while keeping the forearm flat on the bench. If you are using a resistance band, make sure to place your foot firmly over the tube before you begin the exercise. Next, reverse the movement in a controlled manner. Repeat this exercise ten times and do three sets total.
If you exercise frequently, you may overlook your forearms or wrists. However, since your wrists are involved in almost every upper-body exercise, strong wrists allow you to maximize activities that use your biceps, triceps, chest, and back.
The setup for this exercise is similar to the wrist flexion exercise. Rest your forearm on a bench with your palm facing downwards. With a dumbbell in your hand, pull the wrist back so the weight moves towards your body. Slowly return to your starting position in a controlled motion. Repeat this exercise ten times and do three sets total.
The wrist extension exercise is great for those rehabilitating from fractures/sprains to the wrist or tennis elbow. With that being said, all of the exercises listed here are helpful whether you have ever suffered a wrist injury or not. For those who have suffered wrist injuries, these exercises may help you rehabilitate and regain the strength you once had. For those who have not suffered wrist injuries, having strong wrists may help prevent the potential of future injuries. If you are experiencing some pain, we can help! A sore or swollen wrist may prevent you from performing activities you enjoy or need to perform on a daily basis. If you have an emergency, we are open 24/7 to treat you. You can also schedule an appointment with us online.
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