5 Wrist Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk
Has anyone ever told you “Nice wrists!” in the gym? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on keeping them in shape with wrist exercises. That’s right — your wrists could develop an orthopedic condition if you don’t keep them strong.
Made up of eight bones, one joint and numerous ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage, your wrists enable you to perform a variety of daily tasks, from holding your cell phone to typing on a keyboard. These repetitive motions can create stiffness in your wrists, making them susceptible to injury and illness.
What’s more, your wrists allow you to perform exercises to keep your biceps, triceps, deltoids, chest and back strong. So while they may not be the most noticeable part of your body, keeping them in good shape is very important.
Common Wrist Issues
Here are some common conditions that affect the wrists. Daily stretching can often prevent these from occurring:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Consistent, repetitive strain on your wrists can cause your ligaments and tendons to swell, compressing your median nerve. You may notice tingling, pain or numbness in your fingers. Learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Trigger finger: Caused by consistent, repetitive strain on your wrist and hand, trigger finger limits your ability to move your fingers. In severe cases, your finger can become locked into a bent position. Learn more about trigger finger.
- Scaphoid fracture: Your scaphoid bone is a small bone located near your thumb where your wrist bends. People of any age can break this bone, typically when falling on an outstretched hand. Learn more about scaphoid fractures.
- Arthritis: Generally defined as joint inflammation, arthritis can affect your wrist in many different ways and for many different reasons. The most common causes of wrist arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and gout. Learn more about wrist arthritis.
Five Wrist Exercises
Practicing a few simple wrist exercises regularly keeps your wrists strong and flexible and can help prevent injury and illness. Here are a few wrist stretches you can perform at your desk or at home.
- Praying position stretches
Stand up and press your palms together in a praying position. Make sure your hands are in front of your face, your elbows are touching and your arms are touching from finger to elbow. Slowly spread your elbows apart while lowering your hands to waist height. Stop when your hands are in front of your belly button. Hold this stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, and then repeat.
Then, extend one arm, palm down, in front of you at shoulder height. Relax your wrist, letting your fingers point downward. With your free hand, gently pull your fingers back toward your body. Hold this stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Figure eights
Link your fingers in front of your body. With your elbows tucked into your sides, move your clasped hands in a figure eight motion, rotating your wrists fully so each hand is alternately on top of the other. Do this for 10 to 15 seconds, rest and repeat.
Then, while seated, lift your arms above your head and clasp your hands together, interlacing your fingers. Keeping your fingers interlaced, turn your palms toward the ceiling. You can straighten your arms or keep them slightly bent. Hold the stretch, bring your arms down and then repeat.
- Desk press
Sit at your desk and place your palms against the bottom of your desktop. Press upwards against the bottom of the desk for five to 10 seconds. This exercise strengthens the muscles that connect your wrists to your inner elbows.
- Tennis ball squeeze
This exercise might be the simplest way to strengthen your wrists. Simply squeeze a tennis ball or stress ball firmly for five to 10 seconds.
- Eagle arms
Stretch your arms in front of you parallel to the floor. Cross your right arm over your left arm and bend your elbows. Place your right elbow into the crook of your left elbow. With the backs of your hands touching, move your right arm to the right and your left arm to the left. Your right thumb should pass by your left pinky finger, and your palms should be facing each other. Press your palms together, lift your elbows and stretch your fingers toward the ceiling. Resist the urge to lift your shoulders when you lift your arms. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
If you feel the condition of your wrists can no longer be helped by stretches, reach out to Onward Orthopedics to learn more about the procedures we offer. We practice proven, minimally invasive techniques that minimize pain and recovery time, and partner with the best orthopedic surgeons to ensure you receive excellent personalized care. To begin, please complete this form or call 210.880.3823.