Exercises and Stretches To Relieve Wrist Strain and Improve Mobility

Your hands and wrist are vital to many essential tasks, such as driving, cooking, eating, and working. For many people, their work requires eight-hour shifts at a desk with their hands continuously pounding away at a keyboard.

The nonstop or relentless typing does strain your wrists and fingers. If you work on a laptop, the strain can worsen because laptop keyboards are smaller and force your wrists and hands into awkward angles.

While there is no quick solution for limiting wrist strain, you have stretch and exercise options to strengthen muscles and improve mobility. Searching online will provide numerous wrist and hand exercises resources, but they all come down to the same five basic movements.

1. Praying Hands

The praying hands exercise or stretch is one of the easiest ways to improve wrist flexibility. You want to stand with your hands touching, palms together. Your elbows Should also touch each other. Your hands should be parallel to your face.

As you press your hands together, slowly separate your elbows. Your palms should remain touching as they move down toward your belly button. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat.

You can add another element to the stretch. Extend one arm out from the body at shoulder height, palm down. Allow your hand to go limp. With your other hand, grab the fingers of the limp hand and pull them back. Hold the position for another 30 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.

2. Rising Fists

You can also choose a seated stretch. Lay your forearms and hands on your thighs with palms facing up. Stretch your fingers wide before slowly closing them into a fist. You do not have to clench your fist, only close it. Keep your forearms on your legs, and raise your fists towards your body, bending from the wrists. Hold the position for 10 seconds before lowering your fist back to your legs and opening your hands wide. Repeat the stretch a minimum of 10 times. 

3. Squeezing Tennis Balls

Using a tennis ball or stress ball can help you build hand and wrist strength. However, it does require commitment. You want to squeeze the ball as hard as you can for five to 10 seconds. It would be best if you repeated the hold 10 or more times.

The exercise should not hurt. Stop and talk to your doctor if you feel any pain while performing the squeeze. You could have a wrist injury that needs assessment.

4. Performing Figure-Eights

Yoga is usually seen as a full-body exercise routine, but it also has several movements that focus on specific areas of the body. Figure-eights focus on hand and wrist mobility.

To perform the exercise, you need to interlace your hands and position them in front of the body. Keep your elbows at your sides and move your hands in a figure-eight position — your hands should alternate the top position. Perform the exercise in intervals of 15 seconds.

5. Trying the Desk Press

A desk press is another exercise to help build wrist strength. The movement focuses on the muscles running from your wrists to your elbows.

In a seated position, place your hands under the desktop. Your palms should be face up against the underside of the desk. Press against the bottom of the desk for 10 seconds. Repeat.

Working at a computer all day can result in hand and wrist injuries. If you choose to fit some of the above exercises and stretches into your day, you can reduce the risks of injury.