Wrist Conditions and Injury Prevention

The wrist and hand is a a variety of joint types with over 14 different muscles that flex and extend in many directions! The carpal bones (the upper most set of bones on the wrist) are known as gliding joints because they glide past one another in any direction along the plane of the joint — up and down, left and right, and diagonally. The bones above our carpals are known as pivot joints which allow wrist rotation.

Common Wrist Conditions

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome- parasthesia in the thumb, index and middle fingers, and the medial side of the ring finger, caused by the compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. Massage is indicated and can effectively relieve symptoms.

Osteoarthritis- the inflammation and breakdown of the cartilage in one or more joints. it can be caused by the wear and tear of a long life or by injury. massage is indicated for pain relief in the joint itself and compensating muscles

Rheumatoid Arthritis- an autoimmune condition in which the joint capsule is attacked, causing pain and degeneration of ligament and even bone. Gentle massage and myofascial release are indicated.

Tendinitis- inflammation of the tendon or tendinous sheath of a particular muscle due to injury or overuse, presenting with chronic pain and/or weakness. Massage is indicated only if specific protocols are used to break up any scar tissue, control inflammation, stimulate the fascial regeneration.

Proper Body Mechanics

It is important to recognize one's body mechanics with exercise or labor intensive work on the wrist and hands. Using gravity with the wrist and hands can help maximize downward force while preserving self-strength. Being aware of the lines of force is extremely useful and beneficial in the long run. Thumbs should be held in line with the wrist at all times so the metacarpals stack on top of the carpal bones and phalanges and force is distributed evenly up the arm. This can take stress off of the extremities.

Wrist and Hand Exercises

Wrist Curls-

Eccentric exercise works the muscle the most because you are strengthening your wrist muscles while they’re extending rather than contracting.

  • Rest the back of your forearm on a table or on your leg. Your palm should be facing up, and your hand should be aligned with your arm.

  • Place a light weight in that hand, then slowly lower the weight toward the floor. The movement should take you five seconds, then bring the wrist back up to starting position.

  • Aim to complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps on each wrist four to five days a week.

Wrist Rotations-

Wrist rotations are made to increase muscular endurance in the forearms, rather than overall strength. They should always be performed in a slow and controlled manner.

  • Stand in a neutral posture. Keeping your upper arms close to your body and your palms down, bend your elbows until your forearms are parallel to the floor and hold your hands in loose fists.​

  • Focusing on moving your wrist — not your hand — slowly circle your wrists counterclockwise, forming a complete circle with your wrist (it may help to imagine that you are loosely gripping a stationary object, like a steering wheel).

  • Do five circles, then do five in the other direction.

Wrist Extension and Flexion Stretch-

  • The wrist extensors (such as the extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis) originate from above the elbow. In order to lengthen these muscles, you must straighten your elbow. With your elbow straight and palm facing down toward the floor use your other hand to pull your other hand down and out.

  • The wrist flexors (such as the flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis) can be stretched by putting your elbow straight, palm facing up, then using your other hand to pull that hand down toward the floor.

By stretching and strengthening your wrists everyday, you can help prevent sprains and injuries from occuring!

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