DIY Exercises for the Hand and Wrist

Last week, I talked about the underlying conditions causing hand and wrist pain. If you felt like you might be experiencing one of those conditions, I’d like to provide some simple exercises that will help you to build a conservative do-it-yourself regimen to help improve your wrist and hand pain before seeking invasive medical procedures or surgery.

The following exercises address the tight and weak muscles in the upper extremity. They could be performed in 15-20 minutes at home with minimal equipment. If the regimen is performed consistently four times a week for six weeks, and no improvement is appreciated, then it would be advised to pursue an evaluation with an orthopedic specialist. 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Forearm Flexor Stretch

  • Begin with your elbow straight out in front of you with your palm up.
  • Use your other hand to gently push your fingers straight as much as possible comfortably.
  • Gently push your wrist into extension.
  • Hold the stretch for 3 sets of 30 seconds.

Forearm Extensor Stretch

  • With your elbow straight, bend the wrist and turn the hand slightly outward (pronation).
  • Using your opposite hand, add a little pressure over the second knuckle and keep your fingers curled in your hand.
  • Hold the stretch for 3 sets of 30 seconds.

Thumb Stretch

  • Hold your thumb in your hand with your fingers
  • deviate your wrist towards your little finger
  • Hold the stretch for 3 sets of 30 seconds.

Bicep Stretch

  • Stand next to a wall.
  • Put your palm on the wall with your fingers pointing down.
  • Keep your hands on the wall and turn away from it, then slowly move away to straighten the elbow until you feel a comfortable stretch in the biceps.
  • Hold the position for 30-90 seconds.

Chest Stretch

  • Lie on a foam roller with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Your palms are facing up and your arms are abducted about 45 degrees with your body.
  • As your flexibility progress, abduct your arms up to 90 degrees.
  • Hold the position for 3-5 minutes.

Downward Dog

  • From the child’s pose, reach forward with your hands and press them into the mat with fingers spread wide
  • Lift your hips into an inverted “V”
  • Push back through the balls of your feet
  • Keep your head between your arms as you lift your tailbone to the sky
  • Sink your heels toward the floor without rounding your back
  • If your back rounds, bend your knees
  • Hold the downward dog stretch for 3 sets of 30 seconds, accumulating one minute.

Scap Squeeze

  • Tuck your chin slightly and keep your spine tall
  • With your arms relaxed on your side  squeeze your shoulder blade together with shrugging them
  • Squeeze glutes too
  • Gently relax the position and repeat
  • Complete 10 repetitions every hour on the hour.

Shoulder Row

  • Support yourself on a bench, bed or chair(s), as shown.
  • Squeeze the shoulder blade muscles and pull the weight toward the side of your body, next to your stomach. Finish the motion by pulling the elbow close to your side and rotate it, to emphasis the shoulder blade squeeze.
  • Focus on the shoulder blade muscles by pulling the arm up.
  • Complete 3 sets of 5 repetitions.

Grip Training

  • Hold a soft ball (stress ball or tennis ball) with your elbow straight, and palm facing your thigh.
  • Squeeze it slowly as if you were wringing out every drop of water from a sponge.
  • Pause and hold the squeeze for 2 seconds.
  • Release and repeat for 3 sets of 5 repetitions.

If you’re experiencing wrist and hand pain and would like to be seen by one of our Regenexx Physicians, see if you’re a candidate.

About The Author
Abby Perone, DC, CES

Abby Perone, DC, CES

Abby Perone, DC is an athlete, a practicing sports clinician, and a teacher.
Abby Perone, DC, CES

Abby Perone, DC, CES

Abby Perone, DC is an athlete, a practicing sports clinician, and a teacher.

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