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Experiencing Wrist Pain During Exercise? Here’s How to Avoid It

by Matt Weik

It’s a common scenario at the gym… on which you may have or are currently experiencing. Let’s set the stage. You’ve got your headphones on, your favorite playlist is one, and you’re enjoying the feeling of a good workout. Then suddenly, you experience wrist pain.

From that point forward, you can no longer continue your workout without constant wrist pain and discomfort. Your strength goes down the tubes, your motivation takes a hit, and your pride is damaged. This is the perfect storm to derail your progress and create immense frustration as you’re pumping the brakes on seeing your goals become a reality.

Here’s some good news! You don’t have to suffer from persistent wrist pain, as there are many solutions that can be done to stop it from happening again.

Why Do Your Wrists Hurt During Exercise?

There are a few reasons why your wrists might hurt during exercise. You could be doing the exercise wrong, or it could be the technique and form you are using is off. It’s also possible that your wrists are weak and need to build some strength before they can handle certain weight and exercises.

The most common reason for wrist pain during exercising is incorrect form, which puts stress on the muscles and joints in your hands, forearms, and wrists.

In a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Wrist Surgery, 84% of exercisers who experienced pain along the backside of their wrists during certain exercises also had structural wrist issues. About three-fourths of these people had ganglion cysts, most of which were small. Most of the remaining people experiencing wrist pain had partial ligament tears.

How Can You Avoid Wrist Pain During Exercise?

Working out can be brutal on your body. From sore muscles to a potential pounding headache, you never know exactly what kind of pain you’ll feel after a great workout. If you’re experiencing wrist pain during exercise, it could be the result of an injury or underlying medical condition.

Here are five ways to ease wrist pain and still get the most out of your workout routine!

1. Practice Proper Form

It should go without saying, but when doing any type of exercise, you need to focus on proper form. When doing something like push-ups or yoga poses like downward-facing dog, keep your wrists straight in line with your shoulders, and elbows slightly bent for support. If your wrists hurt when doing strength training exercises, check your wrist position. For instance, if the movement causes wrist pain when doing barbells curls, try using an EZ curl bar to see if that position takes the stress and pain away from your wrists. The same can be done on other exercises where you can alter your wrist position.

2. Wear Wrist Protective Gears

There are many types of gear you can utilize that helps support the wrist and can prevent injuries from happening. There are neoprene wraps, compression sleeves, and braces that all provide varying levels of stability and compression to the wrist joint when worn. These items can be helpful if you have a known weakness in your wrists or have trouble with an exercise due to a lack of flexibility.

3. Use Wrist Straps

Straps are an easy way to take the pressure off your wrists while lifting free weights. These straps wrap around the bar or dumbbell and allow you to place your hands inside them so that you don’t have to hold the weight directly. With straps, most of the pressure is taken off your wrists while you lift the weight through a full range of motion, which helps prevent wrist strain and irritation from occurring.

4. Wrist Flexion Exercise

The wrist flexion exercise is an isometric strength exercise that targets your forearm muscles. This exercise will strengthen and help stabilize your wrist joint, which can help reduce wrist pain during exercises such as push-ups, planks, and others.

To do the wrist flexion exercise:
• First, sit on a chair with your forearms resting on your thighs and palms facing upward.
• Grab two lightweight dumbbells and hold them in each hand. Let your wrists hang naturally off the edge of your knees so that they are bent downward.
• Apply pressure from your hands down on the dumbbells while keeping your wrists in a downward-bending position. Hold this position for around five seconds before releasing and repeating 10 times.

5. Forearm Flexion and Extension Stretch

To perform the forearm flexion and extension stretch:
• Stand with your right side facing a wall. Place your right palm flat against the wall.
• Keeping your elbow straight, slowly rotate the palm of your hand away from the wall until you feel a stretch in your forearm.
• Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
• Repeat on the opposite side.

6. Treat the Wrist Pain

There are several things you can use to help alleviate wrist pain. For instance, you may be able to use a joint supplement that contains glucosamine and chondroitin to improve the health of your joints.

You may also want to keep some sort of pain relief gel or cream on hand to help spot reduce any wrist pain that you may suffer from. One product that I’d recommend for this would be Dr. Nick’s Instant Pain Relief Roller. You can quickly and easily apply it to the area (such as your wrist) without having to get it all over your hands and get messy before your workout.

Regardless of how you decide to treat your wrist pain, make sure the product you are using is high quality.

Here are some more tips you can utilize to avoid wrist pain during exercise:
• Strengthen your wrists and forearms. Perform wrist flexion, extension, and side-to-side movements with a lightweight.
• Keep your wrists neutral (a straight line from the forearm to the hand) when doing push-ups and planks.
• When lifting weights, use a wider grip on bars to keep pressure off the wrists.
• When doing exercises like bicep curls, keep hands in a neutral position rather than turning them up or down.
• Make a fist with hands facing inward. Hold for five seconds and release. Do three sets of 15 repetitions. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles that support your wrist joint and stabilize you during push-ups and planks.

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