Exercises to Ease Wrist Pain and Increase Functionality

If you have a tough time maintaining a pain-free and mobile wrist, you know how challenging simple tasks can be. Stiffness, swelling, and pain in the hands and wrists can impede your ability to eat, get dressed, and enjoy the activities you love.

Thankfully, there are several ways to ease this pain. Performing exercises is one of them. Doing regular exercises designed for specific functions can increase mobility, limit pain, and restore your quality of life.


If discomfort or stiffness is a result of tennis elbow or golfers elbow (tendinitis), movements typically focus on increasing the joint’s range of motion or stretching the muscle. When pain is caused by inflammation, techniques usually focus on improving strength and endurance for the muscles and tendons in the area.

A few exercises that can help improve range of motion include:

  • Wrist Extension and Flexion: Place your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel (or something else to provide padding for your arm). Hand your arm over the edge of the table, palm down. Move your hand upwards until you feel a slight stretch. Return to the starting position. Repeat, but this time, bend your elbow, so your palm is facing up. It should be like a slow wave.
  • Wrist Supination and Pronation: Stand or sit with your arm at your side. Bend elbow 90 degrees and have your palm facing the floor. Slowly rotate your forearm, so the palm faces up, then rotate back down.
  • Thumb Flexion and Extension: Start with your hand open and thumb fully extended. Move your thumb across your palm as far as you can (attempt to reach the base of your pinky). Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Hand/Finger Tendon Glide: Start with your hand open and fingers extended. Make a hook fist (fingertips touch the finger base); return to the starting position. Next, make a full fist; return to the starting position. Last, make a straight fist (fingers extended down to the base of the hand); return to starting position.

Complete about ten repetitions per exercise, four times per day, each day. Repetitions should be performed slowly and deliberately. If you experience pain or numbness, stop and call your doctor. Further, if your pain is debilitating, seek treatment from a healthcare professional.

Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.