Stretches for wrists and hands

Our hands perform a variety of tasks every day, from gripping a steering wheel to typing on a keyboard to the overuse of your mobile phone. But, these repetitive motions can actually create weakness and stiffness in your wrists and fingers.

Practise some TLC for your wrists with some simple exercises our Hoppers Crossing team of Physiotherapists have put together that may help prevent injury. Exercises may strengthen your wrists and keep your hands and fingers flexible.

The importance of stretching wrists and hands

Wrist exercises increase flexibility and help lower the risk of injury. The team of Physio’s at Hoppers Physio recommend stretches as a preventive measure or to ease slight pain. However, they should not be used by people with inflammation or serious joint damage unless recommended by a healthcare professional. This is because, in those cases, exercise could cause more harm to your wrists or hands.

Always speak with your doctor before attempting new stretches or treatments. It’s important to determine the exact cause of your wrist pain first.

Simple hand and wrist stretches

There are several easy wrist stretches you can do at your desk at work or whilst you wait for the kettle to boil. Our Hoppers Crossing Physio’s have put a few together for you to try:

Praying position stretches
  • While standing, place your palms together in a praying position. Have your elbows touch each other. Your hands should be in front of your face. Your arms should be touching each other from the tips of your fingers to your elbows.
  • With your palms pressed together, slowly spread your elbows apart. Do this while lowering your hands to waist height. Stop when your hands are in front of your belly button or you feel the stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat.
Extended arm
  • Extend one arm in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Keep your palm down, facing the floor.
  • Release your wrist so that your fingers point downward.
  • With your free hand, gently grasp your fingers and pull them back toward your body.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

To stretch in the opposite direction:

  • Extend your arm in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Keep your palm facing up toward the ceiling.
  • With your free hand, gently press your fingers down toward the floor.
  • Gently pull your fingers back toward your body.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Repeat both stretches with the other arm. You should cycle through the stretches two or three times with each arm.

Clenched fists
  • While seated, place your open hands on your thighs with palms up.
  • Close your hands slowly into fists. Do not clench too tightly.
  • With your forearms touching your legs, raise your fists off of your legs and back toward your body, bending at the wrist.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Rest your fists on your thighs and slowly open your fingers wide.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Building hand and wrist strength

Building wrist strength can also help you prevent injury. There are several exercises you can use to build strength—whether you’re at home, in the office or on the move.

Desk press
  • While seated, place your palms face up under a desk or table.
  • Press upwards against the bottom of the desk.
  • Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

This exercise builds strength in the muscles that run from your wrists to your inner elbows.

Tennis ball squeeze
  • Squeeze a tennis ball or stress ball firmly for 5 to 10 seconds.

This should not be painful. However, it should allow you to strengthen your wrists.

Thumb work

Push exercise:
  • Make a fist and point your thumb up, as if you’re giving a thumbs-up sign.
  • Create resistance with your thumb and hand muscles to keep your thumb from moving.
  • Gently pull back on your thumb with your free hand.
  • Hold and repeat.
Pull exercise:
  • Make a fist and point your thumb up.
  • Create resistance with your thumb and hand muscles to try and keep your thumb pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Use your free hand to gently push the thumb forward.
  • Hold and repeat.

If you would like some further advice speak to one of our friendly team at Hoppers Physio in Hoppers Crossing, call (03) 9749 5110 and book an appointment with one of our qualified physiotherapists.