Injury Prevention

5 Ways to Prevent Wrist Injuries

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

Whether you are swinging a golf club, carrying grocery bags or typing a report, your wrists are often hard at work and in need of your protection. Prolonged stress on those small bones can make you vulnerable to wrist problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, resulting in pain, tingling and numbness.

“Proper wrist flexibility and stability is important to help prevent injury,” says orthopedic surgeon Michelle Aubin, M.D., who specializes in hand surgery at Henry Ford Allegiance Health. “If a patient is experiencing persistent pain in the hand or fingers, I first recommend looking at ways to reduce stress on the wrists. If those changes don’t relieve the pain, it is a good idea to be seen by a medical professional.”

If your wrists are currently pain-free, be glad, but also know you could still be stressing your wrists. Try these stretches and exercises to prevent wrist injury.

  1. Wrist Stretch – Flex: Raise your arm in front of you, and keeping your elbow straight, pull your wrist backward with your other hand. You want to feel a mild to moderate stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with the other wrist. Do three sets.
  1. Wrist Stretch – Extend: Raise your arm in front of you, and with your palm facing up and your elbow straight, pull your hand down with your other hand. You should feel a mild to moderate stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with your other wrist. Do three sets.
  1. Resistance Band Wrist – Flex: Wrap a resistance band around your hand with your palm facing up and your elbow by your side, similar to curling a dumbbell. Keeping your elbow bent to 90 degrees, slowly curl your wrist up, squeezing your hand and forearm muscles. Repeat on the other wrist. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.
  1. Resistance Band Wrist – Extend: Keeping your elbow by your side, wrap a resistance band around your hand. Keep your palm facing down and your elbow bent to 90-degrees, like a reverse curl. Slowly curl your wrist up, squeezing your forearm muscles. Repeat with the other wrist. Do three sets of 15 repetitions each.
  1. Tennis Ball Squeeze: Squeeze a tennis ball as hard as you can—without causing pain. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

“If any of these recommended movements cause pain or if you experience tingling or numbness, it is important to receive a medical evaluation to prevent worsening wrist problems,” says Dr. Aubin.

To schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or find an orthopedic surgeon, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936). If you’re in the Jackson area or south central Michigan, visit henryfordallegiance.com or call 1-888-862-DOCS.

Dr. Michelle Aubin is an orthopedic surgeon, specializing in conditions related to the hand, wrist and forearm and seeing patients at Henry Ford Allegiance Orthopedics in Jackson, Mich.