Hand and Wrist Stretches
Blog

6 Effective Hand and Wrist Stretches

Wrist and hand pain are two of the most common complaints for millions of Americans every single year. Wrist and hand pain is especially common for those individuals who are in physically demanding occupations or active participants in sports and other recreation activities. There are roughly 2 million hand and wrist injuries every single year.

We rely on our hands and wrists to perform countless functions every single day, which is why any discomfort, pain, or tightness should be addressed to help alleviate pain and to prevent further injury or worsening of the condition. Some of the most common hand and wrist injuries or conditions include fractures, tendinitis, dislocations, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

There are several exercises and stretches you can do to help alleviate hand and wrist pain, improve flexibility, improve range of motion, and restore function. Before beginning any type of exercise or stretching routine, you should consult with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physical therapist.

Take a look at some of these effective hand and wrist stretches to alleviate hand and wrist pain.

Effective Hand and Wrist Stretches

Prayer Stretch

For this stretch, you’ll want to be seated or standing. Raise your arms so that they are slightly in front of you and clasp your hands together so that both palms are touching with your elbows bent and fingers pointing upward towards your head as if you were in a praying position. Gently lower your hands towards your waistline at a controlled pace while keeping your hands and arms close to your torso. Continue to lower your hands towards your waistline until you feel a moderate stretch in your forearms. Hold this position for fifteen seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this stretch for several repetitions.

Fist Opener Stretch

For this stretch, you want to make a clenched fist and hold your arm out in front of you. Open up your clenched fist and gently stretch out your fingers until your hand is flat out in front of you while keeping your fingers together. Reverse the maneuver to clench your fingers into a fist and then repeat the exercise for ten repetitions. Repeat with the opposite hand.

Wrist Flexor Stretch

To begin this stretch, you’ll want to be seated or standing and have enough space in front of you to extend your arms out. Raise one arm in front of you and make sure your palm is facing upward toward the ceiling. Begin bending your wrist to point the tips of your fingers toward the floor while keeping your palm facing away from your torso. Using your other hand, gently bend your wrist further by grabbing your fingers and gently pulling towards your body until you feel a moderate stretch in your forearm. Hold this stretch for fifteen seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Swap arms and repeat the exercise for the opposite hand and wrist.

Stress Ball or Sponge Squeeze

To perform this exercise, you’ll need to utilize a sponge or a stress ball that you can squeeze. Once you’ve found one, go ahead and gently squeeze the sponge ball or stress ball and hold the squeeze for ten seconds. After ten seconds, release the squeeze and pause for a few seconds. Repeat the exercise for ten repetitions and then swap to perform the same maneuver on the other hand.

Palm Up and Down Stretch

To begin this stretch, you’ll want to be comfortably standing or sitting next to a flat surface (table, counter, or a desk) where you can rest your forearm, wrist, and hand in front of you. Extend one arm out in front of you and gently rest it on the flat surface with your palms facing towards the ceiling and the back of your hand on the surface. At a controlled pace, gently roll your wrist over to point your thumb towards the ceiling and then continue the rotation until you place your palm flat on the surface in front of you. The back of your hand should be facing the ceiling now. Repeat the maneuver in the opposite direction to return to the starting position. Perform this exercise for several repetitions and then do the same with the opposite hand.

Wrist Extensor Stretch

For the wrist extensor stretch, you’ll once again want to be seated or standing with enough space in front of you to extend both of your arms out. To begin, raise one arm in front of you and face your palm downwards towards the floor. Begin bending your wrist to point the tips of your fingers towards the floor with your palm now facing towards your body. Raise your other hand and gently grab your fingers and gently pull your wrist further towards your body until you feel a slight stretch in your forearm. Hold this stretch for fifteen seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Swap arms and repeat the exercise for the opposite hand and wrist.

Treat Hand and Wrist Pain with Physical or Occupational Therapy

Hand and wrist pain are two of the most common complaints for millions of Americans every single year. Physical and occupational therapy is an effective treatment option for hand pain and wrist pain. If you’re currently experiencing hand or wrist pain, visit one of our local physical therapy clinics to seek treatment from one of our licensed physical or occupational therapists who will work with you to help you alleviate pain, restore function, improve mobility, and get you back to doing the things you love most based on your unique needs and goals.

Schedule an appointment today to get treated for your hand and wrist pain with physical or occupational therapy!

  1. Ferguson, R., et al. “Wrist Pain: A Systematic Review of Prevalence and Risk Factors– What Is the Role of Occupation and Activity? – BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.” BioMed Central, BioMed Central, 14 Nov. 2019, https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12891-019-2902-8.
  2. KS;, Gordon AM;Malik AT;Goyal. “Trends of Hand Injuries Presenting to US Emergency Departments: A 10-Year National Analysis.” The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34509744/#:~:text=Results%3A%20In%20total%2C%20649%2C131%20cases,8.6%25%20from%202009%20to%202018.
Share this article

Schedule an Appointment

You might also like

Physical Therapy Before Surgery
Blog

Benefits of Physical Therapy Before Surgery

Physical therapy is a healthcare specialty that helps patients with medical conditions or injuries that affect their ability to move and function. Through exercise, manual...

how to build ankle strength
Blog

How to Build Ankle Strength to Avoid Injury

As weight-bearing joints, our ankles experience a lot of wear and tear during the course of our lives. Over time, routine physical activity can take...

Aquatic Physical Therapy
Blog

Key Benefits of Aquatic Physical Therapy

Aquatic physical therapy is a form of physical therapy that takes place in a pool or other water environment. It is often used in conjunction...