Our wrists are easy to ignore; apart from a bony bump and a few creases, our forearms blend almost imperceptibly into our hands. That is until they make themselves felt via aches and pains! When we use our hands we’re almost always using our wrists. As we use our hands almost constantly throughout the day, it’s therefore worth paying to attention to our wrists. So whether your wrists feel dandy or are giving you some jip, have a read of what follows to find out what you can do to keep them strong, flexible, working and healthy.
Your wrist comprises ten bones. Eight of these – the carpal bones – are quite small and nestle together at the end of the long bones of your hand. The other two – the radius and ulna – are the long bones of your forearm.
Movement at your wrist is controlled by a number of muscles, many of which start up around your elbow and in your forearm and then cross the wrist to enter your hand.
The roots of the nerves which create movement and sensation at your wrist start up in your neck and weave their way down from here, stopping off numerously throughout your arm as they go and some then passing through the wrist to feed your hand.
In some respects all joints are vulnerable to the same type of joint injuries. However, these injuries will vary due to differences in what we ask – movements, tasks, direction, force – of each joint.
Strains and sprains of the muscles, tendons and ligaments can occur at every joint, including the wrist. These can be caused by sudden overload e.g falling onto an outstretched hand or trying to lift something too heavy. Strains can also occur via a gradual misuse of the wrist, such as with repetitive movements e.g. painting, needlecraft, shovelling or computer/mouse use.
Bone fractures of any of the bones in the wrist are a not unusual fall injury where you land on an outstretched hand – particularly common in the winter with icy surfaces!
Pins and needles, numbness and weakness can also affect the wrist. These symptoms are associated with a problem with the nerves, carpal tunnel being a well-known name of one such issue. And with your wrist and hand commonly working in synchronised harmony, the cause of problems in your hand can often be found in and around your wrist.
Prone to complaining when you pick something up?
Do you struggle to place your hands flat on a surface and then lean your bodyweight onto them?
Pins and needles in your hand or fingers?
Sore elbows? (Yep I know we’re not talking elbows today but fixing your wrists can help fix your elbows too.)
Would you like your grip to be better or stronger?
Have you broken your wrist or arm in the past and never quite recovered as much movement and strength as you would like?
Whatever state your wrists are in, we would all benefit from spending just a little bit of time looking after them. If only so that when we need them and perhaps ask more of them than we routinely do they can rise to the task.
Below is a short series of moves which are just FAB 🙂 for wrists. These moves can make a big difference to ALL of the possible issues that I’ve mentioned above and in really quite a short space of time. And because there are lots of things to do besides exercise, the fab moves below can also make a difference to some hand, finger, thumb and elbows problems too – bang for your buck.
1Place hands on the floor (or a firm surface) as flat as you can get them and, if you need to, just get used to this position for a little bit
2Turn the crease of your elbow to face first one way and then the other way, as far as you can each time, whilst keeping hands static on the floor
3Rock first backwards and then forwards over your wrists
4Turn hands so that your fingers point out to the sides and then rock from side to side
5Turn hands so that with palms on the floor, your fingers face as backwards as you can get them; bounce gently in this position. Then turn your hands over so that the back of your hands are on the floor – or again as close as you can get them! -and bounce gently in this position
6Push up onto your fingers and rock your body gently backwards and forwards
Aim for shoulders over wrists and stay strong at your arms throughout by maintaining a good push into the floor through hands, wrists, arms and shoulders.
Can’t place your hands flat on the floor? Place a small folded towel under the palms of your hands.
Can’t kneel on the floor? Kneel on something soft or do the moves in standing with your hands placed on a firm surface.
Struggle to put much bodyweight through your arms? Lean slightly back so that your legs can bear more of your weight.
And bear in mind that your wrists, knees etc may grumble initially, particularly if you’re not used to putting body parts in these positions but it’s worth sticking with the moves as often, after a few sessions, any initial discomfort will ease.
Only take the movement as far as is comfortable FOR YOU; we all have different available ranges of movement, start with what you have a build up steadily from there.
Make time; something is better than nothing, even spending two minutes on these three times a week can help.
You’re just about never too old, I’m taking that quote from some physically, but not mentally, very old people out there.
Start small and gently but frequently and you might be surprised.
OK, I’ll let you have that one, but once the cast is off, get cracking…
Enjoy! And let me know how you get on 🙂 . Until next time.