Wrist flexor stretch
Overuse injuries of the wrist are common, but you can keep your wrists healthy with this simple stretchBy Lindsay Borthwick
The wrist is a small but mighty joint, and one that we don’t think much about—until an injury interferes with everyday life, such as our ability to type on a keyboard, twist a screwdriver or even do a downward dog in yoga. In fact, overuse injuries of the wrist are pretty common, and tend to affect people between the ages of 30 and 50. They can be caused at work or at play by repetitive gripping and grasping movements. These put strain on the long tendons that anchor the forearm muscles to the metacarpals (hand bones) and pass through the wrist.
Keep your wrists healthy with a set of simple stretches you can do at your desk or as part of your gym workout. “Anyone who is using a computer or doing sports—especially tennis and golf—will benefit from these maintenance exercises,” says Linda Smith, a certified hand therapist at Kelowna Physiotherapy Associates. “It’s like changing the oil on your car. If you do it regularly, everything’s going to run a little smoother.”
While seated, extend your right arm forward at shoulder height. Keeping your elbow straight, grasp your right hand with your left, and slowly bend the wrist backward until you feel a stretch along the bottom of your forearm. Hold for 15 seconds. Then bend wrist downward until a stretch is felt on the top of the arm, and hold for 15 seconds. Switch arms and repeat. Repeat four times for each hand.
This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience–and never miss an issue!
Best Health Magazine, Nov/Dec 2008; Illustration by Kagan McLeod