Wrist pain can be frustrating and inconvenient. It can also make work or basic day-to-day activities, such as using a computer or cooking a meal, more difficult.

Exercises can improve mobility and decrease the chance of injury or reinjury. Wrist stretches are easy to do at home or at the office. When done properly, they can benefit a person's overall wrist and hand health.

Anyone experiencing chronic pain or pain with numbness should visit a doctor for a thorough diagnosis.

The following stretches can help improve strength and mobility:

Wrist and hand stretches

A person should do the exercises below slowly and gently, focusing on stretching and strengthening. If the stretch hurts, stop.

The following wrist and hand stretches may improve strength and mobility:

1. Raised fist stretch

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To do this stretch:

  1. Start with your arm up beside your head, with your hand open.
  2. Make a fist, keeping your thumb outside of it.
  3. Slide your fingers toward your wrist until you feel a stretch.

2. Wrist rotations

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To do this stretch:

  1. Stretch your arm out in front of you.
  2. Slowly, point the fingers down until you feel a stretch. Use the other hand to gently pull the raised hand toward the body. Hold this position for 3–5 seconds.
  3. Point the fingers toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch. Use the other hand to gently pull the raised hand toward the body. Hold this position for 3–5 seconds.
  4. Repeat this three times.

3. Prayer position

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To do this stretch:

  1. Sit with your palms together and your elbows on the table in a prayer position.
  2. Lower the sides of the hands toward the table until you feel a stretch. Keep your palms together. Hold this position for 5–7 seconds.
  3. Relax.
  4. Repeat this three times.

4. Hooked stretch

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To do this stretch:

  1. Hook one elbow under the other and pull both arms towards the center of the torso. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders.
  2. Wrap one arm around the other so that the palms are touching.
  3. Hold the position for 25 seconds.
  4. Switch arms and repeat it on the other side.

5. Finger stretch

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To do this stretch:

  1. Bring the pinky and ring fingers together.
  2. Separate the middle and index fingers from the ring finger.
  3. Repeat the stretch 10 times.

6. Fist-opener

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To do this stretch:

  1. Make a fist and hold it in front of you.
  2. Stretch your fingers until your hand is flat and open, with the fingers together.
  3. Repeat the movements 10 times.

7. Sponge-squeeze

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To do this stretch:

  1. Squeeze a sponge or stress ball, making a fist.
  2. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  3. Relax.
  4. Repeat this 10 times.

8. Windshield wiper wrist movement

To do this stretch:

  1. Start with your hand face down on a table.
  2. Gently, point the hand to one side as far as it can go without moving the wrist. Hold it there for 3–5 seconds.
  3. Do the same on the other side.
  4. Repeat the movement three times on each side.

9. Thumb pull

To do this stretch:

  1. Grab your thumb with the other hand.
  2. Gently pull the thumb backward, away from the hand.
  3. Hold the stretch for 25 seconds.
  4. Repeat it on the other thumb.

10. Flower stretch

To do this stretch:

  1. Stretch the arms in front of you, with the backs of the hands and wrists touching.
  2. Imagine an invisible force pulling the fingers further from the body. Feel the stretch.
  3. Hold it for 25 seconds.

11. Finger fan

To do this stretch:

  1. Make a fist.
  2. Stretch your fingers outwards as far as they can go, like a fan.
  3. Repeat the movements 10 times.

12. Imaginary piano

To do this stretch:

  1. Pretend to play a piano.
  2. Flip your hands over and play an upside-down piano.

13. Finger pulls

To do this stretch:

  1. Lay your hand flat on a table.
  2. Gently pull a finger upward so that it points toward the ceiling.
  3. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  4. Release the finger.
  5. Repeat this on all the other fingers.

14. Alternate finger stretch

To do this stretch:

  1. Bring the middle and ring fingers together.
  2. Separate the pinky and index fingers from them.
  3. Repeat the stretch 10 times.

15. Wrist-strengthener

To do this stretch:

  1. Get into position on your hands and knees, with the fingers pointing toward the body.
  2. Slowly lean forward, keeping your elbows straight.
  3. Hold the position for 20 seconds.
  4. Relax, then repeat the stretch.

Takeaway

Working with computers, writing, and doing manual labor put strain on the hands and wrists and can cause problems over time, such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Taking frequent breaks and stretching before and while using the hands and wrists can help prevent strain. Improving flexibility and strength gradually can help people avoid wrist and hand injuries.