Sprained wrist is perhaps the most common injury that occurs due to movement or stretching of the wrist beyond its normal capacity! This leads to a tear in one or more ligaments of the wrist and can cause a great deal of discomfort including swelling, pain, loss of mobility, tenderness and bruising. This injury is very common among athletes and sportsperson as they need to perform movements that may lead to stretching beyond the actual capacity of the wrist. While it is strictly prohibited to exert your wrist in any way during the initial days; after taking some rest, one needs to do some wrist exercises to regain the mobility and strength of the wrist. Mentioned below are some effective exercises for sprained wrist that can help your wrist restore its normal motion.
Useful Exercises for Sprained Wrist
Before you start on with the exercises, it is important for you to take adequate amount of rest for at least the initial 24-48 hours! The sequence of healing is abbreviated as R.I.C.E, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This means that for the initial 24-48 hours, you are not supposed to exert your wrist. You should keep it at rest and ice it for at least 15-20 minutes at every 4 hours gap. For this, you can wrap the ice in a towel and give compressions on the injured wrist. It is also important to keep the sprained wrist in an elevated position so that the blood is not collected in that area. You must consult your physician before starting with the exercises depending upon your condition. However, starting on mild stretching and wrist strengthening exercises after 48 hours should be fine under normal conditions.
Wrist Stretching Exercises
The following exercises would prove to be beneficial in regaining the range of motion and the normal mobility of the wrist. Although, before you go ahead with these exercises, make sure that you positively seek a professional advice and only then go forward with these exercises. Though these exercises are helpful, we don't know what is the exact condition of your wrist.
You need to gently bend you wrist in the forward direction and keep it in the same position for at least 5 seconds. Then bend the wrist in the backward direction and hold it for 5 seconds as well. Now, you need to gently move your wrist from side to side, like when you do while wearing a wrist watch or a bangle. Repeat the forward, backward and side to side exercises in 3 sets of 10. This will help in regaining the range of motion.
This exercise would require both the hands as the healthy hand will help bend the weak hand forward and backward. First, you need to press the backside of the palm of your injured wrist in downward direction and hold it for about 15-30 seconds. Now use your healthy hand to press the fingers of the sprained hand in backward direction. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and do 3 sets of both the downward and backward motion. Make sure that you keep your elbows straight during this exercise.
In this exercise, you need to perform a wrist extension and wrist flexion stretch. Firstly, you need to stand and place your hand flat on a table, with the base of your palm below. Make sure that you keep your elbows straight and lean your body forward with the weight on the palms. Hold on for about 15 seconds and repeat thrice. Next, you need to stand with the base of your palm facing upward and the fingers pointing towards your face. Keep your elbows straight and lean away from the table. Hold on for about 15 seconds and repeat thrice.
The next exercise would be to place your elbow on a 90° angle and turn your palm in an upward direction, hold on for 5 seconds and then turn your palm in the downward direction. Again hold on for 5 seconds and keep repeating till you perform 3 sets of 10.
Wrist Strengthening Exercises
The aforementioned exercises were meant for increasing the range of motion and stretching abilities of the wrist. This section will tell you about the exercises that can help you strengthen the grip. Have a look at the following exercises.
The best exercise to strengthen your grip is to squeeze a rubber ball. This will prevent the wrist from getting stiff as well. Squeeze the ball and hold on for 5 seconds. You should do this exercise at least 3 to 4 times a day.
Get hold of a soup can and hold it horizontally with your palm facing upwards. Holding the can, slowly try to bend your wrist forward and then slowly come back to the starting position. It is advisable to do 3 sets of 10. Start by holding a lighter can and as the days pass by, try to perform the same exercise with a heavier can.
This exercise is the same as the previous exercise. The only difference is that instead of holding the can with your palm facing up, you need to hold the can with your palm facing down.
Apart from the medications, these physical therapy exercises are an important part of the treatment and healing of sprained wrists. Nevertheless, you should always consult your physician before any sort of movement in the injured wrist as it may lead to further complications.