Two Exercises To Loosen Your Stiff Wrists

If you frequently find that your wrists feel stiff and sore, performing some simple wrist exercises may help loosen them up. Keep in mind that these exercises will not cure a condition like arthritis or carpal tunnel, but they may help ease the symptoms so you're able to keep engaging in activities like typing and eating with utensils without experiencing pain.

Exercise 1: Gentle wrist extensions and flexions.

This exercise is a good one to try if your wrists become stiff after you've been inactive for a while, or when you first wake up in the morning. Sit with your arm stretched across a narrow table. Your forearm should be resting on the table, but your wrist and hand should be hanging off the end of the table. Gently and slowly bend your wrist so your palm is drawn down towards the floor. Then, slowly bend your wrist the other way, bringing the back of your hand towards the ceiling.

Repeat this exercise 5 - 10 times with each wrist. You should feel the muscles and joints in your wrist begin to loosen and relax. If you cannot bend your wrist all of the way up or down initially, do not force it. After a couple of repetitions, you'll likely find that you can bend a little further.

Exercise 2: Lateral wrist twists with a ball.

This exercise is great for loosening up wrists that become stiff after performing activities such as typing, eating, or writing with a pen. While you can perform it without holding a ball, it works best when you're holding onto the ball because this engages the muscles that stretch across the back of your hand. Grasp a small ball, such as a tennis ball or baseball, in the palm of your hand. Hold your arm down to your side, and slowly twist your wrist from side to side. Each time you twist, grip the ball a little more firmly.

Repeat this movement about 20 times with each hand. Performing this exercise intermittently throughout the day as you're engaging in activities that involve your wrists can help keep them from becoming so stiff and sore.

If you have ongoing pain and stiffness in your wrists, consider physical therapy. Your therapist can identify the cause of your pain and prescribe specific exercises that target the muscles, tendons and ligaments that are to blame for your particular discomfort. In the meantime, performing these general exercises should give you at least some relief and help prevent the stiffness from worsening.