Recovery time for a fractured wrist depends on the person and the depth of the fracture; a cast may be worn anywhere from several weeks to six months. Being sidelined for all that time can be extremely frustrating. Though you may not be able to play your favorite sport, there are ways to stay active during the course of your injury. Ask your doctor for guidance on resuming physical activities and how gradually to ramp up your intensity.
Certain cardiovascular exercises can be performed with a fractured wrist, as long as your doctor gives you permission and if the sweat factor, which may moisten your cast, isn’t a concern. Choosing your activities wisely can help you to get an efficient workout without risking any further damage to your arm. For example, stationary cycling and elliptical training are both exercise options that do not require much use of your hand and allow for easy body stabilization. Avoid activities that increase your chance of falling, such as inline skating, running and jumping on a trampoline. The rowing machine requires pressure to be placed on both hands and wrists, and should therefore be eliminated as an option.
Though it is your wrist that is injured and not your legs, there are still precautions to take when training your lower body. Exercise machines such as the leg press and leg curl are ideal since they do not require much interaction with your hands. Avoid any exercises where you have to hold weights in both hands, such as barbell squats or deadlifts using a barbell for resistance. Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in your good hand while performing exercises such as squats, lunges and deadlifts is likely OK, though keep in mind the single-handed hold will mean using lower resistance levels than normal. Stay away from exercises where you may easily fall or jar your wrist, such as jump squats and box jumps.
Keeping up your core strength can help you to maintain proper posture and body alignment through your injury. The best abdominal exercises to perform with a broken wrist are those that require sitting or lying on the floor, such as crunches, V-ups, stomach hollowing and supine snow angels. Avoid exercises that place pressure on your hand, wrist or arm, such as planks, stability ball knee tucks, bird-dogs and medicine ball trunk rotations.
Your uninjured arm will be compensating for the fractured wrist, so it is important to keep it healthy. Single-arm strengthening exercises that do not put the injured wrist in harms way can be performed, though you may be limited in choices. These can include biceps curls, triceps extensions, shoulder presses and lateral raises for toning and strengthening.