Wrist drop is caused by irritation or entrapment of your radial nerve, which runs down your arm and into your hand, states the MDGuidelines website. The nerve often becomes irritated due to a repetitive activities such as typing and leaning your elbows on your desk. This can cause pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in your arm, wrist or fingers and make it difficult to rotate your wrist. Exercises to improve strength and flexibility and promote range of movement can help to alleviate these symptoms. However, you should always seek medical advice before doing any of these exercises and always stop if you feel any pain.
This exercise promotes wrist strength and muscle endurance. You will need a tennis ball or similar, as long as it is not completely rigid and has some flexibility. NISMAT, the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, recommends holding the ball in one hand and squeezing it slowly 25 times. Rest and aim to do two more sets then swap to the other hand. Your wrist should feel tired, but not painful during this exercise. If your wrists are particularly weak or tender, NISMAT suggests starting with a piece of sponge and building up to using the ball.
Finger Stretch With Resistance
Take a rubber band and place it around all five fingers on one hand, according to NISMAT. Stretch your fingers out as wide as you can, using the rubber band as resistance, then relax them again. Do three sets of 25 repetitions on both hands. NISMAT suggests adding extra rubber bands to create extra resistance as you build up strength in your wrist and fingers.
You will need a hammer, wrench or similar long, thin implement for this exercise. Make sure it is not too heavy, especially if your wrists are tender or weak. NISMAT says to take your chosen implement in one hand and lean forward in a chair to rest that arm on your thigh. Your palm should be facing inwards then slowly turn your wrist downwards so your palm is facing the floor. Turn it back to the start position then rotate your palm upwards so it’s facing the ceiling. Repeat as many times as you can on both arms.
The Mayo Clinic recommends sitting up straight in a chair and holding one arm straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor with your palm facing down. Use your other hand to gently bend the wrist of your outstretched arm down so your fingers are pointing towards the floor. Hold for about 10 seconds then slowly release and bend the wrist up. Use your other hand to apply gentle pressure in both directions--you should feel a pull but stop immediately if you feel any pain. Repeat the exercise on your other arm.