Tendonitis occurs when a tendon, which attaches muscle to bone, becomes inflamed from overuse. This condition is often related to excessive activity or repetitive wrist movements, according to Mayo Clinic. Wrist tendonitis exercises improve flexibility and strengthen muscles in your wrist.
Perform wrist exercises after the initial pain has subsided. If any wrist tendonitis exercises cause you pain, stop immediately. Consider physical therapy for wrist tendonitis for an individualized exercise program if your pain persists or if your symptoms are accompanied by numbness or tingling.
Read more: 3 Gentle Exercises for Nagging Wrist Pain
1. Wrist Stretches
Include stretches for wrist tendonitis in your workout routine to improve flexibility.While stretches might be uncomfortable, do not stretch to the point of pain — this can make your condition worse.
Move 1: Wrist Rolls
- Gently roll your wrists clockwise for 15 seconds.
- Repeat in the reverse direction. Go as far into the full range of motion as you can, feeling the stretch as you do so.
Move 2: Forearm Stretches
- Hold one hand out with the palm up.
- With your other hand, gently ease your fingers backwards in the direction of your elbow, feeling the stretch through your palm and inner wrist.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Release, then turn your hand over so the palm is down.
- Again gently pull your fingers toward your elbow, feeling the stretch over the back of your hand and top of your wrist.
Move 3: Thumb Stretch
- Make a thumbs-up with one hand.
- With the other hand, gently press the base of the thumb forward — don't pull backward on the thumb tip.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times.
This stretch is especially helpful if you regularly type or text message on a wireless device, since repetitive motion is one cause of wrist tendonitis.
2. Range-of-Motion Exercises
Increase ease of movement with range-of-motion exercises. Move only within a pain-free range.
Move 1: Wrist Flexion
Wrist flexion is bending the wrist downward so that your palm moves closer to the inside of your arm, as demonstrated by Harvard Health Publishing.
- Begin with your hand outstretched and in line with your forearm, palm down.
- Keeping your forearm still, lower your hand so your fingers move to point toward the ground.
- Go as far as your wrist and hand allow without pain; then raise your hand back to the starting position.
- Repeat five to 10 times.
Move 2: Wrist Extension
Wrist extension is the opposite of wrist flexion — moving your wrist so that the back of your hand approaches the top of your arm. Wrist extension exercises begin in the same position as the wrist flexion exercises.
- Keeping your forearm still, raise your hand so your fingers move to point toward the ceiling.
- Go as far as you can without pain. Then return to the starting position.
- Repeat five to 10 times.
Read more: Normal Range of Motion of the Wrist
Move 3: Tendon Gliding
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends tendon gliding exercises — not to build strength, but to improve lubrication in the tendons for greater ease of motion.
- Start with a flat hand. Touch your fingertips to the top of your palm — or as close as you can get — then release.
- Touch your fingertips to the center of your palm and then release.
- Touch your fingertips to the bottom of your palm and release.
- Move your thumb back from your palm as if you're hitchhiking; then try to touch the base of your pinky finger.
- Do all of these movements slowly and gently and repeat up to 10 times.