Weightlifting exercises, such as the bench press and bicep curls, can put strain on your wrists, especially if you are using heavy weights or doing high repetitions. Some common causes of wrist pain from lifting include muscle strains, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Wrist Injury From Lifting
Some weightlifting techniques may put too much pressure on your wrist or cause it to bend in an unnatural way. For example, if you are doing a bicep curl with a straight bar, it may cause your wrist to twist. You may feel pain, tingling or swelling on the pinkie side of your wrist.
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These may be muscle strains or a sprained wrist, which is an injury to the ligaments. Mild injuries can be treated at home using RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation, advises the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
More serious injuries may require medical attention and possibly even surgery if the ligament or tendon is torn. If your wrists hurt when lifting and you experience severe pain or swelling, numbness or coldness in the hand or wrist, stop lifting immediately and consult your doctor.
Tendinitis Wrist Pain
Sore wrists from working out may be caused by tendinitis. Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendon and may be caused by the repetitive movement of weightlifting.
If you have tendinitis in the wrist, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine recommends home treatment of rest, ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
You should also limit or stop the repetitive motion of lifting until it is healed. Consult your doctor or physical therapist to modify your routine to allow your wrists to fully heal.
Other Causes of Pain
If your wrist pain gets worse or continues for more than a few days, consult your doctor as it may be caused by another more serious condition such as carpal tunnel or osteoarthritis.
Carpal tunnel is caused by the compression of the nerve in your wrist. Symptoms include weakness in your grip, wrist pain, numbness and tingling.
If you have injured your wrist in the past, you are at greater risk of developing osteoarthritis, advises Mayo Clinic. This is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage on the bones in your arm, wrist and hand.
Read more: Weights & Forearm Pain
Preventing Wrist Pain From Lifting
If your wrists hurt when lifting, make sure you are using proper form when you lift and that the weight you are attempting is not too much for your level of fitness. Consider wearing a wrist guard or brace to help support the joint during exercise.
Wrist and forearm stretches may also help to resolve and prevent wrist pain. Be sure to consult your doctor before adding these exercises to your routine. These stretches should not hurt, so if you experience pain, stop the movement.
One basic wrist stretch recommended by PhisioAdvisor.com is flexion to extension of the wrist. Rest your forearm on a table or other flat surface with your wrists and hands hanging over the edge. Then flex your wrist forward and backward until you feel a stretch.
Another stretch is forearm rotation. With your arms at your side and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, rotate your hand so that your palm faces up. Then rotate your forearm until the palm faces down.
PhisioAdvisor.com recommends performing these stretches 10 times each, three times per day.
Read more: Exercises for Wrist Tendonitis