Can You Lift Weights After Your Wrist Heals?

Wrist injuries are common in athletes. Sprains are the most typical, while fractures and breaks occur less often. After your wrist heals, your ability to lift weights will depend on various factors, including the type of injury that you've sustained and the type of weight lifting you plan on doing. Before lifting weights, discuss it with a physician who specializes in sports medicine.

Close-up of a woman lifting a dumbbell weight. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Sprain

A sprain is the most common wrist injury. This occurs when a ligament in the wrist is overstretched or torn. Ligaments are connective tissues that connect your bones to each other. Healing time for a wrist sprain depends on the severity. A minor sprain is the easiest risk injury to return to weight lifting explains chiropractor Irene Lamberti, in her book "Pumping Iron without Pain." Regardless of what type of sprain you sustain, you will have to strengthen your wrist first by starting with the lowest weight possible, says Lamberti.

Fracture

When you fracture your wrist, it is immobilized for up to 12 weeks to allow it to heal. After it heals, the joints are typically stiff and the surrounding muscles are weak because they haven't been used during this time, explains Lamberti. You will need to increase your range of motion and strengthen your wrist muscles before returning to weight lifting. It can take an additional 12 weeks of physical therapy to return the range of motion and strength in your wrist after it heals, according to Lamberti.

Break

Returning to weight lifting after a broken wrist requires more time than a sprain or fracture. Broken wrists require you to wear a cast for several months. Once it heals, there's typically significant muscle atrophy, according to chiropractor Bruce Comstock in his book "Weight Training Safety." Muscle atrophy refers to a loss of muscle tissue. Physical therapy can help you regain strength in your wrist after a break, but it may not be safe to lift weights for up to six months after it heals, says Comstock.

Wrist Brace

Only your physician can determine when you're ready to return to weight lifting and at what intensity. Begin weight lifting only with your doctor's permission. After a wrist injury, you're more susceptible to reinjuring your wrist. Once your doctor determines that you're ready to begin lifting weights, use caution. Wrist braces are designed to provide support for your wrists. Athletes use wrist braces to prevent injuries. They compress your wrist joints and are commonly recommended after you've sustained a wrist injury.

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