Your wrists are extremely complex structures, composed of three separate joints and many bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. That complexity supports a wide range of movements — but it also means there are lots of ways for wrist injuries to occur.
If you’re an athlete, you know you use your wrists for many activities, both during competition and practice. That probably leaves you wondering how your wrist injury will affect your fitness and ability to return to the game as quickly as possible.
At The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre, we specialize in helping athletes maintain their active lifestyle despite wrist injuries. In this post, learn how our team in The Woodlands, Texas, can help you stay active while supporting healing and recovery.
1. Have your pain evaluated
If you have any wrist pain, it’s critical to schedule an appointment right away before resuming training. An evaluation ensures you get the most appropriate treatment as soon as possible. It’s also an opportunity for us to help you decide the best ways to train and exercise without causing more damage to your wrist.
2. Give the legs some love
Plenty of upper-body exercises use your arms, wrists, and hands, but there’s no reason you can’t divert your attention to other parts of your body, like your legs and core. Maintain training goals with squats, leg presses, and crunches. None of these exercises rely on arm or wrist strength, but they’re essential for providing overall strength, stability, and flexibility.
3. Focus on aerobics
Cardiovascular exercises like cycling, running, elliptical, and even swimming provide a great overall workout without putting extra strain on your wrists. As a bonus, these activities improve your endurance and help you compete more effectively.
4. Fill up on R.I.C.E.
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are recommended for wrist injuries. This combination of treatments helps reduce inflammation while providing support and rest to facilitate healing. Use RICE throughout the day, and take frequent breaks when using your arms or hands for repetitive activities.
5. Ask about physical therapy
Physical therapy uses a tailored exercise and stretching plan to promote healing, relieve pain and inflammation, and restore wrist function. Each therapy plan is individually devised based on your wrist symptoms and your type of injury. Therapies can also focus on helping you resume specific work activities or sports.
6. Incorporate stretches
Stretching promotes flexibility and circulation for better overall health. Avoid poses involving your wrist, like downward dog that places pressure on your wrist joints. Your physical therapist may recommend stretches for your arms, hands, and wrists as your injury heals.
7. Know which exercises to avoid
Some exercises place extra strain on your hands and wrists, including exercises that aren’t focused on those parts of your body. Specifically, push-ups, planks, and similar exercises that use your wrists to support your body weight can cause considerable wrist strain, transforming mild, temporary symptoms into chronic wrist pain.
The same applies to weightlifting, where wrist strength and flexibility play vital roles. For now, avoid these exercises entirely until your wrists heal.
8. Go slowly
Finally, please don’t overdo it. As your wrist injury heals, slowly ramp up to your regular routines to avoid straining your wrist and reinjuring the joint. Ask about using wrist straps or braces to support your joints as you resume your activities. If you experience pain or other symptoms as you recover, stop and rest your wrist. If pain is significant, call the office right away.
Don’t let a wrist injury derail your training routine. To learn more about wrist injury treatment and more tips to keep you active, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre today.