Avoid Wrist and Elbow Pain With These Stretches

Repetitive activities such as typing, grasping gardening tools, pulling weeds, and swinging your arm to hit a tennis ball can cause pain and discomfort. If you’re not stretching properly, these activities can even lead to injury. The good news is that there are some simple stretches you can do to help keep you out of…

Repetitive activities such as typing, grasping gardening tools, pulling weeds, and swinging your arm to hit a tennis ball can cause pain and discomfort. If you’re not stretching properly, these activities can even lead to injury. The good news is that there are some simple stretches you can do to help keep you out of pain. 

Your arm joints are the key to healthy movement.
The elbow is a hinge joint, meant to move in one direction, allowing your forearm to move towards or away from our body. The wrist is a synovial joint, meant to move in multiple directions. It allows your hand to move in a circular pattern. Both joints connect the muscles of the hands, arms, and shoulders. These areas, like all the muscles and connective tissue in our bodies, can experience pain, discomfort, and injury from overuse and repetitive motion. 

Taking a little time to stretch out your arms at the wrist and elbow before engaging in repetitive motion activities can help prevent pain, discomfort, and even injury. Try the stretches listed below to ease tension and avoid future pain. 

Wrist and Elbow Stretch Series
Prayer Stretch

  • Place your palms together as if you are in prayer
  • Lift your arms and hands so that your fingertips are aligned with your nose
  • Lower your hands down while keeping your fingers and palms together. Aim to get your wrists below your elbows, but don’t force it. If that position is not available to you at this moment, just go as far as you can without separating your hands
  • Once your prayer hands have gone as low as they can go, tilt your fingertips gently to the left, move them back to neutral, then tilt them gently to the right
  • Hold this stretch for 3-5 breaths in each position. Repeat daily before and after work / activity


Reverse Prayer

  • Place the backs of your hands together, from wrist to fingertips below your elbows
  • Gently bring your wrists up until your hands begin to come apart
  • Keeping your hands together, move your fingertips gently from the left to the right while bending at the wrist 
  • Hold this stretch for 3-5 breaths in each position. Repeat daily before and after work / activity


Open-Close Them

  • Holding your hands out in front of you, open your hands fully. Stretch out your entire palm, fingers and the spaces between your fingers, as wide as you can
  • Gently close your hands into fists, bending them downward, without clenching your hands tightly
  • Repeat the motion for 3-5 times


Wrist Circles

  • Holding your arms out in front of you, rotate your hands in one direction, focusing on rotating at the wrist
  • Change rotation direction
  • Repeat the motion for 3-5 circles in each direction


Elbow Stretch

  • Straighten one arm out in front of you, Palm face down
  • With your opposite hand, gently pull back on your fingers
  • Flip your hand over, still keeping your arm straight
  • With your opposite hand, push the palm side of your extended arm toward you
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • Hold this stretch for 3-5 breaths on each arm and repeat daily before and after work / activity


Weight-Bearing Elbow Stretch
If the elbow stretch described above doesn’t give you enough relief from tension, try this one —

  • Stand in front of a flat surface, a bench or a table between knee and mid-thigh height
  • Hold your arms straight out in front of you, flexing your hands toward you at the wrist. Your fingertips should be pointing straight up at the ceiling
  • Bending over at the hips, place your hands flat on the surface in front of you
  • Lean forward slightly, avoid putting a lot of weight on your wrist. Lean forward just enough to feel the stretch
  • Take the weight off of your hands and bend your wrist so that your fingertips are moving toward your body and the backs of your hands are now flat on the surface in front of you
  • Gently lean forward, then slowly move your body weight back
  • Hold this stretch for 3-5 breaths for each motion and repeat daily before and after work / activity


If you are feeling pain and discomfort that doesn’t go away with stretching, PLEASE COME INTO THE OFFICE AND SEE ME. I’ll be able to make a treatment plan to include exercises that will help your specific diagnosis. 

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