Exercises for a Broken wrist

Submitted by Allan on August 13, 2012

The complexity of the wrist joint means that fractures of the wrist do not heal easily. Almost everyone who suffers from one will have a certain degree of stiffness after the cast has been removed. This can make the simplest of activities difficult to perform. The stiffness can persist for a long period of time, sometimes as long as two years. Wrist therapy exercises can help speed up the recovery process and return the joint to its normal functioning.

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There are different exercises that help improve different functions of the wrist. They include:

  • Flexion – Wrist flexion is the ability of the wrist to bend or flex downwards. If your arm is fully extended with the hand in a straight line, then normal flexion is 80 degrees from this line.


    To increase the range of flexion, grip the thumb of your opposite hand with your injured hand. The fingers of your hand that is fine should be wrapped over the back of your injured hand. Use the fingers of your good hand to flex your injured wrist as much as possible. Hold the position for ten seconds.
  • Extension – Wrist extension is the flexing of your wrist upwards when your palm is facing the floor. The normal extension is 70 degrees. To increase your wrist extension, place your injured hand flat on a table, palm down and put the other hand over the injured one to prevent it from lifting off the table. Gently flex your wrist by bringing the forearm up and forward as far as you can. Hold this stretch for ten seconds or more.
  • Radial and Ulnar Deviation – This involves the sideways bending of the wrist towards the thumb and little finger respectively. The range can be extended by gently bending your wrist back and forth.
  • Pronation and Supination – Make a fist with your injured hand so that the thumb points towards the ceiling. Rotating your thumb inwards and outwards is known as pronation and supination respectively. Gradually extend the range till your fist is parallel to the floor.
  • Hand Exercises - These increase the range of motion and strength of your hand and fingers which may be affected by the swelling of the fracture and subsequent immobilization. You can do this by attempting to touch your thumb to each fingertip in succession. Stretch your fingers as wide as you can and then close them into a fist, and repeat this as often as you can.

Do consult your doctor or physiotherapist before attempting any of these exercises as well as the correct way to do them.

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