Wrist Exercises


These exercises are repeated 10 times each , approximately 3-4 times/day . It is easy to perform them in the shower or after wrapping the arm and hand in a warm towel for a few minutes. If you experience swelling of the hand or wrist at the end of an exercise session then apply a bag of ice wrapped in a tea towel at this time for 5-10 minutes.

After a wrist fracture you should avoid lifting hot or heavy objects or returning to sport for at least 6 weeks after the plaster is removed. Writing or washing up is usually not a problem. You should not return to driving before you would be able to turn the steering wheel in an emergency to save yourself or someone else. Start the exercises gently because the wrist is often irritable when it first comes out of plaster.

Stage 1…

1. Wrist Forwards And Backwards

Support your forearm. Without forcing it move your wrist as directed as far as you can without causing pain. In general a prolonged gentle stretch is better than sudden forceful movements.

2. Wrist Side To Side

Rest your forearm on a table with your thumb pointing to the ceiling. Move the wrist up and down.

3. Forearm Rotation

Tuck you elbow against your side. Turn your palm up to the ceiling then down to the floor.

4. Making A Fist
5. KnuckleBends

Keep your fingers straight. Bend your fingers 90 degrees at the knuckles then fully straighten the fingers.

6. Thumb

Touch your thumb to each finger in turn then stretch out into the “hitch hiking” position. Aim to place the thumb as low down the finger as possible.

Stage 2…

After about 2 weeks you can gradually increase the force applied to the wrist to further increase the movement. Note you should still avoid sport and heavy lifting.

7. Wrist Stretch Backwards

Sit with elbows on a table and palms together. Lower your wrists to the table until you feel a stretch and hold this for 5 seconds. Note you must keep your palms together.

8. Wrist Stretch Forwards

Keeping your elbow straight, bend your wrist down until a stretch is felt and hold again. Add some pressure with your other hand.

9. Wrist Strecth With Elbows Straight

Place arms on a table. Move your body over your hands until you feel a comfortable stretch in your forearms. Hold for 5 seconds.

10. Grip Strengthening

Squeeze a piece of play dough or plasticine . Check that all fingers are leaving an impression in the dough.


It is far better to perform the exercises gently 4 times a day than to be very forceful once a day.

If your progress is slow you may benefit from expert advice and treatment from a physiotherapist or hand therapist.

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