A wrist fracture occurs when one or more bones break in the ulna or radius. People can break their wrist due to injury, such as when they fall or while playing sports. Wrist fractures can also happen because of poor nutrition or ageing. It usually takes up to 10 weeks for a wrist to heal. After that, a doctor typically puts a patient on a wrist stretching and exercise program.
Types of Wrist Fractures
There are two main types of wrist fractures: A Colle's and a saphoid. A Colle's fracture usually occurs near the end of the radius bone, which is the forearm bone on the thumb side. Colle's fractures are common with older people. A scaphoid fracture occurs between the scaphoid bone and outside radius, where the thumb and wrist connect. It is a common fracture among young people who play football, softball or other sports. Exercise routines for both types of fracture are similar. However, never start a wrist exercise routine until your doctor confirms that the bone is healed.
Stretching and Flexing Exercises
The following exercises are recommended as soon as your doctor gives his or her consent. These exercises can be performed every day to build flexibility and strength in the muscles, as people who break their wrists will have a considerable amount of atrophy (muscle loss) in their forearms.
Elbow Bends: While standing, make a loose fist (bottom fist facing down) and hold both arms in front of you. Slowly bend your elbows backward for a good stretch. Bend the wrists back as you flex your triceps. Repeat these movement 10 times. This stretches the surrounding forearm muscles and stimulates blood flow to the area to promote healing.
Wrist Bends: Sit on a bench or desk. Place one hand (palms down) over the edge. Keeping your hand open, lower it for a good stretch, then raise it up and stretch it. Do 10 repetitions with each wrist.
Left-to-Right Wrist Bends: While in the same position as for the wrist bends exercise, slowly move your hand (palms down) to your left, then to the right, stretching them at each end. Do 10 complete repetitions (over and back again counts as one rep).
Forearm Rotations: While standing or seated, hold one arm against your side bent 90 degrees at the elbow, with your hand open and palm up. Slowly rotate the thumb inward until the palms face the floor. Stretch the muscles. Return to the starting position and stretch. Do 10 repetitions with each hand. This exercise will help stretch the flexors and extensors in the forearm.
Strength Building Exercises
The following exercises will help you gain strength and size in your wrist and forearm muscles. The dumbbell exercises should not be performed more than 2-3 times per week.
Tennis Ball Squeeze: Hold a tennis ball in the palm of your hand. Squeeze the tennis ball for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat for 10 repetitions. This is the first real compression exercise for strength.
Wrist Curls: Sit on a bench with your hand over the edge, palm facing up. Take a light dumbbell and slowly curl it toward you, then lower it down. Do 10 repetitions with each hand. You will eventually be able to handle more weight, but use relatively light weights for a while.
Reverse Wrist Curls: This exercise is performed in the exact opposite motion of the wrist curls. You will probably need a lighter dumbbell, because the extensor muscles in the forearm are not as strong as the flexors. Slowly raise and lower the dumbbell with your palms facing down. Flex the muscles at each end.
Finger Exercise: Place a rubberband around your fingers and thumb. Slowly stretch your fingers out against the tension of the rubberband, then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times.