When working out or playing sports, you can experience a boatload of injuries or inconveniences. Some of these issues are more common than others, such as wrist pain and forearm cramping. This mainly happens during any activities that make you grip things in your hands. For example, lifting weights, playing tennis, bowling, climbing, playing golf, and so on.
If you often struggle with pain in your wrist or forearm while doing any form of exercise, this post will be extremely beneficial for you. Below, we’ll go over a few of the ways you can relieve and prevent these pains from happening all the time. Let’s take a look at what you can do:
Ease the pain with ice
Firstly, you need to ease the pain when it gets bad. Usually, wrist pain or forearm pain are signs of inflammation in the area. As a result, you have lots of blood flooding to these parts of the body, making it inflamed and sore. So, adding a hot compress to the area will just make the issue worse. For instant relief, you should ice your wrist/forearm or use a cold compress. This should help you avoid pain following your exercise routine.
Stretch & massage your forearm
Forearm cramping comes from overuse of the muscle. The activity you’re doing will make you use your forearm muscles a hell of a lot, meaning they can get really cramped up and tight. This can make it hard for you to do anything, and it’s especially hard for you to grip objects. So, one way to relieve the pain during or after your exercise routine is by stretching the forearm muscles.
Now, the forearm contains lots of different muscles, both on the top and underneath. As such, you need to stretch all of these muscles to get the most relief. However, for a lot of you, forearm cramping and pain happen on the underside of your forearm. If you rotate your hand so the palm faces you, it’s the muscles below the palm that get really tight. Stretching these out is very easy, you simply straighten out your arm and bend the fingers of your hand back towards the top side of your forearm. You can also stretch it by placing the palm of your hand on a table and straightening out your arm.
This video actually runs through some pretty great stretches and mobility work you should do if you have forearm tightness or wrist pain:
Additionally, massaging your forearm can also help with pain relief. You can use your own fingers and thumbs to do this, massaging the muscles to loosen them up. This gets rid of a lot of tension in the forearm that can lead to soreness. If you have a massage gun, then it works really well on this area of the body. We’re talking about devices like the Theragun, which provide vibrations and percussive therapy to really get deep into the muscle and melt the tension away.
Relax your workload
The first two tips will help you relieve your wrist/forearm pain when it sparks up. Now, we’re drifting towards things you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place. Of course, one of the main things to do is relax your workload. If your wrist and forearm keep hurting whenever you exercise or play sports, it is time for you to take a break. Give your body time to heal, in which you can ice the area and do your stretches/massages. At the same time, you can start doing some physical therapy as a form of rehabilitation.
Improve your forearm/wrist strength
This is when you start getting into the rehabilitation part of your journey. There’s no point only focusing on relieving your pain if you don’t address why it’s happening. In most cases, your wrist or forearm pain comes down to muscular weaknesses. Specifically, the muscles in your forearms are too weak, which puts extra stress on the wrist joints. You’ll know if your forearms are weak because they tire out really easily when you exercise.
For example, you’re trying to lift weights, but your forearms and wrists are tiring before other muscles. Or, you’re bowling, but your forearm starts getting really tight and tired after just a couple of throws. The same goes for tennis players – you can get sore forearms before the rest of your body feels tired, disrupting your game.
In any case, you need to focus on exercises that build forearm strength. A good place to begin is with some grip strength exercises. You can purchase grip trainers that basically get you to squeeze something over and over again. It strengthens a lot of the muscles in your forearm, helping you develop a stronger grip. Alternatively, hanging from a pull-up bar for as long as possible can also improve your grip strength.
There’s another short video below that goes through a few more advanced exercises to strengthen all the different muscles around your wrist, in your forearm:
It is worth trying these exercises and seeing how things improve. If you still suffer from pain, you should probably see a physical therapist. They will be able to give you more specific exercises that target any special problems you have.
Wear gloves/wrist supports
Finally, you can further prevent wrist pain and forearm cramping by wearing things that offer more support. Gloves are available in different varieties depending on the sporting activity you’re partaking in. Normally, they’re only useful for people lifting weights or bowling. Weightlifting gloves are made out of materials that are extremely grippy. This is because they’re designed to help you grip onto things without the weights slipping between your hands. As a result, less strain and effort is placed on your wrist/forearm muscles, preventing soreness. Now, what are bowling gloves made of? Well, they’re usually made from materials that also provide a lot of grips, but the big difference is that they also include more support around the wrist. This can prevent repetitive strain injuries from bowling over and over again, reducing the chances of you developing wrist pain.
You can get golfing gloves, but they’re not really going to help you with this pain. As for tennis gloves, they don’t really exist. Instead, you will need to buy wrist supports. These come in different forms, but the idea is that they wrap around your forearm and wrist, and you can wear them while exercising or playing sports. They fight tightly around your arms so there’s extra support around the muscles. As a result, less strain is placed on your forearms, so your wrists don’t suffer any additional tension.
Generally, it’s a good idea to wear gloves or wrist supports as you are lightening your workload and getting back into the swing of things. They should also be worn while you continue to work on improving your wrist/forearm strength. The end goal is that you can do whatever you enjoy doing without the need for gloves or wrist supports. But, they can help you reach the end of your journey quicker by protecting your body.
There you have it: how to prevent wrist pain and forearm cramping during exercise. We’ve mentioned a few common activities and sports that generate this pain, but it can happen during any form of exercise. Follow the tips above to deal with your pain and prevent it in the future.