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Is Wrist Pain Affecting Your CrossFit Workouts?

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Wrist pain is something that causes many athletes to have to modify their workouts and if it gets bad enough stop working out all together.  It’s hard to know what to do about wrist pain.  Read below for a background on why it is happening as well as learn some tips on what to do to reduce pain as well as how to fix it. Wrist Mobility Preventing You From Achieving Success In The Gym?
This is something that has been coming up recently in the clinic. When most people think of CrossFitters and their pain they mainly think back or shoulders. The wrist plays a huge role in completing CrossFit and can not only limit range of motion with certain movements, but could lead to other injuries if it’s not addressed. Next time you’re at the gym check yourself in the front rack position, doing push-ups, or swinging a kettlebell overhead; does this cause pain or discomfort? If so, then keep reading on tips to improve your wrist mobility and strength to improve your skills.

The Wrist Joint
The wrist lies between the hand and the forearm. The wrist is considered a ball and socket joint that allows motions of flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction. This joint has to have good mobility to function in daily activities and also the stability to handle heavier activities. There are four ligaments involved with providing stability of the wrist and allows the hand and forearm to move together when rolling your arm over. If there is not enough mobility or stability in this joint the body will compensate with the elbow or shoulder, causing injury up the chain. 

Why Is The Wrist Important?
The wrist is such a mobile joint that a lot can go wrong, especially during CrossFit. You are constantly putting pressure through this joint with overhead movement such as handstands or muscle-ups, etc. They need to be strong and sturdy during these intense movements. If they are not, you not only will be sacrificing form and power, but you are adding insult to injury. 

How Do I Know If I Have Mobility And Stability?

  • Grab a partner: have them with their thumb up in mid range squeeze your hand as hard as they can so you can get a feel for their strength
    • Now bend the wrist back to the end range of motion and retest their strength as you try to uncurl their fingers
    • Next bend the wrist in the opposite direction and try the test again. 
      • If you can easily open their hands, they have decreased strength with squeezing, or they get pain they fail the test
  • For the next test have them put their wrist out with their fingers spread. Try to push down on their fingers towards their palm.   This is your baseline strength
  • Have them spread out their fingers again and using their fingers not wrist try to push them down with the wrist bent all the way back.
  • Next repeat this test with their wrist all the way bent. 
    • ​If you can more easily push the fingers down than in the original position or they get pain they fail the test

You need to pass these tests to have strength and stability throughout the entire range of motion.  CrossFit is a sport where you need strength throughout the entire range of motion (mobility).  Without this it can either lead to the joints jamming up or overuse of the muscles in the wrist, forearm, and elbow. 

At KinetikChain we hear a lot of people talk about wrist pain like they just have to live with it, not knowing that there are plenty of things that can be done to help. 

 Question: What are some quick easy ways that I can do to decrease my wrist pain and get me back to kipping,     handstands, pushups, or burpees? 

Answer 1. Pad the surface – if you’re already on a yoga mat, try doubling them up for more cushion, for handstands if the heel of your hand is on the mat it will decrease the angle and the pressure on the wrist. 
 Answer 2. Make a fist – if your problem is during pushups, you can do pushups on your fist, giving your wrists more support. 
 Answer 3. For a long term solution Click the green box below to take advantage of a Free 20 minute discovery visit at KinetikChain so we can help you get to the root of your wrist pain and get you back in control of all aspects of your day, your life, and your workout.

If you want to get active again, move better, or even just be able to get through the day without pain then please consider scheduling a free 20 min phone call to see if we can help. Click the button below to schedule your free call and start getting relief today.

KinetikChain Physical Therapy

We Help People In Denver Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active In Their Favorite Sport/Hobby, Continue Exercising, And Get Back To What They Love To Do.


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