According to U.S. News,
86% of American workers sit at a desk all day. Another study reports that in 1960, half of all
American jobs required moderate physical activity—now, that percentage
has dropped to merely 20% of all jobs. As a nation, we are moving towards
an information economy, and our workforce is quickly becoming comprised
of primarily desk and keyboard workers.
When the bulk of our work is done with our wrists, hands, and fingers,
we need to make sure we are taking care of our joints. One of the most
common joint problems that plagues American workers is carpal tunnel,
which makes it difficult for the wrists to bend and the hands to function.
Another issue is osteoarthritis, which makes our joints painful and unable to bend.
To prevent these conditions and other joint problems in your hands and
wrist, follow these simple stretches. They are simple, easy, and best
of all can be done any time while at your desk.
Press your hands flat together, and spread your fingers as far apart as
possible. While keeping your fingertips together, separate your palms
as far apart as possible. This stretches the muscles and joints that create
the carpal tunnel in your wrist, which relieves pain while preventing
Side-to-Side Wrist Stretches
Lay your palms out, facing down. Keep your forearms straight while gently
bending your wrist from side to side. Hold the stretch at its limit for
a few seconds, then switch to the other side.
Desk Press Lift
While you are seated, place your palms on the underside of your desk. Press
against the desk with your palms. This exercise warms up the muscles that
control your wrists that run to your lateral condyle. This can also help
prevent golfer’s elbow, which damages the tendon on the inner elbow
Extended Wrist / Hand Stretch
Extend your arm straight ahead, extending your hand out facing the floor.
Use your other hand to gently stretch the wrist down, pressing your hand
so that your hand is pointing down and towards you—depending on
how flexible you are.
Finger “Claw” Stretch
To improve the range of motion of your fingers, do this simple stretch.
With your palms facing you, curl your fingers so that your fingertips
are at the base of your finger joints. In this position, your hand will
look like a claw. Hold for a minute and repeat.
Each of these stretches can relieve short-term pain, but the best benefits
come from consistent practice. Do these stretches once a day, and after
a few weeks, your hand and wrist flexibility will vastly improve.
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.